This question was asked to me by a friend the other day. How hard is it driving a Formula 1 car. I almost forgot all about it until I was watching Silverstone 2021. I wondered how many people watch these races but don’t fully understand just how difficult it is to drive these cars. We are going to do our best to answer that question.
Driving an F1 car can be very challenging. You must accelerate fast enough to heat up the brakes as well as the tires. They will not work if they aren’t warm enough. The car won’t break or turn if they aren’t. You also have to be able to handle huge amounts of g-force and still maintain focus to maneuver at high speeds.
This article will provide a comprehensive look into all things F1 car. We are not going to try to explain how difficult it is to drive an F1 car; rather, our goal is to show you why it is so hard. For those who are curious about whether you can get into F1, I have a bonus section. Please continue reading this article.
If you’re looking for some F1 merchandise, check out the awesome stuff at the official F1 store here.
Is it difficult to drive F1 cars?
We will be discussing the experience of driving an F1 car further down in this article. This section will not contain spoilers. But, we must discuss whether F1 vehicles can be difficult to drive. There is a lot to discuss, so let’s jump in.
F1 cars require a lot of technical skills to drive. F1 cars are designed to operate at high speeds and are not comfortable to drive. The car won’t turn well at low speeds, so you’ll struggle to make any turns.
To be able turn, you must be courageous enough to push your car as hard as possible. Once you have mastered the art of driving fast enough, you must maintain your speed while turning around corners. You also need to control the car.
F1 cars use a certain type of braking system. The brakes are made of carbon, which is ineffective below 400 degrees Celcius. At 700 C, the brakes reach their maximum.
If you’re lucky enough to be able to drive in an F1 vehicle, you will experience a lot of spin. This vehicle is very light, but powerful. If you accelerate too quickly in a corner, you will go off the track faster that you can blink.
How does driving an F1 car feel?
To fully understand how difficult it is to drive an F1 car, you should know how it feels to drive one and because we don’t have a vehicle for you to test out well, the best we can offer is to describe it to you. So, let’s get into it.
F1 Cockpits Hot
F1 cars’ cockpits reach temperatures of 122 F (50 C). Then it would help if you considered that you wouldn’t be allowed to drive an F1 car without a proper racing suit. A Nomex balaclava will be worn over your head and a high-quality helmet.
All of these things combined make it really hot even before the race begins. You should also consider the heat from the cars around you as well as the heat on the track during a race. F1 tires can cause a lot of heat on the roads.
F1 drivers are said to lose around 4 lb per race. Because of the heat, F1 drivers lose approximately 4 lb. Extreme G-force increases the amount of stress your body experiences, which also contributes to this weight loss.
F1 Drivers Survive Extreme G-force
G-force is always abbreviated to “Gs.” On earth, we experience 1 G. In a car, you could experience an increase of up to 0.27 Gs. Supercars that can accelerate from 0 to 60 in just 2.7 seconds might allow you to feel an additional 1G. This is approximately 2 Gs. This does not include accidents.
Now that we have that perspective let’s talk about how much G-Force you will experience in an F1 car.
Below is a video of Carlos Sainz experiencing up to 5.5 G’s. Most of us reading this are not scientists, so those numbers might not mean much but let’s try and further put that into perspective.
Most people will be able handle 5 Gs for very short periods. An experienced pilot can sustain nine Gs for up to two seconds. Anything higher would be fatal. You can experience anywhere from 2 to 7 Gs in an F1 car.
F1 Cars Are Hard to Turn
It will be very difficult to turn the car while you’re in it. Firstly, if you are going too slow, the vehicle will slide because of the tires’ lack of traction and grip. Also, it is very difficult to control your car while driving fast.
Fear can prove fatal in F1 cars. You need to be strong enough and focused enough to ensure you are able to take corners safely.
F1 cars don’t offer comfort
You will feel extremely uncomfortable while in an F1 car. It is hot. However, millions of dollars are spent each year to reduce weight.
You will feel uncomfortable while you are in the cockpit. You will feel every bump in the road, and every vibration of engine from your head to your feet. This helps some people stay in tune with their car. However, for others, it can become uncomfortable after 10 minutes.
Are F1 Cars Like Go-Karts?
It’s not surprising that most Formula1 drivers have some go-kart racing experience. Both vehicles are very similar. There are many differences between them, so to claim they are the same is disingenuous.
Handling is the most similarity between a Formula 1 car and a go-kart. The power-to-weight ratio is also significant, although it may not be the same. Both cars feel very fast due to this ratio. The other thing is that the cars are not identical. We can say for sure that if you can’t experience what it feels like to race in a Formula car, try competitive go-karting.
What is the hardest part of driving an F1 car?
It is possible to ask 10 people the same question and get six to seven different responses. It is best to think of it as “what do some people struggle with the most when driving an F1 car”?
Handling the car can be challenging for some. You must drive fast enough to ensure the brakes and tires are working properly. If they aren’t hot enough they won’t do their job. While you are going at high speeds, you need to know how to take corners because if you don’t, you will spin out, and it can be tragic.
For some, it is difficult to stay focused. Although getting the car up and running for them can be simple, it is difficult to maintain focus when driving professionally.
Is it necessary to be fit to drive an F1 Car
This is a common question we are asked. It is a question that we need to answer in two parts. However, it is also an easy answer to a fairly simple question.
Formula1 drivers must be in peak physical and mental condition. The driver must be able to lose and gain weight quickly week in and out.
The driver must be able maintain high g-force in a race. They must also be able and able to endure extreme heat, both from the track as well as the car manufacturers. As we have stated, a driver can lose approximately 4 lbs per race.
Imagine having to deal all this and staying focused. Although winning is important, racing is more than just about winning. Your safety and that of the other drivers is your responsibility. It is possible to lose focus even for a fraction of a second, which can lead to catastrophic results.
How Young do F1 Drivers Start?
It is possible to look at Formula 1 drivers, and feel that they are extremely lucky to be where they currently are. That can be true, but it can also be true that a lot of people cannot afford to send their children to F1 racing.
But we should not forget about the effort and sacrifices these drivers make to get where they are. They start very young and most of them get their start in go-karts. It may seem like fun, but think of it as a seven year old who has to do the exact same thing week after week. It must be very mentally demanding, I am certain.
Below is a list listing the most popular Formula1 drivers and their ages at the time they began.
- Lewis HamiltonHe began go-karting at the age of six. He was racing competitively at the age of eight.
- Lando Norris: Only seven years old, the racing sensation and Twitch streamer began.
- Sebastian VettelHe began at 3 years old, so it’s not surprising that he is a multi-time world champion. He began competing at age 8.
- Max VerstappenMax is very close to becoming the 2021 world champion. He started at 4.
- Kimi Raikkonen: The veteran racer was 11 years old when he started.
This list may seem unbelievable, but it is a good indication of how many years they have been driving in difficult cars and with such a lot of concentration.
Can a regular person drive an F1 car?
You can pay a company called GPexperience around $6,000 to $9,000 to drive an F1 car. It is a steep price, but it begs the question: will you be able to afford it? Yes. A regular person can drive an F1 vehicle on a simple track, provided they are healthy and monitored.
GPexperience also makes a day out of it. They will teach you while you learn and then let you go on your own in go-karts.
A lot of information is required before you can drive an F1 vehicle. A video shows Richard Hammond (a very experienced driver) driving his first F1 car. It is clear to see how difficult he struggles. He also drives cars as a profession.
Is it too late to become an F1 driver?
It is easy to say that it is never too late for something and try to be motivating. While that statement might be technically true, we need to be realistic while, at the same time, we don’t want to squash the dreams of any of our readers.
F1 drivers typically start young. They usually start out in go-karts. You should spend six- to seven years driving competitive go karts before you move up into Grand Prix racing. If you want to make the leap to GP2, then you will need to be very skilled in your go-kart.
You should always do your best to meet your goals, provided you have the resources and the time. You can start by looking for local go-kart races and finding out how to register. It will be easy to see if you have the skills necessary to advance.
Are F1 Cars AWD?
F1 cars do not have front-wheel or all wheel drive. This adds to their difficulty. Rear-wheel drive is the only option. We all know what happens when your back tires are under that much pressure. It is up to the driver to control the front end of the car.
F1 Cars: Manual or Automatic?
F1 cars are not automatic, but you can’t say that they are manual either. An F1 car’s transmission is given a specific name. Before we go into the details, it’s best to consider it a VW DSG system. With that in mind, let’s take a look at the transmission of an F1 car.
F1 drivers shift gears using paddle shifters at the back of their steering wheel. A semi-automatic sequential automatic gearbox is used in F1 cars, so they don’t need a clutch.
This brings us to the conclusion of this article. This article was a lot of fun because we know how difficult it can be to do certain things. F1 is a difficult sport. Additionally, it is a very difficult sport to get into.
It’s also hard off the track, since drivers often spend a lot time being fit. They are then put to the test when they get into the car.