Hamilton and Norris excite but Verstappen predictability sees ex-F1 star hail IndyCar

Former Formula 1 driver Max Chilton has hailed the current crop of British racers but warned about the current predictability of the sport.

Chilton raced in F1 between 2012 and 2014, competing against many of the sport’s greats including Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso.

Chilton competed against the best in F1

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Chilton competed against the best in F1Credit: Getty
But he believes there's one sport that tops the 'pinnacle' - IndyCar

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But he believes there’s one sport that tops the ‘pinnacle’ – IndyCarCredit: Getty

Since then he’s taken part in a number of different disciplines, including endurance car racing and IndyCar.

Speaking to talkSPORT at the Goodwood Festival of Speed, Chilton was driving a McMurtry Speirling, which currently holds the record for the fastest time at the historic hill climb.

Able to offer a unique perspective on where F1 currently stands, the former Marussia F1 driver explained that predictability is where the sport is losing out.

“Formula 1 has always been the pinnacle of motorsport and it will always be that way,” he began. 

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“But you’ve fans in motorsport who will prefer World RallyCross, MotoGP or NASCAR, for example.

“For me the next best series is IndyCar, and when I say next best, in many ways I think it’s better because the racing is so pure. 

“I did it for six years and it’s all the same cars, two different engine manufacturers, so it’s far less predictable than Formula 1, there’s plenty more overtakes, and very rarely will a driver win one weekend and then the next.”

F1 has certainly become predictable since the 2022 aerodynamic regulations came into force, with Max Verstappen dominating last season, and he is well on his way to his third consecutive title this year.

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British fans have plenty to enjoy in F1

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British fans have plenty to enjoy in F1Credit: Getty

His team, Red Bull Racing, matched the record win streak for a constructor with 11 on the bounce last time out at Silverstone, showing just how far behind every other team is.

Joining the Dutchman on the podium were British superstars Lando Norris and Lewis Hamilton – who both put on a show for the home crowd – and Chilton believes it’s important to step back and appreciate what we have on offer.

“I think all the British drivers do us British supporters incredibly proud,” he began.

“I think Lando is outstanding, he’s a crowd-pleaser and I’ve seen him come up from when he was a small kid.

Hamilton is still going from Chilton's era

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Hamilton is still going from Chilton’s eraCredit: Getty

“George Russell, I did a young driver activity with him at McLaren, 10 plus years ago now, and he’s grown into being such a presentable, talented, fast, racing driver, to then be teammates with Lewis. 

“Lewis is just remarkable, to still have that drive and passion after being in F1 for so many years is great, and I think Alex Albon, he just puts a smile on your face.

“So we are very lucky, and I think the whole of Formula 1 has elevated motorsport to a whole new audience.”

The future, though, may see Chilton playing a part, with his McMurtry stunning crowds at Goodwood last year, this time round it was the biggest star in the paddock.

Chilton flew up the hill in the remarkable car

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Chilton flew up the hill in the remarkable carCredit: Getty

With fan-generated downforce, the Speirling climbs the hill pinned to the ground like a Scalextrics car, and the only thing more stunning than its speed, is the fact it’s available to the public.

“What a beautiful machine it is, it actually comes alive in the rain,” he said.

“Most racing cars produce downforce the faster you go, but in the wet, you have such limited grip with the tyre and you can’t go fast enough to get the downforce.

“Ours, we leave the garage with a maximum two tonnes of downforce so you’ll be amazed how much stability that gives to the car, braking performance, acceleration, it’s just a magical thing to drive.

“Our new car, the McMurtry Speirling Pure, produces less downforce by choice, because we’ve got 50 per cent more mechanical grip from larger LMP, Michelin tyres.

“I’ve raced Formula 1 for two years, and this thing is quite a bit quicker in most areas, and to get general public in there and drive this around a track and go at silly speeds where they look like they are top flight racing drivers, I think it’s a remarkable bit of British engineering.”

But could it be the future? Well Chilton thinks so.

He continued: “The technology that the McMurtry team came up with is pretty revolutionary, obviously, the idea of fan technology was in F1 and banned years ago.

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“Ours works like a vacuum on the bottom of the car, sucking itself down, so it doesn’t get affected by drag as much.

“This is why the future of racing could change with the technology we’ve got, because you could run nose to tail through a high speed corner and virtually have the same downforce as the car in front, so it makes the racing fantastic and we might see it in the future technology of racing.”

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