Formula One cars are open-wheel, open cockpit, single-seat racing cars, competing in the top league of motorsports. These cars comprise two wings; the front and the rear wing. They also have an engine that is usually installed behind the driver’s cockpit. With all these features characteristics and specifications, have you ever wondered how much do F1 cars weigh?
The Formula One races take place in uniquely constructed racing tracks that are referred to as “circuits”. But sometimes you can find these races being conducted on closed public roads. The Formula One regulation is also unique. This is because of the engine regulations on how the cars used in these championships are supposed to be constructed.
This is the reason why most cars that are used in Formula One races are constructed by the racing teams themselves. The only thing that can sometimes be outsourced is the manufacture and the design.
The atmosphere during an F1 race is something that cannot be explained in words. The sound of the cars, the speed at which they are traveling, and the crowds make these events truly special. With that being said, it is the sound of the cars and the speed that everyone loves. But, just how powerful are these racing cars?
The 1.6L V6 turbocharged engine, along with its power unit, can produce around 1050 horsepower. When you couple this power with the chassis and the car’s specifications, you have a vehicle that can reach up to just under 248 mph. The top speed on a track is 231 mph done by the Williams racing team.
Contents of this article entail;
How Much Do F1 Cars Weigh?
The weight of Formula One cars has never been constant. They have been changing yearly since 2008. The cars have been getting heavier year after year. From 2008 when the Formula One cars weighed 595 kilograms until this year when they are weighing 752 kg in 2021. This has since risen further now that 2022’s cars are out. First, it was decided that 2022’s F1 cars would weigh 795 kgs. That’s before a few teams appealed to the FIA to have that officially raised further by 3 kgs to 798 kgs (around 1,759 lbs) in total.
This means that in the last 11 years that is 2011 to 2022, the weight of Formula One cars has increased by a whopping 158 kilograms. These cars have set records in terms of unbeatable speeds despite becoming bigger and heavier than before.
Some of the new features that have been incorporated in the current Formula One vehicle to contribute to this increased weight include; a turbo hybrid V6 engine, bigger tires/wheels, and other safety-based changes with the recent introduction of the Halo.
Another factor that has also contributed to the gradual increase in the weight of Formula One cars is the current requirement that the cars are supposed to cover a full Grand Prix distance of 186.4114 miles in one tank of fuel.
While Formula One remains an incredible spectacle in qualifying, with a significant increase in downforce and grip contributing to breakneck speed through corners, on race days drivers are lumbered with fuel-laden cars that lap some half a dozen seconds slower than the pole position time.
How Much Do F1 Cars Weigh: Lewis Hamilton’s Take On Weight Increase
This increase in weight has also led to an increase in wear and tear on the tires and other car parts. This combined with the limited number of engine components for a season has led to Formula One drivers running the races on ‘economy mode’.
Several high-profile drivers have questioned the ever-increasing weight of cars despite the sports push of making the game more sustainable.
“I don’t understand particularly why we go heavier when there’s all this talk about being more sustainable, the sport going in that direction.”
“By going heavier and heavier and heavier you’re using more and more energy, so that feels that’s not necessarily in the right direction or the thought process.”
“The lighter cars were more nimble, we’re nowhere near as big, and so racing, maneuvering the car was better,” said Lewis Hamilton
Despite these complaints from top Formula One drivers, in 2022 another 46 kilograms is expected to be added on the Formula One car as a new set of technical regulations is set to be introduced by F1. This means that the weight of the cars is likely to increase by 200 kilograms in just 15 years. In fact, 2022’s cars are so heavy, that some teams are forced to peel off paint to get it to lose weight. Remember, 798 kgs is the bare minimum weight, as regulated by the governing body of F1.
How Much Do F1 Cars Weigh: F1 Car Weight Over The Years
How Much Do F1 Cars Weigh: Construction Of F1 Cars
All Formula One cars comprise two major components;
The chassis: currently, Formula One cars are mainly made from carbon fiber and ultra-lightweight components. These lightweight materials must not be less than 702 kilograms or 1548 lbs. this weight includes the tires and the driver but does not include the weight of fuel.
The recommended dimension of Formula One cars is 1.8 meters in width and 0.95 meters in height. There is no standard recommended measurement for the lengths but most of the cars tend to have the same.
The engine: according to regulations put in place in 2014, all Formula One cars are supposed to be fitted with a 1.6-liter turbocharged V6 engine.
How Much Do F1 Cars Weigh: Gearbox
Semi-automatic sequential carbon titanium gearboxes are used by F1 cars presently, with 8 forward gears and 1 reverse gear, with rear-wheel drive.
How Much Do F1 Cars Weigh: Steering Wheel
The steering wheel of an F1 car is equipped to perform many functions like changing gears, changing brake pressure, calling the radio, fuel adjustment, and so on.
How Much Do F1 Cars Weigh: Fuel
The fuel used by Formula One cars is a tightly controlled mixture of ordinary petrol, and can only contain commercial gasoline compounds rather than alcohol compounds.
How Much Do F1 Cars Weigh: Tires
Formula One cars have been using smooth thread, slick tires since 2009. The tire dimensions of an F1 car are;
- Front Tire − 245mm (width)
- Rear Tires − 355mm and 380mm (width)
How Much Do F1 Cars Weigh: Brakes
Speed And Performance
All F1 cars can accelerate from 0 to 100 mph and decelerate back to 0 in under 5 seconds. F1 cars have reached top speeds of about 186 mph on average.
However, some cars, without fully complying with F1 standards have attained a speed of 249 mph or more. These numbers are mostly the same for all F1 cars but slight variations may be there due to the gears and aerodynamics configuration.
How Much Horsepower Do F1 Cars Have?
Every year, F1 engines change. There are certain restrictions that every engine manufacturer needs to meet when producing an engine for their F1 car. However, racing teams spend millions of dollars every year trying to improve their engines within those limits. The best way to determine how much raw power an engine has is to look at its horsepower.
For the 2021 F1 season, it has been stated that the engines have approximately 1050 HP. Some of that power is stored in the electrical unit. While the car generates speed and power, the energy gets stored in this unit. That then gets used during the race when the drivers need a little boost or extra power to slow the car down. It is not the same as DRS but similar.
It is important to note that the engine’s horsepower does not equate to the raw performance of a car. There are many things to factor in that can contribute to the general performance of Formula One cars.
It is best to think of the best cars when using those numbers because each engine is different. So, we know that the most potent engines belong to Mercedes and Red Bull racing even though Red Bull uses a Honda engine.
Now, we need to put this horsepower into perspective. Let’s use a list of cars for this:
|2015 Golf TDI||150 hp|
|2021 Golf GTI||245 hp|
|2020 Mercedes CLA45 AMG||382 hp|
|2022 Nissan GT-R 3.8L V6||565 hp|
|Lamborghini Aventador||730 hp|
|2021 F1 car||Average 1000 to 1050 hp|
While the Aventador might seem close, please remember, that does not translate to the raw performance of the car.
How Do F1 Cars Produce So Much Power?
When you are driving in your car, you might see your RPMs. Not many people fully understand what these do. All most people know is that you should not let your revs go into the red zone, right? Well, the RPM stands for the “Revolutions Per Minute” that an engine can spin at. F1 cars can spin at 15000 to 22000 RPMs.
The faster these engines spin, the more power they produce. The RPM directly affects the torque and horsepower of an engine. An F1 engine can rev at such high speeds because they have a high bore/stroke ratio. The car has an increased bore and a low stroke.
We also need to factor in combustion. All of this is getting extremely technical, which we want to avoid. So, let’s just say that an F1 engine is fast because it can rev at much higher speeds than most normal engines. Let’s put this in perspective.
The average car has an RPM limit of 6000. Even supercars apply this limit as it creates sustainability. F1 cars, as discussed, spin at 15000 to 22000.
Mercedes AMG Project One
In this section of the article, I want to talk about something that I have been keeping an eye on since it was announced in 2017. What if you put an F1 engine into a road car? Well, that is the aim of the Mercedes AMG Project One.
The car will be a hybrid mainly consisting of an F1 engine that can push up to 1000 horsepower. It is said that this hybrid supercar will be able to push out approximately 217.48 mph. However, that speed will not be achieved only by the F1 engine.
A lot of design and development has gone into the structure of the chassis and the aerodynamics of the overall car. Here is what you can expect.
- Engine: F1 1.6L turbocharged V6 with an electric motor attached, offering 16 miles on a single charge.
- Output: 1000 HP (740 KW)
- Release date: Sometime in 2021 or 2022.
F1 Cars Top Speed
There are two ways we can look at the top speed of an F1 car. After that, we will discuss some other important facts, such as the 0 to 60 times and much more, so let’s get into it.
Valtteri Bottas, who currently races for Mercedes, set the fastest top speed in 2016 on a track during the Mexican Grand Prix. He hit an astonishing 231.4 mph. He was racing for the Williams race team. So, that engine and car currently hold the world record.
The fastest an F1 car has ever gone was not done on the track. Instead, it was done on the Bonneville Salt Flats. Honda wanted to see how fast their engine can go and so they tried to hit the 248.5485 mph barrier but fell just short at 246.908 mph.
Theoretically, an F1 car should be able to hit 0 to 60 in 1 second. However, F1 cars do 0 to 60 in approximately 2.6 seconds. Many factors can change this, such as the tire compound being used and the design of the chassis. Also, we should consider the skill of the driver.
What we can say is that F1 engines are high-speed machines. They take many resources to make, but they also take a lot of energy to design. The team with the most resources is often the fastest on the track.
What Is The Most Powerful F1 Engine Ever?
In 1986 BMW released what is still considered the most powerful engine ever. The BMW M12/13/1 was a monster. The engine was used in three different teams. Benetton, Arrow, and Brabham. 1100 hp. That sounds incredible, right? The engine had a theoretical horsepower of 1100.
Does that mean that F1 cars were faster back then than they are now? No. Just because a vehicle has a powerful engine doesn’t mean that it handles well on a track. Take the top speed ever recorded on an F1 track. Bottas did this in 2016. During this time, F1 cars were already using the 1.6L V6 engine.
Theoretically, that BMW engine is much more potent than the current engines we have today. But, as I will keep repeating in this article, more power does not necessarily translate to better performance. For example, the engine inside a 12-ton truck has a lot more horsepower than an engine in a Golf GTI, but a GTI will destroy a truck in terms of speed on the road.
Which Engine Has the Most F1 Wins?
Now it’s time to give you an exciting fact. People always like to talk about who the best racing team is in F1. The problem is how do you measure who is the best? Is it current performance, or do you take the overall performance throughout the years? The choice is yours. All I can do is list the number of wins that each engine has in F1 since its inception in the 50s.
Right now, the Honda engine inside the Red Bull car is a real challenger to Mercedes, who have been dominating the sport over the last few years. Ferrari has slipped down slightly even though they are still one of the best teams on the track.
Who Decides What Engines Can Be Used in F1?
There are a lot of restrictions when it comes to building an F1 car. If a manufacturer does not meet certain conditions, they will be heavily penalized, or in severe cases, they will not be allowed to race in a season until they get everything sorted out. Race teams cannot afford this because once you are out of the F1, it is complicated to get your seatback.
The FIA is the Formula 1 governing body. They spend millions of dollars every year in research and development. While the governing body determines the rules of every F1 season, they also determine the regulations that manufacturers have to meet with their cars and their drivers.
There are certain things that this governing body factors in when they make their rules. These factors can include:
- The local economic impact of each race.
They also take into consideration the environment. F1 used to come under heavy scrutiny back in the day when they use their 3.5L and 2.5L V8 and V10. Not only were these engines a waste of power and resources, but they were also a danger to the environment. They also created noise pollution. Noise pollution affects the environment by disrupting animals within their natural habitat or adaptive habitats according to their city.
Overall, we need the FIA to keep doing what they are doing because they are making strides in safety and environmental awareness. Take the 2020 crash by Romain Grosjean in Bahrain. He was against the Halo used by F1 cars introduced by the FIA. After his accident, he came out while in hospital and said that the Halo saved his life.
How Much Do F1 Engines Cost?
An F1 manufacturer’s garage used to be like any other garage with dirty floors, oily tools, and oil all over the floors. However, a lot has changed. Walking into a manufacturer’s workspace, you will notice that it looks very futuristic, spotless, and efficient.
Everything is so clean because the technology that goes into an F1 engine is highly advanced. With all of these advancements in technology, an F1 engine costs approximately $10.5 million to build. Remember that is the engine and not the entire car.
There is a lot of profit from manufacturing the engine for F1. That is why getting a contract is so highly sought-after. Take a company like Renault, a partly state-owned French company that races in F1. Over the last few years, maybe a decade, they have not been title contenders. However, they were contracted by one of their rival teams to create an engine for them.
Creating an engine for Red Bull meant that they were not using their resources. Instead, they were using Red Bull’s money to develop a new engine for Red Bull, and therefore they were able to create a better machine for their rival than they could for themselves simply because of the money it costs.
I understand that Renault lost their contract to develop engines for Red Bull, and the contract was given to Honda, which has produced some of the best engines in F1 history.
Why Did F1 Switch To V6 Engines?
We need to quickly eliminate the misconception that more power means a faster F1 car because that is not true. So, what does a V8 do differently from a V6?
In its most straightforward way, a V8 creates a more significant displacement than a V6, so why does that not equal raw performance? Well, at some point, the displacement of power needs to be matched by the car’s chassis and, most notably, the tires. If the displacement is too high, all that happens is your tire spins.
Having a tire spin either at the start of a race or at the corner’s exit can significantly reduce the car’s performance. It would be best if you also considered the weight of these larger engines. The power to weight ratio is critical. What is the point of having a more powerful engine when all it does is propel a heavier car forward?
In practice, you could achieve the same type of performance with a smaller engine and an overall lighter car than you can with a heavy engine in a heavier car. I hope that makes sense.
One final thing to note is that the FIA has tried to make Formula One as accessible to the smaller teams as they can. Restricting the engine size is one way of doing this. However, as we have discussed, some companies have the resources to produce better engines within those limits. Even if they gain 1/10 of a second, which is a significant result when you multiply that over 71 laps.
What other Engines Have F1 Cars Used?
In the early days of F1, cars used a V12 engine. Fans loved these engines. However, with the introduction of new technologies, these engines were found to be inefficient. They were dropped from the line-up in 1996.
F1 also briefly used V10 engines, but that did not last long.
The V8 was used for a few years as well. All of these engines have their pros and cons. Fans love the V12, and racers loved them as well. However, sustainability plays a huge role in the integrity of F1.
It’s no doubt that Formula One is one of the most loved and most followed sports around the world. The sound and the speed of Formula One cars are always something that comes with some excitement and thrill watching the team drivers compete in the Grand Prix championships.
Knowing the yearly recommendations by F1 that drivers have to meet especially in the general construction of their cars before they can take part in the season is important in knowing how much Formula One cars will weigh in the different F1 seasons.
FAQs On How Much Do F1 Cars Weigh
If you still have some lingering questions on how much do F1 cars weigh, our FAQs here might help shed some light…
How Much Does A Car Weigh
While F1 cars have been getting heavier, regular cars you see out on the street echo this trend, too. Unlike say, 10 or 20 years ago, modern cars these days are much more complex than ever. The latest generation of safety systems, with their myriad of sensors and computers, weigh quite a bit. This isn’t to mention the various electronics that we enjoy, such as high-tech digital gauge clusters and infotainment systems. Not to mention, the abundance of emissions control devices that we’ve been tacking on all these years. As of 2020, the general average weight of cars sold in the US is 4,156 lbs. In general, compact to midsize cars may weigh around 2,500 to 3,500lbs. Or, closer to 4,500lbs for a larger sedan. Crossovers and smaller SUVs may weigh around 2,000 to 3,500lbs. Although, a mid-size or full-size SUV could weigh, on average, between 3,500lbs to 6,000lbs.
How Much Do Formula 1 Drivers Make
Given the rich history and glamour around the sport, it’s not surprising that F1 drivers get paid a lot. In fact, they’re one of the highest-paying athetes in the world, when compared to other sports. In a bid to cut costs and make the sport more accessible, the organising body of F1 has mandated that teams have a spending cap. Although, this hasn’t yet (as of 2022, anyway) impacted driver salaries. The mandate $145-million cap is more for performance, engineering, and research costs. Thus, teams have been paying out higher than ever to retain their top talent. For example, Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen are paid around $40-million and $43-million, respectively. Most other top and experienced F1 drivers are paid around $10-million to $15-million. Some of them include Valtteri Bottas, Daniel Ricciardo, Sebastian Vettel, Lance Stroll, Fernando Alonso, Carlos Sainz, Charles Leclerc, and so on.
How Fast Do Formula 1 Cars Go
Despite the added weight of 2022’s F1 cars compared to 2021, they’re still seriously quick out on the track. To be clear, they’re slightly slower (by around 2 to 3 seconds a lap) compared to 2021’s cars. This deficit in pace is most likely due to 2022 regulations mandating that cars are simpler, and thus cheaper, with a greater emphasis on closer wheel-to-wheel racing. And, with more safety equipment on board to shield and protect the drivers. The most recent crop of 2022 F1 cars could reach a top speed of around 223mph (around 360km/h). However, in certain conditions, they could go even faster, reaching a top speed of 248mph (nearly 400km/h). They could corner at a whopping 186mph, and accelerate from 0-60mph in just 2.4 seconds.