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Indy - Why not run the full oval?


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#51 Spunout

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Posted 30 July 2006 - 10:42

What you are describing is scenario where all the 20 drivers would go there without any respect for the challenges of oval racing. Honestly, I cannot see that happening. The racing etiquette is different at Indy (500), anyway. For example, I´m sure "no blocking" rule would be applied.

The biggest dangers would be lack of both active and passive safety. Think McNish/Suzuka 2002 - that one really showed how nervous F1 cars are when pushed on the limit at high speed. He was lucky to walk out alive. At Indy, most likely that impact would have been fatal.

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#52 Dudley

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Posted 30 July 2006 - 11:24

Originally posted by Ali_G
Dudley.

A NASCAR driver drives 30 times on an anticlockwise circuit 30 times a year.
An F1 driver drives 3 times on an anticlockwise circuit 3 times a year.

Big difference.

F1 drivers necks just aren't used to driving anticlockwise, nor mind doing it for 200 laps on an oval where you expierience extra g's.

Its not a fitness element.

Just hear about all the F1 drivers going on about their necks after the Brazilian GPs ever year.


Then run the oval clockwise?

#53 Melbourne Park

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Posted 30 July 2006 - 23:11

Originally posted by Spunout
Well, not really. They are still accelerating there, not to mention they are using high-downforce setup to get around the infield quickly.

OK, I can see that they would be running much faster than they do now.

... but I really don´t think F1 cars would be safe enough for ovals.

I would be interested in knowing why the Indy style cars are safer than F1 cars, which do handle some horrific accidents with surprisingly little trauma, and have a thorough safety testing procedure.

My biggest doubt would be the G forces themselves. I've read F1 cars go above safe driver G force levels, but that the time the driver's are exposed is too brief to cause the need for a pressure suit. But going round and round constantly might change that if the cars continued with a high grip setup.

#54 Foxbat

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Posted 30 July 2006 - 23:32

Originally posted by Statesidefan


Precisely. :up: Not to start a flame war here but I don't think many of these guys whould do very well at actually RACING. That is what is happening on an oval almost constantly. All of these guys are quick, but how many are actually racers? I don't think many would have the stomach or the skill set for it.


Yeah, I bet very few of these guys actually did anything other than F1. Just look at most of the F1 drivers that go stateside, like Bernoldi for example. Most of them are no better than top-midfield in actual racing.

#55 Foxbat

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Posted 30 July 2006 - 23:34

Originally posted by lordy
I noticed a small article in F1 Racing, that Sam Michael had been asked about running the full oval instead of the infield circuit. SM indicated it would be technically no problem, and quite a challenge to set the cars up correctly.

Wouldn't that be a fantastic spectacle for F1, particularly if the US gets a 2nd, West Coast GP. It would require a how different skill set of the drivers to race on the oval.

Indy is so steeped in history, and the location has such character, why not make the most of it, instead of the insipid circuit they curently use? An oval GP at Indy would become as unique an event as Monaco. Fantastic!


Tried it before, didn't work (although that was before Bernie and the gazillion dollar penalty for not starting the race).

#56 Franklin Ratliff

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Posted 31 July 2006 - 13:19

Originally posted by Spunout


Well, not really. They are still accelerating there, not to mention they are using high-downforce setup to get around the infield quickly. In full oval race the wings would be dropped (or more likely replaced), and they would go for that turn after the straight. It may be Ralf´s injury resulted from running to the "wrong" direction (no SAFER barriers), and perhaps from rather unusual impact angle, but I really don´t think F1 cars would be safe enough for ovals.


F1 cars do have a couple of hundred more horsepower than IRL cars.

Strength of the driver tubs might be comparable.

SAFER barriers might have to be extended.

#57 Henri Greuter

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Posted 31 July 2006 - 13:49

Better not.
IMS has enough problems right now to keep one race at the oval for singleseaters interesting enough and into the limelight as once in the past.....
And given the lack of interest for Indy/Oval racing among the majority of F1 fans worldwide...

Besides that, I don't think that the F1 cars as they are could stand the punishment of the Oval, would take quite a lot of rework on the basic design.

No, the track as it is right now ain't so bad other than the part when entering Hulman boulevard up intl the point wher they speed up onto the shortchute.

Henri

#58 John B

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Posted 31 July 2006 - 17:22

Don't see a need for it as the speedway already hosts the Indycars on the oval to begin with, though the speed comparison might be interesting. In all I'm not a big fan of any current open wheel cars on long ovals, in part due to the spectator hazard which has come up several times since the late 1980s. I like the mile idea better. There have been some good races on those configurations, and managing traffic and momentum is as important as holding the accelerator down for an entire lap. and it can't be worse than some of the joke tracks the U.S. has offered F1 in the past.......

#59 Spunout

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Posted 31 July 2006 - 17:44

I would be interested in knowing why the Indy style cars are safer than F1 cars, which do handle some horrific accidents with surprisingly little trauma, and have a thorough safety testing procedure.



The more engineering-minded folks out there propably know the answer, but my guess would be that has something to do with Indy style being bigger and heavier. Thanks to more "room" or "metal" around the driver, the cars cave in and absorb more energy. Eg when Ralf crashed, the car wasn´t damaged that badly, but since neither the car or the wall cave in, the violent shock effect of the impact caused head trauma.

Something like that...?

My biggest doubt would be the G forces themselves. I've read F1 cars go above safe driver G force levels, but that the time the driver's are exposed is too brief to cause the need for a pressure suit. But going round and round constantly might change that if the cars continued with a high grip setup.



Yeah. I remember one of the CART races (Texas?) was cancelled because the drivers complained dizzyness.

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#60 MikeTekRacing

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Posted 31 July 2006 - 19:23

the heavier the car, the worse the accident
inertia is your worst enemy, you don't want to increase it

#61 Franklin Ratliff

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Posted 31 July 2006 - 19:37

Originally posted by John B
Don't see a need for it as the speedway already hosts the Indycars on the oval to begin with, though the speed comparison might be interesting. In all I'm not a big fan of any current open wheel cars on long ovals, in part due to the spectator hazard which has come up several times since the late 1980s. I like the mile idea better. There have been some good races on those configurations, and managing traffic and momentum is as important as holding the accelerator down for an entire lap. and it can't be worse than some of the joke tracks the U.S. has offered F1 in the past.......


In NASCAR they use wheel tethers that actually work, instead of high tech shoestrings.

#62 m9a3r5i7o2n

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Posted 31 July 2006 - 19:40

Freek987 30-Jul-06
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And besides, it’s boring to watch

Do you mean that the way that the races of F-1 aren’t boring?
M.L. Anderson :)

#63 Franklin Ratliff

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Posted 31 July 2006 - 19:40

Originally posted by MikeTekRacing
the heavier the car, the worse the accident
inertia is your worst enemy, you don't want to increase it


Without ballast an F1 car would probably weigh somewhere around 900 pounds empty. Perhaps less. No ballast might not be a bad idea for a high speed oval.

#64 Rembrandt0

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Posted 31 July 2006 - 21:50

When Nigel Mansell went from F1 to IRL he had no problems adjusting and won in his first year. When Michael Andretti went from IRL to F1 he got nowhere. So which drivers are the better? :rotfl:

Talking about Andretti, (grand)dad Mario of course did very well in F1. He sure is a living legend. How great will it be if he puts on his helmet again and join his son and grandson at Indy 500 next year!

We Euro's don't really like ovals. It's a bit boring to see the cars going round and round and round and round and round. Not so much of a challenge to the drivers as a circuit with many and different type of turns, each one to be taken differently. But F1 cars driving in a procession round these circuits is really boring! I hate to say it but this year's Indy 500 was more exciting then any F1 race so far this year. Maybe F1 should learn a bit from A1 Grand Prix racing which I find more exciting as well. Get rid of all those silly wings and driver aids on F1 cars and F1 will become exciting again.

Something else that will make F1 more exciting is if Danica Patrick were to drive there! There's been a few female drivers in F1 over the years but none near as good looking nor as good a driver as Danica!

#65 Clatter

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Posted 31 July 2006 - 22:00

Originally posted by Rembrandt0
When Nigel Mansell went from F1 to IRL he had no problems adjusting and won in his first year. When Michael Andretti went from IRL to F1 he got nowhere. So which drivers are the better? :rotfl:


IRL didnt exist when Andretti came to F1 and Mansell didnt drive in IRL either.

#66 BorderReiver

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Posted 31 July 2006 - 22:08

Originally posted by Rembrandt0
We Euro's don't really like ovals.


Thanks for telling me my own mind.

For every Nigel Mansell there is a Nelson Piquet, who went Indy Racing and acheived precisely nothing except breaking his legs and then being very slow. And for every Michael Andretti there is a Mario, or a Jacques.

Anyone who beleives oval racing isn't challenging, is frankly talking out of his arseflap, or knows very little about motorsport.

Perhaps the F1 fraternity should hold a super-speedway round, if only to help alleviate some of the ignorance displayed here.

#67 Rembrandt0

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Posted 31 July 2006 - 22:43

Originally posted by BorderReiver


Thanks for telling me my own mind.

For every Nigel Mansell there is a Nelson Piquet, who went Indy Racing and acheived precisely nothing except breaking his legs and then being very slow. And for every Michael Andretti there is a Mario, or a Jacques.

Anyone who beleives oval racing isn't challenging, is frankly talking out of his arseflap, or knows very little about motorsport.

Perhaps the F1 fraternity should hold a super-speedway round, if only to help alleviate some of the ignorance displayed here.

I notice you follow what you have put in your signature (and I'm sure you are not powerful) :lol:

I've raced on both ovals and race circuits and the latter is far more challenging. The bigger challenge of ovals is to control the car at higher speeds then on circuits but having to find the right place to brake for a corner, gear down and then accelerate at the right moment is far more challenging and exciting. Even more challenging when you are trying to overtake someone in a corner.

I like circuits with long straights but nowadays they all have chicanes in them like Monza and Silverstone so that the cars don't go too fast there anymore. I also miss the long straight at Hockenheim, I much preferred the old circuit.

#68 F1Johnny

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Posted 31 July 2006 - 22:51

Originally posted by BorderReiver


Thanks for telling me my own mind.

For every Nigel Mansell there is a Nelson Piquet, who went Indy Racing and acheived precisely nothing except breaking his legs and then being very slow. And for every Michael Andretti there is a Mario, or a Jacques.

Anyone who beleives oval racing isn't challenging, is frankly talking out of his arseflap, or knows very little about motorsport.

Perhaps the F1 fraternity should hold a super-speedway round, if only to help alleviate some of the ignorance displayed here.


Border, I definitely think it is challenging to race on an oval. You are constantly racing and you have to be super alert. I like watching the ovals, find it difficult to watch NASCAR for very long but still follow it.

But, which series IYO is more difficult to compete in, F1 or IRL? Also which drivers are better all round drivers - F1 or IRL?

#69 BorderReiver

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Posted 31 July 2006 - 22:52

Originally posted by Rembrandt0


I've raced on both ovals and race circuits


Well, that makes two of us, and I disagree strongly. Since you make no reference at all in the above thesis to the unique factors which make racing on an oval difficult, I have to conclude you haven't actually done that much of it.

The bigger challenge of ovals is to control the car at higher speeds then on circuits


No, the biggest challenge on ovals is out racing the 25 other bloke on the circuit with you at the same time, and no amount of "control at high speed" is going to help you with that.

#70 dpardyrx7

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Posted 31 July 2006 - 22:52

A couple of years back CBS's 60 Minutes did a driver profile on Michael Schumacher and indicated that without the cornering to slow a modern F1 car down it could reach a top speed of 500kph (300mph). If that is the case at that speed the drivers would probably black out and get themselves killed. To run an F1 car on an oval you would need to have restrictor plates or engine governors. Never gonna happen.

#71 jb_128

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Posted 31 July 2006 - 22:53

I don't think that individual F1 drivers would lack the skill to do oval racing but the problem would be that the whole field would have zero oval racing expirience as opposed to having a mixrd field of expirienced drivers and a few noobs. I would fully expect them do their F1-typical weaving and chopping until someone gets seriously hurt.

#72 Rembrandt0

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Posted 31 July 2006 - 22:56

Originally posted by Clatter


IRL didnt exist when Andretti came to F1 and Mansell didnt drive in IRL either.


The name IRL didn't exist but the racing format did, whether you want to call it IRl, IndyCar or CART. Nigel Mansell raced Indy cars in 1993 and was the 1st rookie to win the IndyCar title.

#73 Rembrandt0

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Posted 31 July 2006 - 23:01

Originally posted by BorderReiver


Well, that makes two of us, and I disagree strongly. Since you make no reference at all in the above thesis to the unique factors which make racing on an oval difficult, I have to conclude you haven't actually done that much of it.



No, the biggest challenge on ovals is out racing the 25 other bloke on the circuit with you at the same time, and no amount of "control at high speed" is going to help you with that.

You should read my post again but then everything and then you should notice that your reply is incorrect and irrelevant.

#74 Spunout

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Posted 31 July 2006 - 23:01

For every Nigel Mansell there is a Nelson Piquet, who went Indy Racing and acheived precisely nothing except breaking his legs and then being very slow. And for every Michael Andretti there is a Mario, or a Jacques.



Unlike Andretti´s and Villeneuve, Piquet was hardly at his prime when he moved to Indy cars. The first two - and Rahal, Zanardi, Montoya, da Matta, etc - were champions at the height of their careers. Of course Zanardi and Montoya are more difficult cases, since both had F1 experience before moving to CART series. The other way around...we have Mansell and (E) Fittipaldi. With few exceptions, most of the rest have been retirees or dropouts.

I know it would be politically correct to say both series/tracks are equally challenging and have equally good drivers, but that isn´t the truth. The first part I agree with, as challenge comes from competition.
The latter part, I don´t agree with. While in the early 90s Indy cars had exceptional grid, the fact is on average the transition from (F1) road courses has been more succesful than the opposite scenario.

And this is without considering the fact that Mansell, Montoya etc moved to ovals without any prior experience on ovals, whereas Andretti´s, Villeneuve, Rahal, etc had lots of experience on road courses. I would think this is rather significant difference. You could compare it to somebody moving from ovals to F1 without even single race on road course under his belt. Now, if that driver won the Australian GP - even with the best car - would that be impressive?

#75 Rembrandt0

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Posted 31 July 2006 - 23:13

Originally posted by dpardyrx7
A couple of years back CBS's 60 Minutes did a driver profile on Michael Schumacher and indicated that without the cornering to slow a modern F1 car down it could reach a top speed of 500kph (300mph). If that is the case at that speed the drivers would probably black out and get themselves killed. To run an F1 car on an oval you would need to have restrictor plates or engine governors. Never gonna happen.

Honda test driver Alan van der Merwe set a new class record for the flying kilometre, with an average speed of 397.481kph (246.983mph) at the Bonneville International Speedway in Utah between 18 and 21 July of this year. So it's still a long way to go to 500kph for a F1 car.

#76 Spunout

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Posted 31 July 2006 - 23:15

A couple of years back CBS's 60 Minutes did a driver profile on Michael Schumacher and indicated that without the cornering to slow a modern F1 car down it could reach a top speed of 500kph (300mph). If that is the case at that speed the drivers would probably black out and get themselves killed. To run an F1 car on an oval you would need to have restrictor plates or engine governors. Never gonna happen.



The key phrase being "without cornering". There are corners on ovals, you know ;)

#77 BorderReiver

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Posted 31 July 2006 - 23:19

Originally posted by F1Johnny


Border, I definitely think it is challenging to race on an oval. You are constantly racing and you have to be super alert. I like watching the ovals, find it difficult to watch NASCAR for very long but still follow it.

But, which series IYO is more difficult to compete in, F1 or IRL? Also which drivers are better all round drivers - F1 or IRL?


It depends what you're asking them to do. I don't think and IRL driver could leap into a Ferrari at Monaco tomorrow and take pole, but I don't think and F1 driver could climb into an IRL car at Motegi and win that hands down either.

Lapping quickly on an oval isn't difficult in itself, provided you have a good set-up (which manifestly isn't easy to come by in oval racing due to the rarified atmosphere of competiton and the fact that tiny changes in conditions, can result in massive variations in required technique and set up). However to do it consistantly, on a constantly evolving circuit, with a grid of other drivers, usually in identical machinery, attempting to do the same thing, and in an environment where a tiny mistake will lose you a LOT of position and time, and a regular mistake will finish your race?

Well, then it's not so easy. The challenges that environment present are rarely evident in F1, if ever. The two disciplines require vastly differing approaches and skill sets in order to be successful.

F1 drivers have been successful in oval racing, and vica-versa, however if anyone thinks that is because F1 drivers also have to turn right . . . well they are barking up the wrong tree.

I'll give you an example.

Say you make a mistake on a racing circuit, you lock a brake in a hairpin and lose a couple of tenths. That's no big deal, indeed, there is every chance you can make the time up in the next corner, or on the next lap.

Now, say you make a similarly minor mistake on an oval, you brush the apron and the car is unsettled for a moment, you have to back out of the throttle a fraction. There you will lose not only time, which on an oval is measured in much finer increments in terms of success, but also very probably position (which any oval racer will tell you is as much tactical as it is absolute). Can you make that up in the next corner? Not a chance. In the next lap? Not likely. No, you'll have to grind out that mistake for the next 15 laps, putting right what went wrong because the increments of success or failure are so tight. It's an environment where 1st to 10th can be covered by less and a second.

I remember a race at Coventry where I was running second, and clear of 3rd place by very nearly a second, which even on a 1/4 mile oval is a light year. I lost concentration for a split second on the very last corner, ran out of my groove fractionally, ended up drifting a little too high on the circuit and brushed the wall, not hard, but just enough. I finished 10th, in less time than it took you to read that statement.

Then there is the issue of set-up itself. Say you've got a poor set-up on a circuit, you can to some extent drive around the problem, make up the time by taking it out of other areas (often at the expense of tyres and engine management), it's not easy but it's possible. On an oval? Forget it. If you're not dialled in you might as well just go home because if you're losing a 100th a lap over even a 50 lap race, you're not going to win it, barring a miracle.

Then you have to couple all that with the actually reality of racing on an oval, be it tarmac or shale. The face that you are going to be involved heavily with a lot of traffic, both on your lap, ahead and behind you. All of them trying to outrace you, outbreak you, outdraught you, and out think you in the pack. Not in brief snatches of action, but constantly.

You have to play that high speed chess game for the entire duration of the race, no respite at all. And you have to do it on a circuit which is constantly evolving, far, far, far more than a road circuit ever does. As fuel and tyre wear goes down on a road circuit, breaking points change. As fuel and tyre wear goes down on an oval, the entire line changes, from one corner into the next. The groove evolves, and if you're not in a groove that works, you're only going to go backwards. I've been in races where the exit of turns on the first lap has been almost on the apron, and 15 laps later it is out by the barrier, and if you can't keep up with that (always remembering those 20+ guys trying to out-race you) then you're stuffed.

Then you have to consider that handling will vary much more on an oval too, all oval racers are set up to be highly "niched", they wil turn left naturally, but how much? As fuel and wear take their toll you can find that the car starts to push or tail, and when that is coupled with the evolving groove, the whole process can seem almost random. Even consecutive laps in the same groove can be totally different due to the way your car is affected. And then, remember those 20+ guys around you all doing and experiencing the same thing, often barely inches from you.

Is it any wonder that there are so many shunts? Even at the highest level?

And all through that, there are dozens, if not hundreds, of other factors to consider, when to make your move? How to make it? Which groove is the fastest right now? Which will be quicker in 5 laps time? When do you switch? How are your tyres holding out compared to the guy infront of you and behind? Spinner in turn 3, do you go low or high? Will this mean a yellow? Should you pit? Does tha depend on how the guy in front's tyres are doing? How are they doing? Someone underneath you in turn 4, let him go and use his tow? Is he stopping? God he is. Now you've lost your position in the other group, no draught to keep with, falling back all the time. And so it goes on, and on and on. And all the time one mistake can end your entire weekend, because there is always that wall.

Challenges like that are simply never, ever encountered by road racing formulas. So, to say that Formula One drivers are naturally better than IRL equivalents? Well it simply doesn't hold water because the two branches of the sport are so very different.

To say an oval driver lacks talent because he brakes less and doesn't turn right is stupid. I could just as well say a Formula One driver lacks ability because most of his job is hot lapping and there's very, very little wheel to wheel stuff.

Sadly the vast amount of scorn that is held on forums like these for oval racing formulae is born out of sheer ignorance. They simply don't know what they are watching when they see oval racing, and this ignorance breeds that contemptable "but they only turn left" rubbish that foists itself on most, if not all, of these debates.

Is Tony Stewart a good Formula One driver? Probably not. But Michael Schumacher would in all likelihood be just as lamentable if you strapped him into a NASCAR.

#78 BorderReiver

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Posted 31 July 2006 - 23:21

Originally posted by Rembrandt0

You should read my post again but then everything and then you should notice that your reply is incorrect and irrelevant.


I did, and for someone who has apparently raced on both it belies massive ignorance. Sorry, but there you go.

#79 Rembrandt0

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Posted 31 July 2006 - 23:22

Originally posted by Spunout


Unlike Andretti´s and Villeneuve, Piquet was hardly at his prime when he moved to Indy cars. The first two - and Rahal, Zanardi, Montoya, da Matta, etc - were champions at the height of their careers. Of course Zanardi and Montoya are more difficult cases, since both had F1 experience before moving to CART series. The other way around...we have Mansell and (E) Fittipaldi. With few exceptions, most of the rest have been retirees or dropouts.

I know it would be politically correct to say both series/tracks are equally challenging and have equally good drivers, but that isn´t the truth. The first part I agree with, as challenge comes from competition.
The latter part, I don´t agree with. While in the early 90s Indy cars had exceptional grid, the fact is on average the transition from (F1) road courses has been more succesful than the opposite scenario.

And this is without considering the fact that Mansell, Montoya etc moved to ovals without any prior experience on ovals, whereas Andretti´s, Villeneuve, Rahal, etc had lots of experience on road courses. I would think this is rather significant difference. You could compare it to somebody moving from ovals to F1 without even single race on road course under his belt. Now, if that driver won the Australian GP - even with the best car - would that be impressive?

Oliver Panis won in the streets of Monaco in 1996 in a Ligier. That was his first and last win. Different drivers do better (or worse) on different types of circuits whether it is an oval, fast circuit, slow circuit or road circuit. Racing on a street circuit like Monaco is very demanding, to both driver and car.

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#80 Melbourne Park

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Posted 01 August 2006 - 00:46

Originally posted by BorderReiver


It depends what you're asking them to do. I don't think and IRL driver could leap into a Ferrari at Monaco tomorrow and take pole, but I don't think and F1 driver could climb into an IRL car at Motegi and win that hands down either.

Lapping quickly on an oval isn't difficult in itself, provided you have a good set-up (which manifestly isn't easy to come by in oval racing due to the rarified atmosphere of competiton and the fact that tiny changes in conditions, can result in massive variations in required technique and set up). However to do it consistantly, on a constantly evolving circuit, with a grid of other drivers, usually in identical machinery, attempting to do the same thing, and in an environment where a tiny mistake will lose you a LOT of position and time, and a regular mistake will finish your race?

Well, then it's not so easy. The challenges that environment present are rarely evident in F1, if ever. The two disciplines require vastly differing approaches and skill sets in order to be successful.

F1 drivers have been successful in oval racing, and vica-versa, however if anyone thinks that is because F1 drivers also have to turn right . . . well they are barking up the wrong tree.

I'll give you an example.

Say you make a mistake on a racing circuit, you lock a brake in a hairpin and lose a couple of tenths. That's no big deal, indeed, there is every chance you can make the time up in the next corner, or on the next lap.

Now, say you make a similarly minor mistake on an oval, you brush the apron and the car is unsettled for a moment, you have to back out of the throttle a fraction. There you will lose not only time, which on an oval is measured in much finer increments in terms of success, but also very probably position (which any oval racer will tell you is as much tactical as it is absolute). Can you make that up in the next corner? Not a chance. In the next lap? Not likely. No, you'll have to grind out that mistake for the next 15 laps, putting right what went wrong because the increments of success or failure are so tight. It's an environment where 1st to 10th can be covered by less and a second.

I remember a race at Coventry where I was running second, and clear of 3rd place by very nearly a second, which even on a 1/4 mile oval is a light year. I lost concentration for a split second on the very last corner, ran out of my groove fractionally, ended up drifting a little too high on the circuit and brushed the wall, not hard, but just enough. I finished 10th, in less time than it took you to read that statement.

Then there is the issue of set-up itself. Say you've got a poor set-up on a circuit, you can to some extent drive around the problem, make up the time by taking it out of other areas (often at the expense of tyres and engine management), it's not easy but it's possible. On an oval? Forget it. If you're not dialled in you might as well just go home because if you're losing a 100th a lap over even a 50 lap race, you're not going to win it, barring a miracle.

Then you have to couple all that with the actually reality of racing on an oval, be it tarmac or shale. The face that you are going to be involved heavily with a lot of traffic, both on your lap, ahead and behind you. All of them trying to outrace you, outbreak you, outdraught you, and out think you in the pack. Not in brief snatches of action, but constantly.

You have to play that high speed chess game for the entire duration of the race, no respite at all. And you have to do it on a circuit which is constantly evolving, far, far, far more than a road circuit ever does. As fuel and tyre wear goes down on a road circuit, breaking points change. As fuel and tyre wear goes down on an oval, the entire line changes, from one corner into the next. The groove evolves, and if you're not in a groove that works, you're only going to go backwards. I've been in races where the exit of turns on the first lap has been almost on the apron, and 15 laps later it is out by the barrier, and if you can't keep up with that (always remembering those 20+ guys trying to out-race you) then you're stuffed.

Then you have to consider that handling will vary much more on an oval too, all oval racers are set up to be highly "niched", they wil turn left naturally, but how much? As fuel and wear take their toll you can find that the car starts to push or tail, and when that is coupled with the evolving groove, the whole process can seem almost random. Even consecutive laps in the same groove can be totally different due to the way your car is affected. And then, remember those 20+ guys around you all doing and experiencing the same thing, often barely inches from you.

Is it any wonder that there are so many shunts? Even at the highest level?

And all through that, there are dozens, if not hundreds, of other factors to consider, when to make your move? How to make it? Which groove is the fastest right now? Which will be quicker in 5 laps time? When do you switch? How are your tyres holding out compared to the guy infront of you and behind? Spinner in turn 3, do you go low or high? Will this mean a yellow? Should you pit? Does tha depend on how the guy in front's tyres are doing? How are they doing? Someone underneath you in turn 4, let him go and use his tow? Is he stopping? God he is. Now you've lost your position in the other group, no draught to keep with, falling back all the time. And so it goes on, and on and on. And all the time one mistake can end your entire weekend, because there is always that wall.

Challenges like that are simply never, ever encountered by road racing formulas. So, to say that Formula One drivers are naturally better than IRL equivalents? Well it simply doesn't hold water because the two branches of the sport are so very different.

To say an oval driver lacks talent because he brakes less and doesn't turn right is stupid. I could just as well say a Formula One driver lacks ability because most of his job is hot lapping and there's very, very little wheel to wheel stuff.

Sadly the vast amount of scorn that is held on forums like these for oval racing formulae is born out of sheer ignorance. They simply don't know what they are watching when they see oval racing, and this ignorance breeds that contemptable "but they only turn left" rubbish that foists itself on most, if not all, of these debates.

Is Tony Stewart a good Formula One driver? Probably not. But Michael Schumacher would in all likelihood be just as lamentable if you strapped him into a NASCAR.


I think the non self sponsored / funded F1 drivers would handle it, because they have great car control, but some lesser restrictions in their practice times would be a good idea. And if they made race mistakes, well they would not do so well.

I accept there would be much that they would be sub optimal about. We saw when Montoya came to F1 has was good at rolling starts after the pace car left (the Brazil GP), which is a point of experience that he had learn't from Oval racing.

I recall in the early 1980s they had a race with the rally drivers against the F1 drivers. The mid engined Lancias were cancelled out at the last minute, so they had to do the circuit race in Golf GTIs, and the rally drivers were almost as fast as the F1 drivers. Then they went to the off road circuit, each car being driven over a timed lap by a rally driver and then an F1 driver. It was embarrassing for the F1 drivers, who kept running off the circuit in the practice sessions. The rally drivers were just so much better. When the times runs happened, the F1 drivers creamed the rally drivers: when it came to driving flat out the F1 drivers were more talented.

It would be fun to see the F1 cars on an oval IMO, and the racing aspect might be universally poor compared to the experienced US racers, but they would all be in the same situation.

#81 Spunout

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Posted 01 August 2006 - 01:21

I recall in the early 1980s they had a race with the rally drivers against the F1 drivers. The mid engined Lancias were cancelled out at the last minute, so they had to do the circuit race in Golf GTIs, and the rally drivers were almost as fast as the F1 drivers. Then they went to the off road circuit, each car being driven over a timed lap by a rally driver and then an F1 driver. It was embarrassing for the F1 drivers, who kept running off the circuit in the practice sessions. The rally drivers were just so much better. When the times runs happened, the F1 drivers creamed the rally drivers: when it came to driving flat out the F1 drivers were more talented.



Yeah, lots of people don´t understand the real challenge of rallying is not the drifting, low grip, etc. When Mika Häkkinen tested Tommi Mäkinen´s car on rally stage comparable to F1 tracks in length, he was only 1 second slower despite of barely knowing the turns. When Mäkinen tested Villeneuve´s F1 car, he was 7 seconds off the pace and off the track. However, put F1 driver on proper rally stage and it´s completely different ballgame. Unlike in circuit racing, most of the time it´s not possible to learn the stage inside out - one has to "read" the road...spot the small stones...sand...snow...and of course rely on co-driver. That would take more time to master. Some can learn fast, though: Sarrazin looks promising, JJ Lehto has competed for the win in our winter rallies. Räikkönen in the rally car would be interesting, I think he has many of the qualities required (he even made notes for his friend in Monte Carlo, and soon after hinted he would be interested of becoming rally driver after F1). Still, I don´t think Sebastian Loeb has any reasons to worry about Kimi, Michael or Fernando moving to WRC...

#82 whitewaterMkII

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Posted 01 August 2006 - 05:17

Originally posted by Spunout


Yeah, lots of people don´t understand the real challenge of rallying is not the drifting, low grip, etc,


I cut my teeth in off road racing, the US version of rally (to a certain extent).
Did a fair stint of co driving in the old days in the Mint, Baja, and so forth, and part of that was what we called 'pre running'. I must note that co driving in that day and ages was essentially watching the gauges and rudimentally looking for survey tape we hung all over the stages to clue us in, but mainly being a tyre changer and damage control grunt.
:drunk:
Oh, and you had to be able to not shit your pants if you happened to look out the wind screen when the meat in seat was doing something incredibly scary, like throwing the wheel up a mountain to get over a washout on the side of a cliff at 80 miles an hour. :eek:

It is a whole different animal to 'see' or 'feel' the road conditions and drive accordingly. Some drivers I co drove with had the uncanny ability to get maximum traction everywhere they put the wheels, often in conditions or angles of attack that were utterly impossible, or so I thought.
Other drivers thought that horsepower conquered all, and though they always had it on the ragged edge, they were way slower. Odd, but there is that certain something that a grounding in reading road conditions that gains a driver serious time over just plain balls out driving.
Drifting may look great and is blatantly putting the power down, put it sure doesn't take time off the clock.

#83 Dudley

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Posted 01 August 2006 - 07:13

Originally posted by BorderReiver

Is Tony Stewart a good Formula One driver? Probably not. But Michael Schumacher would in all likelihood be just as lamentable if you strapped him into a NASCAR.


A very dangerous statement to make when next year that theory gets proven.

#84 roadie

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Posted 01 August 2006 - 09:58

It looks like people are after more variety in the type of venue F1 cars race at. Unfortunately, we have been robbed of that due to Bernies insatiable demand for $$$.

I believe that there is no way a F1 race could be held on an oval of any kind. The amount of investment needed just get the cars set up properly would not be worth it and there are all sorts of safety concerns. If we could get some improvement in the variety of tracks on the calendar then I think we would all be much happier.

#85 Spunout

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Posted 01 August 2006 - 10:28

I believe that there is no way a F1 race could be held on an oval of any kind. The amount of investment needed just get the cars set up properly would not be worth it and there are all sorts of safety concerns. If we could get some improvement in the variety of tracks on the calendar then I think we would all be much happier.



Yep. They would practically need to build new cars for oval, and even then safety would be questionable.

#86 BorderReiver

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Posted 01 August 2006 - 11:41

Originally posted by Dudley


A very dangerous statement to make when next year that theory gets proven.


I assume you're referring to Juan "Former CART Champion and Indy 500 Winner" Montoya?

Hardly a barometer for non-oval experience is he? He'll do fine in NASCAR is my predicion, after he's got used to the little quirks each series has.

However, dump Alonso, Schumacher or Raikkonen in a NASCAR race tomorrow and it would be, frankly, hilarious. This incredible "F1 is superior" attitude that some people have, is so mind numbingly dumb, they even extend it to areas of motorsport where the experience of competition is totally different. Simply because they drive F1.

That fact is that on an oval a driver will have to use skills that he would never, ever, ever have had called upon on a road circuit. So, what gives the F1 driver a "devine right of racing" when he has no practical experience of that arena?

Nothing, nothing at all.

It's no coincidence that the very, very, very few drivers who've succeeded and won titles and major events in both road and oval racing are amongst the all time greats of the sport. The two disciplines are simply non-comparable, except to idiots who think all you have to do to race on an oval is plant the throttle and turn left.

#87 Franklin Ratliff

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Posted 01 August 2006 - 12:25

Originally posted by dpardyrx7
A couple of years back CBS's 60 Minutes did a driver profile on Michael Schumacher and indicated that without the cornering to slow a modern F1 car down it could reach a top speed of 500kph (300mph). If that is the case at that speed the drivers would probably black out and get themselves killed. To run an F1 car on an oval you would need to have restrictor plates or engine governors. Never gonna happen.


As we have seen, even with the rear wing removed F1 cars don't go remotely close to 300 mph.

#88 F1Johnny

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Posted 01 August 2006 - 18:30

Originally posted by BorderReiver


I assume you're referring to Juan "Former CART Champion and Indy 500 Winner" Montoya?

Hardly a barometer for non-oval experience is he? He'll do fine in NASCAR is my predicion, after he's got used to the little quirks each series has.

However, dump Alonso, Schumacher or Raikkonen in a NASCAR race tomorrow and it would be, frankly, hilarious. This incredible "F1 is superior" attitude that some people have, is so mind numbingly dumb, they even extend it to areas of motorsport where the experience of competition is totally different. Simply because they drive F1.

That fact is that on an oval a driver will have to use skills that he would never, ever, ever have had called upon on a road circuit. So, what gives the F1 driver a "devine right of racing" when he has no practical experience of that arena?

Nothing, nothing at all.

It's no coincidence that the very, very, very few drivers who've succeeded and won titles and major events in both road and oval racing are amongst the all time greats of the sport. The two disciplines are simply non-comparable, except to idiots who think all you have to do to race on an oval is plant the throttle and turn left.


I read your long reply to my questions and appreciate your position and agree to an extent. But say you had a team to manage and you had to select 1 driver to race 3 courses - Daytona, Spa and 2 Special Rally Stages. Your choice would come from Michael Schumacher, Jeff Gordon, Gilles Villeneuve or Dale Earnhardt Sr. Who would you choose?

#89 Spunout

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Posted 01 August 2006 - 19:46

I read your long reply to my questions and appreciate your position and agree to an extent. But say you had a team to manage and you had to select 1 driver to race 3 courses - Daytona, Spa and 2 Special Rally Stages. Your choice would come from Michael Schumacher, Jeff Gordon, Gilles Villeneuve or Dale Earnhardt Sr. Who would you choose?



The question was directed to BorderReiver, so hope you don´t mind if I give my choices :D

You didn´t mention the cars. Spa/F1, Daytona/NASCAR, rally stages/WRC car? And if so, since you included Gilles Villeneuve and Michael Schumacher in the list, would the F1 car be from 2006 or 1982?

Considering 2 out of 4 are rally stages, whoever has most experience of rallying/dirt racing would be good choice. Daytona and Spa would go to NASCAR/F1 drivers anyway. Difficult choice, it seems.

The winners:

Daytona - Dale Sr or Jeffy (3rd and 4th places, no clue)
Spa - Schumi or Gilles, depending on car (Jeffy would beat Dale Sr)
Rally stages - Jeffy and Gilles have/had dirt track experience, so they would have the advantage. Schumi is amazingly talented but without sufficient practise time that isn´t enough. Cannot say much about Dale Sr here since I don´t really know enough about his background.

I cannot see the point of this comparison, BTW ;)

#90 Spunout

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Posted 01 August 2006 - 19:58

BTW...speaking of Montoya, I have my doubts. NASCAR is so different even compared to CART. The car control, lightning reflexes and everything that made him so succesful in CART might not help him there. He has to take it easy, be smooth, save the tyres, stay out of trouble till the last laps. And if the team is not good, it´s almost impossible to make up even small car disadvantage - especially if the setup isn´t perfect. On top of things he has to stay calm and speak nice things about NASCAR to the press even when somebody takes him out. I hope Juan has realized those last lap wheel-to-wheel battles we see in highlight clips are only one part of the game...

#91 F1Johnny

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Posted 01 August 2006 - 23:44

Originally posted by Spunout


The question was directed to BorderReiver, so hope you don´t mind if I give my choices :D

You didn´t mention the cars. Spa/F1, Daytona/NASCAR, rally stages/WRC car? And if so, since you included Gilles Villeneuve and Michael Schumacher in the list, would the F1 car be from 2006 or 1982?

Considering 2 out of 4 are rally stages, whoever has most experience of rallying/dirt racing would be good choice. Daytona and Spa would go to NASCAR/F1 drivers anyway. Difficult choice, it seems.

The winners:

Daytona - Dale Sr or Jeffy (3rd and 4th places, no clue)
Spa - Schumi or Gilles, depending on car (Jeffy would beat Dale Sr)
Rally stages - Jeffy and Gilles have/had dirt track experience, so they would have the advantage. Schumi is amazingly talented but without sufficient practise time that isn´t enough. Cannot say much about Dale Sr here since I don´t really know enough about his background.

I cannot see the point of this comparison, BTW ;)


Thanks for the reply despite not seeing the point.;) It was more to try and extract an answer from Border as to who he thought were better overall drivers.

#92 Corners

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Posted 02 August 2006 - 18:17

Tell you what I would love to see Michae Schumacher guest at the Indy 500 just once and obviously Le Mans.

#93 Ilaya

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Posted 02 August 2006 - 18:44

Originally posted by Corners
and obviously Le Mans.


He has been there and done that with IIRC the fastest lap to his name (which says next to nothing in a 24h race though).

#94 Melbourne Park

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Posted 03 August 2006 - 07:49

Originally posted by Spunout Yeah, lots of people don´t understand the real challenge of rallying is not the drifting, low grip, etc. When Mika Häkkinen tested Tommi Mäkinen´s car on rally stage comparable to F1 tracks in length, he was only 1 second slower despite of barely knowing the turns. When Mäkinen tested Villeneuve´s F1 car, he was 7 seconds off the pace and off the track. However, put F1 driver on proper rally stage and it´s completely different ballgame. Unlike in circuit racing, most of the time it´s not possible to learn the stage inside out - one has to "read" the road...spot the small stones...sand...snow...and of course rely on co-driver. That would take more time to master. Some can learn fast, though: Sarrazin looks promising, JJ Lehto has competed for the win in our winter rallies. Räikkönen in the rally car would be interesting, I think he has many of the qualities required (he even made notes for his friend in Monte Carlo, and soon after hinted he would be interested of becoming rally driver after F1). Still, I don´t think Sebastian Loeb has any reasons to worry about Kimi, Michael or Fernando moving to WRC...


Actually there was a case of an F1 driver who did a rally, he did OK too, which is contrary to your argument, sorry for the delay in replying, but i could not find it anywhere but aventually I did find something:

... perhaps most impressive of all was Jim Clark, who drove a works Lotus Cortina in the RAC Rally in 1966 - and won at least one special stage.

I remember talking to Jimmy's namesake, the legendary Roger Clark, about that event. Both men had identical cars, and Roger, at the height of his career as a great rally driver, was not a man either to play down his own abilities or to talk up anyone else's. Nevertheless, when he spoke about Jimmy, it was with reverence. "He was just a genius, wasn't he? He only did the rally for a bit of fun, because he fancied trying it, but his speed was unbelievable, and just shook us to the core. If he'd concentrated on rallying, none of the rest of us would have had a prayer..."

Nigel Roebuck

#95 Spunout

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Posted 03 August 2006 - 08:52

Actually there was a case of an F1 driver who did a rally, he did OK too, which is contrary to your argument, sorry for the delay in replying, but i could not find it anywhere but aventually I did find something:



Oops, I forgot Clark. Thanks for posting this.

However, as Roebuck wrote, he won one "special stage". Was it full stage, or short stage?

#96 Fausta

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Posted 03 August 2006 - 10:10

Originally posted by BorderReiver
You'd have a pack of drivers unused to constant racing in close quaters, in cars not designed to withstand the immense impacts that can occur on an oval.

It'd be a bloodbath.


A bloodbath every year would sure make the silly season more interesting :lol:

#97 Melbourne Park

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Posted 03 August 2006 - 10:25

Originally posted by Spunout


Oops, I forgot Clark. Thanks for posting this.

However, as Roebuck wrote, he won one "special stage". Was it full stage, or short stage?

He won several stages, I don't know what their mix was. The RAC was part of the world champ circuit, and the special stages were really wild ones, they were a new idea when introduced in 1960.

But the real praise came from Roger Clark, who won a World championship, and who was a great driver, able to beat the Finns. His remarks about how Jim Clark stunned all the drivers is what counts. And he was just there for the fun of it.

I had wondered whether to use Clark as an example, because he was not average.

And oh, when Jim Clark won his first F1 championship in 1963, he cleaned up with 7 wins from 10 races that season, he went over to the Indy 500 and embarressed himself a bit: he only came second. Evidently he was unlucky hitting something on the track. but they gave him Rookie of the year. Later on he skipped Monte Carlo, and went over and won the Indy 500. And that's the circuit we are talking about, isn't it?  ;)

I had mean't to post this last week, as it was at Hockenheim where Jim Clark crashed and died in a minor F2 race.



#98 BorderReiver

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Posted 03 August 2006 - 15:59

Originally posted by Melbourne Park
he went over to the Indy 500 and embarressed himself a bit


Ahhh the '63 500, there's a great deal of evidence to suggest that Clark "wuz robbed" (if you beleive in fun little conspiracy theories). Clark was lying second just behind Parnelli Jones (IIRC) who had developed an oil leak and was spraying it all over the track as he circulated. Clark even span on it, and managed to keep off the wall (which on an oval is considered as great a miracle as walking backwards on water while cleansing lepers blindfolded).

According to the rules any car which presents a danger to others should be black flagged, yet despite furious remonstrations from Colin Chapman in the pits Parnelli Jones wasn't. It was also argued that Jones was passing cars under Yellow Flags that he himself was causing, which is a bit off. At the end of 500 laps a great proportion of the crowd beleived Clark had won anyway and cheered him across the line.

Jones however was given the race. Perhaps the American racing psyche wasn't prepared to accept a driver coming over from Europe in his rookie year, with funny new sort of car, and beating everyone?

Who knows.

One thing is for certain though, Jim Clarks are very, very, very rare, equally competetive on ovals, circuits and in rallies.

And to answer F1Johnny's point, Oval drivers are far better oval drivers on average, and circuit drivers on the whole are far better circuit drivers. It's pretty much a two way split, due to the skills required in both disciplines being so different. It takes someone very, very good indeed to succeed at the highest level in both.

It you wan't to resort to a crude generalisation, which is only true in the broadest sense of the terms, Oval drivers race far better and Circuit drivers drive far better.

#99 F1Johnny

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Posted 03 August 2006 - 16:31

Originally posted by BorderReiver


And to answer F1Johnny's point, Oval drivers are far better oval drivers on average, and circuit drivers on the whole are far better circuit drivers. It's pretty much a two way split, due to the skills required in both disciplines being so different. It takes someone very, very good indeed to succeed at the highest level in both.

It you wan't to resort to a crude generalisation, which is only true in the broadest sense of the terms, Oval drivers race far better and Circuit drivers drive far better.


Fair enough. Mansell, Clark, Hill, Villeneuve (by the skin of his teeth) but where would you put Zanardi?

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#100 BorderReiver

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Posted 03 August 2006 - 17:26

Originally posted by F1Johnny


Fair enough. Mansell, Clark, Hill, Villeneuve (by the skin of his teeth) but where would you put Zanardi?


I think you could also add Stewart to the list, he was unlucky not to do well at Indy.

Zanardi is a tricky one, however I think, during his CART years, he always performed far better on circuits rather than ovals, indeed a greater proportion of his wins in the series come from road and street tracks.

Why didn't he do so well in Formula One? Thats a tricky one since he's obviously a very talented driver. His first outings in the Lotus I don't think are indicative of anything, since the team was in a parlous state by then and anyone would've struggled, especially if they were an F1 rookie as he was.

The Williams episode is less clear cut, I think Zanardi suffered from making the jump back to a team just past their best and struggling with a dog of a car (which was chronically underpowered), with a team mate who had the benefit of a lot of recent F1 running. Not an easy situation. I just don't think Zanardi got the measure of new skinny tyres and a poor car, coupled with a fast team-mate on the up.

He'd beaten better drivers than Ralf Schumacher out in CART though, on circuits, in equal machinery. So who knows?

He was always far better on tracks than ovals though IMO.