Will Power believes the cars of the NTT IndyCar Series have become more physically demanding than those of Formula 1.
The 38-year-old Aussie, who posted the second-fastest overall time of 1m43.4089s (139.740 mph) after two practice sessions on Friday at Road America, pointed to the examples provided at Circuit of The Americas (pictured above) — the only venue currently shared by both series — to make his case.
“Well, you look at the Formula 1 cars and compare it to an onboard lap of us at COTA versus (Lewis) Hamilton’s pole lap, he looks like he can be one-handing it around that triple-apex Turn 17,” said Power, the 2014 IndyCar champion and 2018 Indianapolis 500 winner.
“He’s got one hand on the wheel, where we are just sawing at the wheel trying to hang on. It’s too easy (in F1), man. They have too-big tires, too much downforce — that made it too easy, I reckon.
Onboard comparisons below (note: clicking on “watch on YouTube link” is required to watch F1 video)
“To be the pinnacle of motorsport, they need to make a more challenging car to drive from what I can see. We’ve been there (with the manufacturer aero kits from 2015-17). We had body kits with a lot of downforce. It’s just too stuck, too easy. Everything was easy.”
Although Power doesn’t have first-hand experience driving a current-era F1 car, he did test one for Minardi at Misano in 2003.
The subject became a talking point after F1’s level of physical challenge was called into question by Haas F1 driver Romain Grosjean. Responding via social media, IndyCar rookie and former F1 driver Marcus Ericsson took to social media said, “Sounds a lot of what Romain Grosjean is asking for is exactly what IndyCar is at the moment. Pushing all the time, refueling every pit stop. And yes, I promise, you’re tired both physically and mentally after the races.”
The long straights of the 4.014-mile, 14-turn road course in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin should provide some brief moments of rest for Power this weekend. However, the ultra-competitiveness of IndyCar combined with the challenges of getting the most out of the current universal aero kit require the driver handle the maximum at all times.
“I think you need to be fit enough to go all the time,” said Power. “(Road America)’s got long enough straights. This is not that much of a physical track. Although you work the wheel, it’s kind of low grip, so the G-force isn’t there, the wheel weight is down a bit. You got so much time to recover compared to somewhere like Mid-Ohio or Barber.”