It's the same in F1. All teams are required to use a standard ECU made by one company, no traction control, no ABS and no engine braking. The FIA is VERY strict about cheating.
Anyone remember the whole Spygate scandal over Ferrari and McLaren last season? Long story short, McLaren got caught supposedly stealing Ferrari's F2007 schematics and technical details and in the end the FIA fined McLaren $100 million and stripped all of their World Constructors championship points. The FIA does not take cheating lightly.
As for reliability, F1 races aren't as long as NASCAR, but considering how much more the cars have to handle it's pretty amazing how robust some of those parts are. Gearboxes have to last at least 4 races or you get a 5 grid penalty and engines have to last 2 races or you get a single grid penalty. It doesn't sound like much, but considering how much stress those engines go through you can't help but marvel at the technology involved.