What are some interesting facts about Formula 1?
I’ll skip over the common facts like the driving upside down thanks to downforce. So here are some less-well-known ones:
- At high speeds, if a Formula One driver lifts off the pedal, the car decelerates faster than if you slammed on the brakes in a normal road car.
- During full braking, the cars can go from 200mph to 60mph in under three seconds. While this happens, the brake disks can reach 1200 degrees Celsius. Occasionally they can be seen through the wheels glowing orange-hot.
- F1 engines may be powerful, but they have over 40% thermal efficiency, making them as efficient as a Toyota Prius. This is to squeeze every last bit of power out of the limited amount of fuel.
- In 2004, Formula One cars were capable of revving to 19,000 RPM or higher - three times higher than a regular road car.
- Current Formula One engines only have 1.6 litres of displacement, compareable to a family hatchback. However, the best can make close to 1000 horsepower with the hybrid boost, making them about eight times more powerful than the hatchback.
- During a race, each tyre loses around half a kilogram in weight due to wear. Two to four sets of tyres are used in a race.
- The gearbox in an F1 car will shift gear several thousand times during a race, sometimes several times within a second. Shifting is instantaneous; there is no interruption of power.
- When a driver corners, they may feel a force of up to eight times their bodyweight. If their neck muscles weren’t trained, they could pass out.
- F1 steering wheels have dozens of buttons and switches controlling various aspects of the car. Drivers change these settings very often to fine-tune the car for each corner. There is even a button that dispenses drink directly into the driver’s mouth - this is needed because the high temperatures cause them to lose several kilos in sweat during a race.
- Driving slowly in an F1 car is near-impossible. At low speed, the tyres and brakes are cold, providing little grip. Downforce is near non-existent, meaning it is actually easier to corner at 60mph than at 20mph. Engines are also designed for high speed - if the temperature drops too low, the pistons seize inside the cylinders! Hot water is used to warm up the engine before races.