Will Power is adamant Daniel Ricciardo would get more enjoyment out of the ‘raw, hardcore’ IndyCar series than the turbulent heights of Formula 1.
In its various guises, IndyCar has long been home to drivers fresh out of F1.
The likes of Nigel Mansell, Emerson Fittipaldi, Alex Zanardi, and Takuma Sato have all enjoyed success following their switch to the North American single-seater series.
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Daniel Ricciardo currently competes for McLaren in Formula 1 (Getty)
There have been recent success stories too, with Alexander Rossi and Marcus Ericsson both winning the Indianapolis 500 not long after their respective F1 exits.
Last year, Romain Grosjean became arguably the most high-profile driver of late to switch codes.
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Could Ricciardo be next? Power certainly thinks he’d have a good time state-side.
“I think he’d really enjoy it,” the 2014 IndyCar series winner told Wide World of Sports.
“I think any of those guy that come over, they love it. It’s way more raw than Formula 1, even the way the tracks are set up. It’s like going back to the early ’90s. You don’t have all this run-off. It’s just raw, hardcore racing.”
Will Power leads the IndyCar Series standings with three races remaining (Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
There are two fundamental differences between open-wheel categories.
IndyCar is a parity-based controlled specification formula whereby each team uses the same Dallara chassis and one of two engine suppliers – Honda and Chevrolet.
By contrast, each F1 team designs and manufactures its own cars. Non-works teams take engine supply from Ferrari, Mercedes, Renault, and Red Bull-branded Honda.
IndyCar is arguably more physically demanding than F1 due to the absence of power steering.
F1 tends to race on billiard smooth circuits with expansive run-off areas while IndyCar isn’t afraid of bumpy street courses and old-school circuits surround by grass and gravel.
Daniel Ricciardo aboard the McLaren at this year’s Hungarian Grand Prix (Getty)
In F1, it’s accepted that on any given weekend there are only a handful of drivers who can win – notwithstanding unusual circumstances.
In IndyCar, any of the 25 drivers has the realistic potential to win.
In 2022, there have been three different winners in F1 from 13 grands prix while there have been eight different winners in 14 races of IndyCar.
There have been 15 different podium finishers in IndyCar but only seven in F1.
Asked what makes IndyCar attractive to the ex-F1 drivers, Power replied, “They have a chance to win each week.
“They enjoy the paddock because it’s a lot more friendly. Everyone talks to each other.
“Most of us have motorhomes so we’re all in the paddock together. It’s a great community and fiercely competitive on the track.
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Will Power celebrates by riding the Lion Statue in the James Scott Memorial Fountain after winning in Detroit (Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
“It is a fact that you can pretty much run in any team and have a chance to win because of the parity,” Power added.
“It’s an extremely competitive series. That racing is amazing and you’ve got to be extremely versatile because of the different tracks you go to.
“I could see why people want to come and race here. I’ve never had as much fun as I am having right now. It’s just so enjoyable. You’re up against such tough competitors and they’re fun cars to drive.”
Will Power’s recovery run to IndyCar podium
Might an IndyCar berth be forthcoming’ in the future? It would seem unlikely as he looks set to continue with a team in F1 – although, exactly who with is yet to be determined.
Don’t discount Ricciardo’s affinity for the United States, though. The Perth-born pilot owns a $19 million mansion in Los Angeles and is a NASCAR history buff.
Last year he drove Dale Earnhardt’s iconic yellow and blue Wrangler-backed 1984 Chevrolet Monte Carlo at Circuit of the Americas.
Ricciardo carries the No.3 in Formula 1, a number made famous in NASCAR by Earnhardt.
As 1980 world champion Alan Jones explained in his Wide World of Sports column, a move to the US-based series could reinvigorate Ricciardo.
“He’s got a house in Los Angeles, he loves America, so IndyCar is definitely an option for him,” Jones wrote.
“The money’s good, not as good as Formula 1, but certainly good, and the racing is competitive.
“All the cars are pretty much identical except for the engines, and even the different engines have roughly the same horsepower. It’s a good category where driver talent means a lot.”
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