Formula 1 owners Liberty Media want to buy IndyCar and turn it into an American-based feeder category for F1, it has been claimed.
Owned by racing legend Roger Penske since 2020, the IndyCar Series is the leading single-seater category in America and is the home of the historic Indianapolis 500 race.
F1 has targeted the United States as a key area for expansion since Liberty’s takeover in 2017 and will stage no fewer than three races across America – in Miami, Texas and Las Vegas – across the 2023 season.
Marketing initiatives such as Netflix’s Drive to Survive docuseries has seen F1’s popularity explode in America, with a record 440,000 fans attending the United States Grand Prix in Austin last year.
With McLaren, the second-most successful team in F1 history, already having a presence in IndyCar, F1 commentator and analyst Peter Windsor – whose attempt to launch the USF1 team in 2010 failed to come to fruition – has revealed that Liberty’s next step to conquer America could see a move to purchase the series outright.
Speaking via his YouTube channel, Windsor speculated that a potential takeover could see the IndyCar calendar move away from oval circuits in favour of more purpose-built and street-based venues, with the design of the cars brought more in line with F1 machinery.
He said: “One of the things Liberty are looking at at the moment – and this is quite a good idea – is buying IndyCar to make it effectively an American feeder series for F1.
“Maybe that’s why Zak [Brown, McLaren chief executive] is there, I don’t know.
“That’s not a completely stupid idea.
“I think it’s quite a cool idea actually because it’s a place where you could put a lot of good, talented drivers who can’t make it into Formula 1 and then they go and do this American series.
“It makes sense to me to do that.”
Previously regarded as a destination for drivers after the end of their F1 careers, IndyCar has seen an increased crossover with Formula 1 in recent years.
Alex Palou and Colton Herta, two of the most exciting talents in IndyCar, have both driven McLaren F1 machinery within the last year, while two-time F1 World Champion Fernando Alonso decided to miss the Monaco Grand Prix in 2017 to instead participate in the Indy 500 with the aim of winning motorsport’s so-called triple crown.
Of the 29 drivers to have participated in the 2023 IndyCar season so far, four – Championship leader Marcus Ericsson, Romain Grosjean, Alexander Rossi and Takuma Sato – have previously competed in F1.