What makes Formula 1 car so Fast?


Victor Chakraborty

4/3/20234 min read

Speed is something that everyone who loves having adrenaline rush loves it. When it comes to high speed car chase formula 1 racing has always been a fan favourites for many. Some of these formula 1 grand prix often brings crowd as huge as in number of hundred of thousands. With some world class race car makes taking part in this event and some of the best drivers of the world driving at a speed as high as 300 kmph an hour this event in modern days still has barely seen any fatal incidents. Why? (we will discuss this in our next article) Also what makes these amazing beautiful looking cars so fast? We will get deeper into this engineering wonder in this article


Formula 1 cars are made with carbon alloys which males them extremely light compared to other alloys that can be used in the market to make a car. The use of carbon alloy also gives a aerodynamical advantage as carbon being light creates far less air resistance than other objects which in turn gives great speed to the car


In our school days we studied the relation between pressure and surface area. If surface area of an object is less it creates more pressure whereas if the surface area is more it creates lesser pressure. For a formula 1 car to run faster its important that the pressure be reduced and the friction between the car tyres and the racing circuit be reduced hence tyres have a bigger surface area which creates lesser pressure, lesser friction and in return more speed.


FORCE in this scenario will be the multiplied sum of the mass of the car and the pull of the gravity of earth ( 9.8 Newton pull for every 1 kilogram mass )

Surface area here will be the total surface area of all the 4 tyres of the car touching the ground. When you divide them you get the pressure the cars are applying and you will see its much lesser compared to our average cars. This is what makes the formula 1 cars so much faster, but also riskier, much on it little later in this article


We often use the term “Horse power” when it comes to measuring the power of an object that runs in electricity or any other power units. Weight to power ratio means how much power the car is being generating on per gram/pound of weight. For a normal street racing car like Ferrari SF 90 the average weight is around 1600 Kilograms. The horse power the car generates is around approx 990 HP.

So the ratio of the HP/mass will be around= 990/1600 = 0.61 HP/ Kilogram

Now lets calculate the HP/mass ratio of a formula one car. For the fan following and my personal love for Formula 1 i will take the mass of Red Bull RB 19 2023 Formula 1 car. The car weighs around= 798 Kilograms . Power of the Red Bull RB19 car = 1080 Horsepower

Horsepower/Mass ratio will be = 798/1080= 0.73 HP/ kilogram. This extra power per kilogram advantage gives a formula 1 car extra speed over any other luxurious racing cars.





We all love to ride our cars and bikes but we barely understand the simple engineering and chemistry behind the functioning of a Engine. A engine in presence of air starts to burn itself and when it burns the exothermic energy created in it creates the energy for the chemical energy to be converted here into mechanical energy. Remember anything that burns under oxygen generates heat and gives energy. Any engine of any vehicle acts in the same fashion. If the Chemistry of exothermic reaction doesnt occur inside the engine then your car will never run.

In case of a V6 Turbocharged engine there is something more extra than a normal engine. In turbocharged engine there is a device that forces more air and compresses them into the engine chamber. With more air comes more oxygen and with more oxygen the combustion of the engine becomes more and the more it burns the more energy it generates creating a massive downforce of energy from the exhaust gases which leads to super speed for these cars


Every time a engine runs it generates heat. Some of these heat is used for energy while the rest of the heat comes out of the car, but imagine a device that somehow forces the heat coming out of the car to be trapped inside for a little while to create more efficient energy? Well that is what the heat recovery unit in a formula 1 car does. This heat which gets forced to be inside the car which was in other case would have been a waste heat creates more energy output for the car and increases its efficiency, hence increases its speed


Its very easy to notice how the front part of a formula 1 car looks more like a aeroplan. This narrow nosed structure gives a classic aerodynamical advantage to a formula 1 car. This structure reduces the air resitance and in turn creates a force that helps the cars to run faster The low, flat and wide design of F1 cars is designed to decrease air resistance, which would otherwise slow the car down as the drivetrain fights against the strain of surrounding air and every single surface of the car is designed to manage airflow to maintain speed and stability.

The downforce generated by formula 1 car can go to as high as 3G. Which means 3 times the gravitational pull of Earth. This helps increase the acceleration due to gravity which gives extra speed advantage to the car. This though is very uncomfortable for the driver driving the car because so often the high speed of a formula 1 car means a pressure of several Gs in a driver which means he will feel his weight increase inside the cockpit of the car by several times.

To make it more interesting suppose you are a Formula 1 driver driving a car and your weight is around 60 Kilograms and the downforce its creating is around 3G which means as a driver you will feel yourself 3 times more than your weight. You will feel in this case your weight to be around 3* 60 = 180 Kilograms.

So nevertheless the struggles lets admire the brilliant sport this is. Lets admire the drivers and the legends in them.

Ferrari 2023 F1 car. Source- The Economic times