In a battle between Formula 1 and NASCAR, which comes out the clear winner? Is F1 more popular than NASCAR? Does it deserve to be? in this Versus article we pit these two great sports against each other and see which one comes out on top.
There are a few comparisons that make this comparison hard to call. F1 cars are faster, the tracks are more diverse and it takes a lot of skill just to stay on the road. However, the best car usually wins. In NASCAR, great mechanics are only half of it and the rest is down to driver skill, which makes it more of a competition and more interesting for fans.
Both sports can turn into drab and dull affairs, both are more exciting when the race just starts and when there are major events that bring elements of shock and awe. F1 fans will argue that going around in a circle is as boring as it can get; NASCAR fans will tell you that there’s nothing exciting about watching the same cars win races fortnight after fortnight. F1 can be more exciting on certain tracks and certain occasions. Rainy days in Spa or the British GP make for great races. But sunny days in Monaco can be as drab as it gets, even though it’s one of the biggest races.
So we have to give this to NASCAR.
This is a close one, but not as close as you might think. NASCAR is big in the southern United States. Much bigger than F1. However, it seems to be on the decline in the rest of the US, while F1 is on the up. Also, you won’t find many NASCAR fans outside of the US and you’ll be hard-pressed to find any of them at all in Europe, Australia and throughout Asia. This is an American sport and while America is big enough to have a lot of fans, it’s not big enough to surpass the many millions who watch F1 from Australia to Brazil and from Japan to England.
None of the cars you will see on Nascar and F1 tracks are roadworthy, nor are they designed to be. They’re designed to move at speed and if you hit the road with them then you’d just clock-up more speeding tickets than you could ever afford to pay. In NASCAR, the cars are designed to keep going on a circular track, not to take sharp turnings; in F1 they do take sharp turnings, but only at speed and if you reduce that speed then you reduce the drag, which makes steering difficult. You also take the heat out of the tires, which those F1 cars need to stay in control on the road.
If the competition between NASCAR and F1 comes down to the skill involved with creating the cars and the quality of the cars themselves, then it’s F1 that wins all of the time. They spend billions developing their cars and each one is worth in excess of 7 figures. They have the best engineers in the world working on them and they are essentially complex computer combined with intricate mechanics. They are faster, they are lighter, they are harder to drive and the cockpit is akin to a commercial jet.
Summary: NASCAR vs F1
We’re evenly split on these two and we have a lot of love for both of them, maybe more for NASCAR. However, we have to give this to Formula 1. It has more fans, more variety, more money and more skill. The crashes are not as plentiful or as cataclysmic, but it’s supposed to be about the racing, not the disaster, so we left that one out.
We love NASCAR as much as the next man, but you have to give it to F1 here.