In our post this week we’re going to be looking at 5 essential differences between Formula One and NASCAR. You may be a fan of either one, but not sure of the differences, perhaps you’re a fan of Formula One but want to get more into NASCAR or vice versa. Here, we’ll take a fascinating look at both types of racing, and you can make your own mind up over whether you’d like to take a firm interest in both.
NASCAR is by far America’s most popular motor-racing sport, the cars are made from all sorts of different scrap materials and iron. They’re built from the chassis up purely to race. They’re usually four door beasts and look like any conventional American car, unlike F1s. Cars include makes such as Chevrolet Impala, the Dodge Charger and Ford Fusion.
They also come with fenders and allow side-to-side contact without wheels coming into contact, which could cause a hellish crash. You may not have seen much of it where you are, but it’s actually beamed to at least 150 different countries. It attracts over $3 billion in sponsorships and there’s over 70 million American fans, so it’s definitely popular.
A driver will always be fighting his way through a mob of cars and there’s always the possibility that you can win, even if you’re right at the back. It may not have the grace and seamless speed of an F1 race, but it sure does get the blood pumping. There’s a bit of bump and grind there, but it’s just as exciting nevertheless.
Safety and NASCAR
New rules were implemented last year with NASCAR as it is so dangerous. Helmets were made compulsory for officials and for those driving the pace car. This also applies to NASCAR spotters, officials near the pit areas and those who are stationed at different points on the track.
There have been improvements to the seatbelts and driver seats in a bid to constantly improve safety, and with good reason.
NASCAR is a massive turn on for fans, who tune in to see which car crashes. However, they’re not always minor, with some of them ending in fatalities.
Almost every decade has been marked by a fatal crash at NASCAR, one of the worst being the one at the Daytona 500 resulting in the death of one of its most famous drivers, Dale Earnhardt back in 2001. The new safety measures put in place will hopefully help prevent such violent crashes in the future.
Formula One seems an elegant alternative in comparison to the mob rule of NASCAR. Currently there is only one F1 race in the US and that is in Austin, Texas, so it’s not surprising that it’s not as widely popular in the US as NASCAR.
Originally known as Formula A, discussions for the creation of a racing championship began in the 1930s, but didn’t really start properly until 1950 at Silverstone. Its origins then are firmly European, with the cars having made some impressive technological advances over the years.
Formula 1 cars are single seat and open-wheeled, which means the wheels are on the outside of the car and not under the fenders as they are with NASCAR. They use the most powerful and the most technically advanced cars, and to drive them you have to be the best there is. It takes years to reach the top of Formula 1 but the rewards are worth it once you get there.
Safety and Formula One
There are specific rules for F1 on how the race is run, with two categories, which are sporting and technical. Although it is heavily regulated, safety is always an issue with Formula 1 as it is with NASCAR.
In the early days, crashes were frequent in Formula One, with a record of 1 in every 8 crashes. It was once so dangerous that a driver was considered lucky if he lived to see retirement. Fire is a particular hazard, with parts of the car becoming heated during the race, and as it carries flammable fuel it’s always going to be a risk. Fire resistant suits and helmets are obviously a help, but like NASCAR, Formula One will always be dangerous.
A Formula One race will take place over 3 days and it will begin with a series of practice sessions and qualifying races prior to the main one on the Sunday. The structure of the sporting weekend can change as it has done over the years since its creation.
Different yet similar, fast and always dangerous
As you can see, both races are different yet the same, the biggest difference is the cars they drive and the skills needed to navigate their way around a track. It takes great driving and a large amount of skill to win at a motorsport and each has its own set of unique challenges. There are safety issues, yes, but that’s part and parcel of motor racing, you either love it or hate it.
F1 and NASCAR are great on their own as an individual sport to be enjoyed and savoured, but if you can love both, even better. Twice the amount of thrills and double the excitement – if your heart can take it.
If you are connected to the motorsport industry and require safety provision at your next motorsports event we provide full medical ground and air support, medically trained staff with over 20 years of experience. For FIA accredited medical assistance contact us here or call us on +44 (0) 1992 568 737