Formula 1 is intense, prestigious, and exciting– and that all comes down to one thing: speed.
F1 teams throw hundreds of millions of dollars to develop the fastest car on the track.
But how fast are F1 cars, and are they the fastest in the world of racing?
Let’s find out.
How Fast Do F1 Cars Go?
An F1 car top speed is approximately 360 km/h.
The record for the highest speed reached in an F1 race is held by Juan Pablo Montoya during the 2005 Italian Grand Prix in Monza, where he hit a top speed of 372.6 km/h.
Although this is the fastest speed set during a race, the fastest speed set with an F1 car is much higher. That record is held by Honda, who took their RA 106– the car with which they competed in the 2006 season– to the Bonneville Salt Flats in the US to try and break 400km/h.
The team was ultimately unsuccessful, but they set a 397.36km/h top speed, making that the fastest F1 car (at least by official numbers).
Did you know: More than 4 million spectators watch F1 races live on the track ( in a year).
How Fast Do F1 Cars Accelerate?
F1 cars accelerate from 0 to 100 km/h in around 2.6 seconds.
This might seem slow given the speed of modern F1 cars, but that speed mainly comes from aerodynamics, which is why these cars can’t unleash their full power from a standing point.
The ‘slow’ acceleration also works in their favor as it helps preserve the tires in the long run for better overall performance.
How Fast Are Modern VS Old F1 Cars?
It’s no secret that modern F1 cars are much faster than the ones that took to the track back in the 1950s.
The classic models back then were heavier, less efficient, and slower. Although their F1 engines were much more powerful, they could only reach a maximum speed of 290 km/h with an acceleration of 0-100 km/h in 4 seconds which is twice as much time.
How Fast Are F1 Cars Compared To Other Racecars?
A powerful engine isn’t the only thing that makes a racecar super fast. Here’s how an F1 car compares to others.
- Top race speed: 360 km/h.
- Acceleration: 0-100 km/h in around 2.6 seconds.
F1 cars are fast, but they aren’t the fastest in the racing world. They are designed to reach peak performance around tracks with tricky corners, which is why F1 teams generally focus on cornering speed– which makes them faster over an entire lap.
What are the F1 car corner speeds?
That depends on the corner. The range between the fastest and slowest corner on F1 tracks around the world is between 50 km/h and 310 km/h.
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- Top speed: 380km/h.
- Acceleration: 0-100km/h in around 3 seconds.
Although F1 cars and IndyCars look very similar at first glance, they are very different when you start to pick them apart.
An IndyCar is much faster than an F1 car on the straights but takes longer to reach that top speed of 380 km/h. The record for the fastest IndyCar was set by Aerie Liyendyk in 1996 when he reached a speed of 381 km/h in a lap time of 2 minutes and 31 seconds,
Still, if you put them on the same track, F1 cars will finish a lap faster than any IndyCar. For example in 2019, at the Circuit of the Americas in Texas, the quickest IndyCar lap was 1:48.018, and the pole position for F1 was 1:32.029.
- Top speed: 363.6km/h.
- Acceleration: 0-100 km/h in around 2.6 seconds.
When it comes to speed, there’s not much competition between the fastest bikes in the world and an F1 car. F1 cars have incredible cornering speed due to aerodynamics and having more rubber on the ground which makes them faster overall.
For example, at the 2018 Austrian Grand Prix, Kimi Räikkönen took his Ferrari around the Red Bull Ring in 1: 06.957. MotoGP’s quickest race lap was 1: 24.312s, recorded by Johann Zarco in 2017.
On the same track, the highest average speed for F1 cars is around 240 km/h and only 182 km/h for MotoGP.
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- Top speed: A little over 348 km/h.
- Acceleration: 0-96km/h in 3.4 seconds.
A fair, side-to-side comparison between a NASCAR and an F1 car is hard because the two have very different structures and are designed for very different tracks.
In terms of speed, F1 cars easily take the win– not only are F1 cars made to reach incredible speeds, including through corners, but they also weigh much less than a NASCAR car. What’s more, NASCAR has been actively restricting top speeds to prevent accidents on the oval-shaped tracks.
This isn’t to say that NASCAR cars aren’t fast– the record for the fastest speed ever at 348 km/h was set by Rusty Wallace in 2004.
- Top speed: 335km/h.
- Acceleration: 0-100km/h in 2.9 seconds.
The main difference between F1 and F2 is that teams in F2 don’t build their own cars– all cars in F2 are exactly the same and the race comes down to circumstances and the drivers’ ability to take the car around the corners.
F1 cars are built individually and are much more powerful.
In F2, Jack Doohan took pole with 1:40.542s or 193.79 km/h.
Also read: How does the safety car work in Formula 1?
- Top speed: 300km/h.
- Acceleration: 0-100km/h in 3 seconds.
DTM– or Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters– is a touring car series based in Germany that visits different tracks in Europe over the course of the seasons, including the popular Spa in Belgium.
In terms of speed, an F1 car is faster than a DTM car, even in wet track conditions.
In 2020 in Spa, the pole position in DTM was set by Robin Frijns with a lap time of 2:05.626. That’s a considerable distance behind Lewis Hamilton’s F1 pole on the same track with 1:41.253 seconds.
- Top speed: 260km/h.
- Acceleration: 0-100km/h in 4.5 seconds.
The World Touring Car Cup – known as the World Touring Car Championship until 2018– is the pinnacle of customer touring car racing.
These cars have either four or five doors, are sold in numbers greater than 5,000 in a year, and have a 2.0- liter turbocharged engine with a power capped at 360 bph.
As such, they are slower than a typical F1 car.
In 2020, WTC’s Esteban Guerrieri took place with a lap time of 2:05.705 at the Hungaroring in wet conditions, at an average speed of 125.5. km/h. The last time F1 had a wet qualifying at the track, Lewis Hamilton took pole with a 1:35.658 lap.
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- Top speed: 325km/h.
- Acceleration: 0-100km/h in 3.2 seconds.
The Super Trofeo is a racing series in which competitors race against each other on different tracks in identical Lamborghini Huracans– which generate 620 hp from their 5.2-liter V10 engine.
There are three different editions of the Super Trofeo in Asia, North America, and Europe, with the World Final culminating at a different circuit every year.
One of those word finals was in Misano, which offered the perfect opportunity to compare the F1 car against the Lamborghini Huracans. The numbers showed that the fastest Lamborghini was more than 33 seconds slower than F1 cars top speed on the same track.
- Top speed: 345km/h
- Acceleration: 0-60 time of 1.9 seconds.
WEC or World Endurance Championship is an auto racing world championship held by Automobile Club de l’Ouest that was split into 4 categories in 2021: Hypercars, LMP2, LMGTE Pro, and LMGTE Am.
Although a WEC car can reach higher speeds faster than an F1 car, it’s no match for it when you take into consideration the F1 car’s cornering speed– the sheer downforce of an F1 car in corners means that it will be much faster in one lap compared to any car that takes part in the WEC.
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- Top speed: 530km/h.
- Acceleration: 0-160 km/h in 0.8 seconds.
If you’re looking for the fastest-accelerating cars, then your best chance of finding them is in the NHRA’s Drag Racing Series– where the highest category is Top Fuel.
These dragsters consume 15 gallons of nitromethane fuel in a matter of seconds thanks to their supercharged, custom-built, 500-cubic-inch engine that boasts 1,000 hp– and are much faster than an F1 car.
Formula 1 cars may not be the fastest in a straight line, but they can easily beat most cars that take part in any regulated racing event around the fastest tracks in the world thanks to their aerodynamic build and cornering speed.
That said, there’s much more to a race than the speed the cars can hit– which is part of the reason why it’s such a popular sport.
What makes F1 cars so fast?
The speed of an F1 car comes down to its aerodynamic design.
How fast are F1 cars around a track?
F1 cars, on average, reach a speed of around 360 km/h on the fastest tracks.
How fast are F1 cars in a straight line?
F1 cars usually reach over 360 km/h on the straights, depending on how long they are (the longer a straight, the higher the speed).