As you likely know, the 100th running of the Indy 500 is just about to happen, and that’s a big deal. Even if we all solemnly agree that this centennial is indeed a Big Deal, there’s still many upstanding gearheads who may be confused about the differences between the two best-known open-wheel racing series. Let’s see if we can help.

At a glance, Formula 1 and IndyCars seem to look a lot alike; they’re both open-wheeled, covered in wings and flaps and funny aero bits, and have generally the same proportions and overall look. They’ve both got mid-mounted turbo V6 engines, too.


So what are the differences, exactly?

This chart should cover the most basic differences in these two open-wheelers, and I think once you take a bit to look this over, what once may have seemed like unimportant details will suddenly seem like obvious, glaring differences. Sort of like how once you start studying Egyptian art, there’s no way you’d mistake an 18th-dynasty Armana-era bas-relief for some early pre-dyanastic carving, no matter what everyone says about it all looking alike. You’ll know better.

Anyway, I hope this helps! Feel free to print it out and take it to your trusted tattoo provider so you’ll never be without this handy reference.


Senior Editor, Jalopnik • Running: 1973 VW Beetle, 2006 Scion xB, 1990 Nissan Pao, 1991 Yugo GV Plus • Not-so-running: 1973 Reliant Scimitar, 1977 Dodge Tioga RV (also, buy my book!)

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