The INDY500, which was held for the first time in 1911, will be held for the 106th time this year。And in its long history, it has been coexisting for a long time with the F1 Grand Prix, which originated in Europe.
INDY500 incorporated to F1 as a series
When F1 officially started as a world championship in 1950, the INDY500 was welcomed as part of the series. Until 1960, the INDY500 was one race of the American national championship and one of the F1 world championships. During those 11 years, World Champion, Alberto Ascari from Italy and Juan Manuel Fangio from Argentina participated in INDY500.
In 1961, Australian-born world champion Jack Brabham entered the INDY500 with a Cooper Car Company F1 car and performed well with a small mid-engine agile car. Five years later, in 1965, the British team Team Lotus achieved the INDY500 victory with a mid-engine British F1 car. The driver was world champion Jim Clark who is from Scotland.
4 Double Title Winners
Mario Andretti, who was born in Italy and emigrated to the United States as a boy in the 1960s, became the three-time champion of the IndyCar Series, and won the INDY500 in 1969 to make a triumphant return to Europe. He won the F1 World Champion in 1978 and became the first driver in history to win both in IndyCar and F1.
In 1984, Brazilian driver Emerson Fittipaldi, who was the two-time F1 champion in 1972 and 1974, began competing in Indy Car, and in 1989 he won both the F1 and Indy Car series. He became 2nd driver to win both series. He also won the INDY 500 twice in 1989 and 1993.
In 1993, F1 World Champion Nigel Mansell traveled from England to the United States to fully compete in the IndyCar Series. This year's IndyCar Series includes Mario Andretti, Emerson Fittipaldi, three-time F1 champion in 1981, 1983 and 1987 Nelson Piquet, Eddie Cheever, Roberto Guerrero, a current IndyCar Team owner Bobby Rahal, Stephen Johansson and Danny Sullivan. Including spot participation, 16 F1 Grand Prix experienced drivers participated. Mansell won the IndyCar series champion in his debut year and returned to F1 after two seasons.
It was 1991 IndyCar Champion Michael Andretti who challenged F1 in a way that replaced Mansell. The current team owner of Andretti Autosport challenged the 1993 F1 Grand Prix with the big goal of winning a double title with a father and a son, but unfortunately, he could not survive one season and came back to IndyCar in 1994.
Originally from Canada, Jacques Villeneuve won the INDY500 in 1995, won the series title, and entered F1 in 1996. His father, Gilles Villeneuve was active in F1 from 1977 to 1982, and his son Jack won the World Champion in 1997 and became 4th double title winner.
Colombian Juan Pablo Montoya, who became the IndyCar Champion in 1999 and the 2000 INDY500 winner, has also raced in F1 since 2001 with seven wins.
Alex Zanardi, who raced in Indy Car in 1996 and became the champion for the second consecutive year in 1997 and 1998, came from F1. He returned in F1 in 1999, but he went back again to Indy Car in 2001.
Five F1 experienced drivers challenge the 2022 INDY500
Among the regular participants in the 2022 IndyCar Series, Takuma Sato (Dale Coyne Racing), Romain Grosjean (Andretti Autosport), Marcus Ericsson (Chip Ganassi Racing), Alexander Rossi (Andretti Autosport) have participated in the F1 World Championship. Juan Pablo Montoya (Chevrolet), who has won the F1 Grand Prix, is also participating in the spot at the 106th Indianapolis 500 Mile, whose final will be held on May 29th.
In the 2000s, the traffic between IndyCar and F1 drivers has been declining, and in 2010 when Takuma Sato started participating in the race, Sato was the only one with F1 experience. Two former F1 drivers, Sébastien Bourdais in 2011 and Rubens Barrichello in 2012 joined IndyCar, and Juan Pablo Montoya made a comeback in 2015.
Sato won his first IndyCar victory at Long Beach in 2013, achieved his second win at the INDY500 in 2017, and recorded his second win at the INDY500 in 2020. His total number of wins is currently six.
In 2016, Alexander Rossi, who ran five F1 races in 2015, entered the IndyCar Series in his home country. He was a rookie when he won the INDY500. It was a dramatic victory for a successful miraculous fuel economy operation at the memorable 100th tournament.
In 2017, F1 champion Fernando Alonso skipped F1 Monaco Grand Prix and participated in the INDY500 spot. He challenged INDY500 for second time in 2019, but he was eliminated in the qualifying. He could not mark enough speed to pass the elimination line. In 2020, Alonso passed the qualification two times in his three challenges, and received checkered flag for the first time with 21st place.
In 2019, Swedish-born Marcus Ericsson switched from F1 to IndyCar. Something unusual happened late in the season. He canceled the IndyCar race in Portland and needed a replacement driver for him because his contracted F1 team asked him to join the Belgian Grand Prix as a reserve driver. Among the drivers who regularly participate in the 2022 IndyCar Series, Callum Ilott (Chevrolet) is under a contract with the F1 team, and it is possible not to participate in the IndyCar race due to circumstances on the F1 side like Ericsson.
In 2021, Romain Grosjean, who raced 10 seasons in F1, switched to IndyCar. In his debut year, he only participated in races on the street course and road course, but from 2022, which is his second year, he will participate in all races including oval races. He is now targeting his first victory in IndyCar, which he couldn’t achieve last year.
Would the flow of INDY to F1 increase?
In the movement of drivers, there is a lot of inflow from the F1 to IndyCar because the IndyCar teams evaluate the performance of F1 drivers and select the drivers whom they can entrust their machines. While appointing young people, they are also looking for driver who will have an immediate impact in the race. When it comes to drivers for the next generation, many young talents aiming for F1 are competing in a step-up series set in Europe. Most of the F1 drivers are selected from them, but in recent years there have been remarkable talented drivers in the American IndyCar Series, among which Pato O'Ward (Chevrolet) from Mexico last year. He has been given the opportunity to test in F1. American driver Colton Herta (Andretti Autosport w / Curb-Agajanian) has signed a test driver contract with the F1 team this year.