Former Alpine F1 junior driver Christian Lundgaard has been comparing his experience in Formula 2 and IndyCar, and says that by comparison modern Formula 1 equipment is the easiest car he's had to drive.
The 21-year-old Danish driver switched to the US open wheel series this year after two seasons competing for ART in the F2 championship, during which time he had also been part of the Alpine F1 team's driver academy.
Although he was one of the squad's test drivers, he decided to quit and head stateside when it was clear there would be no opening in the team's full time driver line-up in the near future.
He joined Rahal Letterman Lanigan and earned his first podium with second place on the Indianapolis road course last month, resulting in a new multi-year contract with the team. It puts him in a strong position to compare current F1 and IndyCar hardware.
"I've driven Formula 1 cars, I've tested quite a few days with Renault. So for me, I'm going to say it as it is: For me, that was personally the easiest car I've ever driven. It's easy to drive to a certain extent," Lundgaard told Motorsport.com last week.
"The reason why we see Formula 1 being, I would say, split up in the front of the field and then the midfield is extremely close, is that the car is very easy to drive to a certain limit.
"Finding that [final] half a second to a second is what's tough, because the car's got so much downforce that it's going to stick."
He explained that in IndyCar "you need to hustle, you need to work the car" and that "the car isn't driving you, you are driving the car." He added: “The thing about IndyCar is you need to be fast every single time, and that's tough. I think the transition into ovals is tough.”
While ovals are undoubtedly an acquired skill that have put many drivers off trying their hand in IndyCar, other former F1 drivers like Romain Grosjean, Marcus Ericsson, Takuma Sato and Alexander Rossi have made the move successfully.
"Honestly there's going to be a lot of F1 drivers that I wish would try an IndyCar," he said, with Sebastian Vettel currently high on the list of drivers linked with a possible move to the US.
Lundgaard's current boss, RLL founder and co-owner Bobby Rahal, said earlier this year that he would welcome Vettel if the four-time world champion wanted to come test one of his cars after the current season ends.
His son Graham - himself a current IndyCar driver - also tweeted Vettel last week, saying that it "would be an honor to have you in our car."
“I think it would be cool for Sebastian to drive an IndyCar, honestly," agreed Lundgaard. "For Sebastian to come over here and try a car that you need to hustle ... I think that's going to be a tough transition."
Lundgaard suggested that F2 was actually the more natural path into IndyCar, not least because cars in both series are designed and built by Dallara, and the required tyre management skills are similar between the two series.
"We have the experience of proper saving tyres, and looking after tyres because the Pirelli tyres are tough: they're very difficult to understand, and from track-to-track it's also different.
He suggested that it explains why both he and fellow F2 alumni Callum Ilott have been able to hit the ground running in IndyCar this season.
"Coming from Pirelli tyres [in F2] to Firestone tyres [in IndyCar] was a big benefit for both Callum and I," he said. "I would say the Dallara link is a big factor in it [too].
It's why Lundgaard feels that it might be the best career option for current F2 rising stars like Felipe Drugovich and Marcus Armstrong.
“I was teammates with Marcus in 2020 in F2," he said. "I know Marcus is a good driver. I know he can hustle a car as well," he said. "Marcus for sure would be able to be fast."
It's not just the on-track action that appeals to Lundgaard, who is also finding the more relaxed atmosphere in IndyCar much more to his liking than the pressure and formality of F1.
“I don't think there's been much I haven't really liked about IndyCar so far,” he summarised. "What I like about IndyCar is the feeling I have here is the feeling I got when I fell in love with go-karts.
"You put the car on the ground, you race, and you have fun. But you compete, and once the helmet's off everyone is best buddies. You don't see that in Europe," he said. "It's about racing. It's more about racing than it is about politics.
“The life is good for me in America," he summarised. "I prefer it here. Obviously I miss family and friends etc., but I'm sure a time will come for them to visit me."