F1 cars 'more like spaceships than race cars' says NASCAR star

NASCAR, Clint Bowyer
© XPB 

Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series driver Clint Bowyer has admitted being amazed at the level of technical sophistication of Formula 1 cars.

Bowyer drives for Stewart-Haas Racing, the NASCAR sister team to the Haas F1 squad. Bowyer took over the race seat from team co-owner Tony Stewart at the start of the current season.

NASCAR puts the focus on driving skills and downplays technical advances in favour of on-track racing. It means there's very little in common between the stock cars Bowyer drives and the current hi-tech crop of F1 cars.

"It’s just amazing what those cars are capable of doing," he admitted. "They look more like spaceships than race cars, if you ask me. I grew up in Kansas, and we didn’t have anything like that."

Bowyer's boss Tony Stewart did try a car swap day with Lewis Hamilton in 2011 at Watkins Glen. And former Cup champion Jeff Gordon likewise got a taste of Juan Pablo Montoya's Williams in 2003 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

"I would love to do that," Bowyer admitted. "I know Gordon did that and have talked to him about that experience."

But Bowyer admitted that his level of interest, knowledge and involvement in Formula 1 had always been fairly minimal.

"We couldn’t even get the [television] station to cover that," he recalled. "And I can’t understand the announcer that covers it anyway.

“I can’t even get up early enough to watch those races, let alone compete in them," Bowyer said.

The one race that did appeal to him appeared to be the Monaco Grand Prix, and its uniquely glamorous setting.

"I would like to go to that track that has all the boats on it, with those big yachts," he said. "If you can find me a rig like that to back up to the track, and watch them when I retire, I’ll go with you!"

There doesn't seem much imminent prospect of crossovers between the NASCAR and F1 side of the Haas operation. Romain Grosjean took a distinctly sniffy view of the US championship recently.

"We want racing, but we don't want wheel-banging, we're not in NASCAR," he said recently. He was complaining about a robust move by Renault's Nico Hulkenberg at the start of the Hungarian Grand Prix.

However, both Grosjean's current team mate Kevin Magnussen and former world champion Jenson Button have said they'd be up for a chance to try NASCAR.

"It’s definitely something I’d like to have a go at one day," said Magnussen. "I’m a passionate motorsports fan as well, so NASCAR or any other form of motorsport, turns me on."

"I’d like to race in NASCAR, I think that’d be fun," agreed Button. "I went along to one of the races this year. [Seven-time champion] Jimmie Johnson invited me. I had a great time!"

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