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How Fast do F1 Cars Go?
When it comes to motorsport, Formula 1 is widely acknowledged to be the most prestigious, intense and exciting form of motorsport, although avid NASCAR or IndyCar fans may disagree on this point.
F1 cars use cutting edge technology and precision engineering. Combine this with skill and no small amount of bravery from the drivers, and you have speed and lots of it. And while they may not be the fastest cars in a straight line, when it comes to on track performance, they are peerless.
The technical top speed of F1 cars is 360KPH (223MPH), but in reality, they have been known to exceed this speed under racing conditions, where drivers push harder and make full use of slipstreams and any aerodynamic advantages, such as DRS, which all work to increase the on track speed. This can lead to the cars, and the drivers within them, hurtling down the straights at astonishing speeds above 370KPH (229MPH).
But it isn't just on the straights where F1 cars show off their pedigree, the cornering speeds of F1 cars are unparalleled in motor racing, with the cars being capable of hitting speeds of up to 300KPH (186MPH).
F1 cars, while quick off the line, are not specifically built to accelerate quickly, rather they are designed to be the fastest around the track. And while they can accelerate from 0 - 100KPH (62MPH) in roughly 2.6 seconds, relatively slow starts and reduced acceleration times help to preserve the tyres and other vital components, which allow these cars to perform to their optimal level for longer throughout the race, reducing the need to pit more often.
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How fast do F1 cars go in a straight line? - F1 cars have been known to reach speeds of up to 372.5KPH in race conditions.
How fast do F1 cars go around a corner? - They can reach speeds of up to 300KPH around corners.
How fast do F1 cars go from the start line? - They reach 100KPH in roughly 2.6 seconds.
Source - Autosport.com and One Stop Racing.
Did you know…
That during the 1996 Monaco Grand Prix, of the 21 drivers that started, only 3 finished the race! This was due to torrential rain which caused an unprecedented amount of driver errors and crashes. That adds up to 85.7% of the starting field retiring from the race! You can get your tickets for the 2022 Monaco Grand Prix here!
The top speed currently recorded during an F1 Race was set by Valterri Bottas during the 2016 Mexican Grand Prix, where, according to Autosport, he reached speeds of 372.5KPH!
On the current circuit, the oldest lap records date all the way back to 2004, with Michael Schumacher completing a lap of the Albert Park Circuit in 1:24.125 seconds, and Rubens Barrichello completing a lap of the Monza Circuit in 1:21.046 seconds, both reported by Formula1.com. Will either of these records tumble this year? Why not find out in person, get your 2022 Italian Grand Prix tickets here!
That Lewis Hamilton currently holds the record for the fastest average speed during a qualifying lap. According to Reuters, at the Italian Grand Prix in 2020, held in Monza, he recorded an average speed of 264.362KPH during one qualifying lap, seeing him take pole position.
According to the Guinness World Records, the fastest ever average speed for an entire race was set by Micheal Schumacher in 2003 at Monza during the Italian Grand Prix. On average, he was travelling at 247.585KPH, making it the fastest ever average race speed!
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What makes an F1 car so fast?
While there is an undeniable element of driver skill involved, the fact of the matter is that the fastest cars, and the cars that win the most races and Constructors Championships, are those that are technically superior. Until last year, Lewis Hamilton had won 7 consecutive World Titles with Mercedes, and while you cannot argue that he does not possess a huge amount of driving skill, if he had been driving for Haas or another of the lesser funded teams, it is highly unlikely that he would have got anywhere near the world title.
F1 cars are currently powered by turbocharged 1.6-litre V6 engines, which produce a massive 900 brake horsepower, compared to standard road cars with the same engine that produce a mere 161 brake horsepower. So how do F1 cars get so much power out of the engines?
They use short stroke engines, the same type of engines that are commonly found in motorcycles. Short stroke means that the pistons within the engine have a shorter distance to travel, with the large width and small length of the engine meaning the unit can suck in the same amount of fuel and air as a standard 1.6-litre engine, which makes them incredibly efficient engines.
Aerodynamics also play a major role in allowing the cars to reach the speeds that they do, both on the straights and around the bends. The key here is to reduce air resistance and generate downforce simultaneously. The streamlined, low and flat design, coupled with the fact that every surface of the car is specially designed to allow air to pass over it with minimal resistance. While this is happening, the way the splitters, wings and diffuser are designed directs the air around the car in a specific manner, which pushes the car down onto the track, creating downforce, and ensuring that the cars can stay on the track.
Then you have the tyres. Arguably the most important part of the car, as they’re the only part of the car that actually comes into contact with the surface of the track. If the tyres don’t work well, then the car won’t work well, it’s as simple as that! There are different types of tyres that are utilised for different tracks, temperatures and weather conditions, with teams choosing between hard, medium and soft compounds on any given day.
Have F1 cars become faster over time?
Undeniably yes. Since the inception of the sport in 1950, virtually every aspect of F1 has changed in a dramatic way. From the tubular shape of the cars and old fashioned cloth helmets, the sport has evolved into arguably the most technologically advanced sport in the world.
Not only has there been an aesthetic evolution, with the streamlined, aerodynamic machines we see today evolving from tubular shapes which were aerodynamically simple at best, and over the years concepts such as wings and side skirts have been introduced to improve aerodynamics and downforce. Engines have gradually been shifted towards the rear of the car to decrease the weight and increase the speed, while developments such as the carbon fibre chassis in 1981 went a long way towards decreasing the overall weight. And as we progressed into the 90s, driver aids such as traction controls and semi-automatic gearboxes were introduced into the sport, making the cars faster, and also safer.
If you want to find out how fast F1 cars go in person, be sure to check out our Formula 1 ticket and hotel packages, they’re nothing short of incredible! Motorsports Ticket & Hotel Packages
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