F1: “Not much of a driver’s championship”

F1: “Not much of a driver’s championship” – The monumental increase in budgets spent on the cars together with some teams of 1500 employees have significantly shifted the emphasis from Formula 1 being about the old time skills of the drivers and since the millennium F1 is more about the best manufacturer.

This is clearly evidenced in the number of repeat back to back WCC titles won. Since 1999 Ferrari have 6, Renault 2, Ferrari 2 more, Red Bull 4 and Mercedes 8.


3 teams only have won 20 titles in 23 years.

In the first 49 years of F1, the best back to back record was from McLaren who won 4. Ferrari and Williams had 3 and 7 different teams had double WCC’s.

The quote above, which implies F1 is more about the car than the driver comes from an interesting source. During the Indycar pre-season media event this week, 4 times champion and 5 times runner-up, Josef Newgarden, shared his thoughts about F1 and it’s relative competitiveness to Indycar.

FORMULA 1 - Bahrain GP

Vettel at the end of his particular period of F1 dominance with 4 years of Red Bull Racing Championships


“For me the allure of F1 I think is the gravity of the cars. When I think about F1, I think about a manufacturers championship, trying to build the quickest cars that you can within – I should say within an unreasonable budget. That’s what was exciting about it.”


So for one of the USA’s most accomplished racers, his view of F1 is that it is more about spending gazzilions to build cars as technically complex as moon rockets.

Josef was on the GP3 track to F1 in his younger years following a successful run in British Formula Ford. Though a disappointing season with Carlin in 2010 saw the American head back over the pond and pursue a career in Indy.

Over time the allure of racing in F1 for Newgarden has faded as he reveals, “The older I’ve gotten, the more I’ve been in racing and watched Formula 1, I don’t know it’s somewhere I really want to race. It doesn’t look as much of a driver’s championship to me.”

There have been many who have compared the differences between F1 and Indycar over the years, but Joself’s view is simple.

Ferrari Dallara Indycar proposal 2020, when SF threatened to compete in the USA


“I think IndyCar is really where you’re going to get the most competitive product as a racing driver,” Newgarden said. “When you’re a driver at the top level, you want to have an opportunity to compete, to win the championship, to win big races regardless of your situation. I think unfortunately that’s not present in Formula 1.


The Indycar title in 2021 was taken by a newcomer to the series, just out of his rookie year, Alex Palou. Lewis Hamilton was the last driver in F1 to achieve such a feat back in 2008.

And amazingly for the fans of Indy, for 16 consecutive years, the Indycar title has been decided at the last event of the season.

Newgarden makes an eloquent point; if you want less predictable races and to see the best driver on the day win the race, watch Indycar.

If you want to see which manufacturer gets it right year after year and wins more races than they lose, watch F1.

And for those of you who believe it’s all Lewis, or Seb, or Michael – maybe think again.



9 responses to “F1: “Not much of a driver’s championship”

  1. What isn’t mentioned in this article is that IndyCar is a spec series, and while there are two engine manufacturers (Chev & Honda), they are regulated to the point that there is virtually no power difference between them. Since 2018 everyone is using a spec aero-kit, so the only differences from one car to other is driver set-up. And let’s not forget the chassis they are using was originally designed in 2011.

    So when everyone is essentially using the same equipment, the differentiator is the driver. And that’s true in every spec series.

    • I think that was the point of the article. Just not written as A,B,C.
      And the best driver on the day wins…. not the best kit week in week out…..

      • And given the success of the DFV engine, and the diversity of teams using it – it was an era when F1 in effect had had partial spec elements.

        • Even though I am a fan of the DFV for what it did for F1, it was really only one team who benefitted from the DFV and that was Lotus. In the 18 years that the DFV raced in F1 – 1967 -1985, Lotus won the constructors WC five times, Williams twice, and McLaren and Tyrrell once. Ferrari during the same period won the constructors WC 6 times. What the DFV did was give a cheap, reliable engine to the privateers. But it was never a guarantee of success on its own, the chassis did that.

  2. Now I definitely can feel good about never reading any articles from thejudge13.com
    Darkest publication of them all. Call it cruel truth or whatever you want, but these type of extreme negative constant articles, well they just don’t contribute in any way to my enjoyment of the sport or any subject for that matter!
    Good bye.

    • toddle along now…. back into 5th grade class…. today’s lesson is learning what a quote is……

    • I am new here and I joined after seeing the fair manner in which F1 has been covered, without blindly supporting any driver like some of the other blogs do.
      For every ME who bids goodbye, there will be dozens joining.
      Thank you TJ13. You have given ME a good repartee!

      • Vijay, you make a great point which has always been part of thejudge13 USP – the site will treat any person involved in F1 with similar unbiased opinion.

        It’s always been so since it started and I hate to say it, it’s only extremely biased fans of Lewis Hamilton who bitch constantly.

      • Cheers Vijay. But we are biased. We are biased towards demanding F1 to be fans focused and not team/driver focused. We gave Horner and Red Bull a very hard time when they were dominant and behaving like brats. You may remember Vettel’s comments about ‘other teams sitting with their balls in the pool”? – disrespecting the rest of the field. Trust me, we called it out good – and that RBR attitude for a long time.

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