How Fast Does a Formula 1 Car Accelerate and Decelerate?

When designing a racecar, acceleration and straight-line speed aren’t as important as they might seem unless you’re participating in drag racing. Formula 1 races are very fast, so cornering speed and handling is more important than winning.

We will be discussing how fast Formula 1 cars can accelerate or decelerate. Also, we’ll discuss how these cars manage to achieve such impressive performance statistics. 

What is the fastest Formula 1 car can accelerate?

Formula 1 cars can accelerate from 0 in a very quick manner, but they are not as fast as you might think. Formula 1 cars currently on the market can accelerate between 0 and 100 km/h in just 2.6 seconds.

Although it is faster than most road cars, it’s still fast compared with other types of race car. MotoGP bikes, for example, can reach speeds of 100 km/h and there are other types that can easily beat Formula 1 cars in a sprint of 0-100 (these include Top Fuel dragsters, LMP1 cars and WRC cars).  

Formula 1 cars, however, are almost unbeatable in terms of their acceleration times of 100-200 km/h. Formula 1 cars can accelerate to 100 km/h at a speed of 2.6 seconds, while Formula 1 cars can reach 200 km/h at a speed of 4.5 seconds.

Formula 1 cars can reach speeds of 100-200 km/h within 1.9 seconds. This is faster that what almost every other car except a dragster can do.  

Formula 1 cars are very fast in terms of top speed, compared to many other race cars. At the 2016 Mexican Grand Prix, Valtteri Bottas set 372.5 km/h (231.14 mph) as the fastest Formula 1 car.

But, the fastest Formula 1 car ever went is 397.3 km/h (246.9mph), which Honda did in 2005 at Bonneville Salt Flats using their race car RA106.

Fair enough, however, the car was modified in multiple ways to increase its speed. The most notable modifications were to use special tires and to remove its rear wing to reduce drag.   

How fast can a Formula 1 car accelerate?

Formula 1 cars can accelerate at a very impressive speed, but it is even more impressive how fast they can stop at top speed. 

Formula 1 cars can accelerate from 100-0 km/h to 0 in 15 seconds when they are fully braking. Compare that with the McLaren Senna’s brake distance. This hypercar is track-focused and purpose-built. It takes the Senna 40 meters to stop from 0 to 0.  

Formula 1 cars can stop from 100 to 0 in 1.5 seconds. These cars brake at such high speeds that drivers often feel a ridiculous amount of g force during braking.

In fact, drivers can feel forces of up to 5.5 g when braking at high speeds such as the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, Montreal. Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes driver, stated that the g force was literally pulling his eyes out.

How do Formula 1 Cars Accelerate & Decelerate so Quickly?

Formula 1 cars can achieve the performance figures because of their engineering and design. Let’s examine the engine, transmission and brakes, which are the key components to Formula 1’s acceleration-braking ability.


All Formula 1 teams use the same engine since 2014: a 1.6-liter turbocharged, turbocharged V6. Although they don’t move a lot of volume, Formula 1 engines are extremely powerful for their size. Currently, Formula 1 engines produce around 850 horsepower.

Formula 1 engines have a low torque output despite the fact that they produce high horsepower. At 16,000 rpm, it produces only 260 lb-ft. Formula 1 cars do not accelerate as fast as other race cars. However, a high torque figure is great for acceleration.

Formula 1 cars have low torque figures due to their extremely oversquare engines, which have high bore/stroke ratios. The engine can rev very quickly, which makes it more efficient for high-end power. However, it has a shorter stroke.

Formula 1 engines aren’t very torque-y, but the cars don’t weigh much, so it’s not necessary to have a high torque figure in order to get a Formula 1 car going.  


Another important part of a Formula 1 car is its transmission. It has a significant impact on its acceleration characteristics. All Formula 1 cars must use the same gearbox since 2014. It is an 8-speed semiautomatic sequential gearbox.

A semi-automatic transmission is a gearbox that partially automates shifting. Formula 1 drivers shift through gears using two paddles on their steering wheels. The left paddle downshifts and the right one goes up. Semi-automatic Formula 1 transmissions do not have a clutch.

Sequential means that drivers cannot shift up or back to the gear immediately next to their current one. This is contrary to true manuals which drivers can theoretically go through all the gears in any order (e.g. you could move from 1st gear up to 3rd or 6th gear if you so desired).


The brakes are the primary component of a Formula 1 vehicle that slows it down. Formula 1 brakes are quite impressive. They’re made of carbon composites which allows them to withstand extreme heat without losing effectiveness. Formula 1 brakes are capable of operating at temperatures as high as 1,000 degrees Celsius.

They can be used at such high performance levels and are made of better materials. However, brakes in Formula 1 cars are generally the same as those in average commuter cars.