FONTANA, Calif.--For automotive engineers, the Formula One series
can be like romping through a candy store with no credit limit. After all, it costs a single team about $400 million a season
to operate a race car. That's as much as one space shuttle launch.
In comparison to the world of exotic engine-block materials and luxury handbags, the IndyCar teams spend $7 million a year. That cost structure doesn't reduce engineering creativity, and it
creates an accessibility that Formula One teams lack, at least for
Formula One "has begun to cap what is allowed and what's not allowed
just simply because the sport was on the verge of implosion,"
Sullivan told a group of engineers and guests here as part of
the Littelfuse Speed2Design project.
"When you get a bunch of really smart guys with unlimited budgets in
a room, exciting things happen but scary things happen," Sullivan
said. "The cost to compete spun out of control."
Sullivan said costs have to be reasonable so that enough
cars can race, thereby creating competitive races that will draw fans and keep sponsorship costs in check. By extension, that makes the engineering of super-sophisticated cars
all the more interesting in a world of limited resources.
In the first of several outtakes from more than an hour of technical
insights, here's Sullivan talking about the engineering, business
and cultural differences between IndyCar and Formula One:
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