Sergio Perez tops the Open Wheel Power Rankings, Alex Palou best in IndyCar

Open Wheel Power Rankings
Mark Thompson / Getty Images

During the past 60 days, Sergio Perez has been the most consistently strong open wheel driver and he tops the Open Wheel Power Rankings over fellow F1 racer Lando Norris and the top-ranked IndyCar driver, Alex Palou.

First, a little about the methodology used – and it is actually quite simple. Looking back at a 60-day period keeps the rankings from being skewed by early season success that might not be currently relevant.

For IndyCar, the period under consideration is from the Indy 500 through the most recent race at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. For Formula 1, the relevant races are the Grand Prix of Monaco through the Austrian Grand Prix.

Every position matters and to percentage points allow for the comparison of various-sized fields.

In F1’s 20-car field, the winner of a race is awarded 100 points with decrements of five for each position below. IndyCar has variably fields and therefore the decrement changes slightly from race to race. The winner is still awarded 100 points for first place, but each position in a 24-car field is reduced by 4.2 points. In a 26-car field, the decrement is 3.8.

Driver must have run at least three races to achieve an average.

Using that formula, Perez earned an average of 87.5 points. Perez’s position atop the Power Rankings may seem a little surprising compared to the relative strength of other F1 drivers, most notably Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton.

But Verstappen and Hamilton both had unaccustomed bad results in the last 60 days. Verstappen cut a tire in the closing laps of the Azerbaijan Grand Prix. Looking to maximize on the points’ loss by his principal rival for the Drivers Championship, Hamilton made a rare mistake and missed the braking zone of Turn 1 on the final restart and finished at the tail-end of the lead lap.

Perez won that race and gained the advantage on not only those two, but the remainder of the field. In the last two months, he has a worst finish of sixth.

Like Verstappen and Hamilton, Palou also has one poor finish in the past 60 days, but with IndyCar running five events in that time span he had more opportunity to overcome and achieved 85 points. Dating back to his second-place finish in the Indy 500, Palou has stood on the podium in all but one event. His victory at Road America breaks his points’ tie with Norris.

Norris has quietly amassed a perfect record of top-five finishes in the last four F1 races with a pair of podiums in the Grand Prix of Monaco and Austrian Grand Prix. Almost as importantly, he achieved two of those strong runs after starting on Row 4 or further back – no easy feat in a series where passing comes at a premium.

Patricio O’Ward lands fourth on the chart with 84.8 points and would be much higher if not for his last two races. He finished fourth in the Indy 500 and swept the top five at Belle Isle. But he lost some of his rhythm at Road America with a ninth-place finish and was eight at Mid-Ohio.

Marcus Ericsson is fifth at 82.8. Where Norris used consistency to achieve his ranking, Ericsson needed raw power in two races to adjust his average. He won his first IndyCar race at Belle Isle in the first event of the double header and finished second to Josef Newgarden at Mid-Ohio.

And as for the two drivers who have dominated F1 when the entire season is considered? Their trouble in Azerbaijan relegates Verstappen to sixth in the standings. Hamilton is 11th because he also struggled at Monte Carlo and finished seventh.

Driver, Series, Points (races)

  1. Sergio Perez, F1, 87.50 (4)
  2. Alex Palou, IndyCar, 85.00 (5)
  3. Lando Norris, F1, 85.00 (4)
  4. Patricio O’Ward, IndyCar, 84.80 (5)
  5. Marcus Ericsson, IndyCar, 82.80 (5)
  6. Max Verstappen, F1, 78.75 (4)
  7. Scott Dixon, IndyCar, 75.20 (5)
  8. Santino Ferrucci, IndyCar, 74.50 (4)
  9. Pierre Gasly, F1, 73.75 (4)
  10. Carlos Sainz, Jr., F1, 72.50 (4)
  11. Lewis Hamilton, F1, 70.00 (4)
  12. Josef Newgarden, IndyCar, 69.40 (5)
  13. Takuma Sato, IndyCar, 68.40 (5)
  14. Colton Herta, IndyCar, 68.20 (5)
  15. Sebastian Vettel, F1, 63.75 (4)
  16. Graham Rahal, IndyCar, 63.00 (5)
  17. Daniel Ricciardo, F1, 62.50 (4)
  18. Rinus VeeKay, IndyCar, 63.25 (4)
  19. Alexander Rossi, IndyCar, 60.75 (5)
  20. Simon Pagenaud, IndyCar, 60.75 (5)
  21. Fernando Alonso, F1, 58.75 (4)
  22. Valtteri Bottas, F1, 58.75 (4)
  23. Conor Daly, IndyCar, 46.00 (5)
  24. Romain Grosjean, IndyCar, 45.25 (5)
  25. Sebastien Bourdais, IndyCar, 45.20 (5)

NTT re-signs as IndyCar title sponsor in multiyear deal starting with the 2024 season

IndyCar NTT title sponsor
Mike Levitt/IndyCar

The IndyCar Series has re-signed NTT as its title sponsor in a multiyear agreement starting in 2024.

NTT, a global information technology and communications company based in Japan, became the series’ title sponsor before the 2019 season after starting as a sponsor of the No. 10 Dallara-Honda for Chip Ganassi Racing.

NTT Data (a subsidiary of parent company Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corp.) will remain the official technology partner of IndyCar, Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the Indy 500 and the NASCAR Brickyard weekend.

With the extension, an IndyCar spokesman said NTT would become the second-longest title sponsor in series history. The longest title sponsor was PPG from 1980-97 (under the CART sanction of the Champ Car Series).

NTT replaced Verizon, which was IndyCar’s title sponsor from 2014-18 after IZOD from 2010-13.

“NTT is an excellent partner across our enterprise with strong expertise and a deep commitment to our sport,” Penske Corp. chairman and IndyCar owner Roger Penske said in a release. “From Smart Venue technology at the Racing Capital of the World to the reimagined Series mobile application, NTT is transforming the fan experience in new and innovative ways. We look forward to a bright future together.”

NTT has used artificial intelligence-enabled optical detection technology at IMS to provide information to the track’s operations and security teams, helping improve fan traffic flow and safety, the track said.

“IndyCar is a great partner for NTT Data because of our shared commitment to driving innovation, increasing sustainability and delivering amazing experiences,” NTT Data CEO Kaz Nishihata said in a release. “We also appreciate how IndyCar is so diverse, with drivers from 15 different countries, and races that range from short ovals and superspeedways to road and street courses. It’s both an incredible sport and a wonderful example for our world.”

NTT also has been instrumental in helping redesign the IndyCar app and providing more race and driver data for use in NBC Sports’ broadcasts by utilizing 140 data points from every car in the field.

“NTT is fully invested in the development and growth of our sport and has already established a terrific track record in our industry with problem-solving capabilities and access to top talent and tools,” Penske Entertainment president and CEO Mark Miles said.

Said NTT Data Services CEO Bob Pryor: “We’re thrilled to continue our collaborations that enhance and expand the fan experience for motorsports and serve as proof points for data analytics, AI, and other innovative digital technologies. For more than a century, this racing series has pioneered innovations making driving safer for everyone, and by continuing this relationship, we will accelerate the pace of innovations and new technologies, particularly related to sustainability that ultimately can benefit organizations, communities and individuals around the world.”

Starting as a Japanese telephone company, NTT grew into a $100 billion-plus tech services giant with U.S. operations based in Plano, Texas.