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How Do F1 Drivers Take Corners? (Techniques Explained)

Formula 1 cars are some of the fastest cars in the world. The main factor that allows these cars to become so fast is their cornering ability – thanks to the massive amounts of downforce they have. But how exactly F1 drivers take corners varies, and each driver has their own cornering technique.

F1 drivers take corners in 4 phases: positioning, braking, turn in, and exit. They approach corners at very high speed and press the brake pedal for as little time as possible to maximize speed through the corner. Each F1 driver takes corners in their own unique way depending on their driving style.

There are different types of corners in Formula 1, and each one requires a unique approach. Below, we take a closer look at these different types of corners, and we go into detail about the various ways an F1 driver might approach a specific corner.

How Fast Do F1 Cars Corner?

F1 cars corner incredibly fast, sometimes at speeds close to 190 mph (305 kph). It’s what sets them apart from other cars, and it’s the reason they are the fastest cars on the planet. There is no other car in the world that is capable of cornering faster than a modern Formula 1 car.

But the specific cornering speed all depends on the corner in question. Some corners are taken at around 200 miles per hour (320 kilometers per hour), while the slowest corner on the calendar is taken just 37 mph (60 kph), which is the famous Monaco hairpin.

On average, Formula 1 cars corner at speeds of between 70 mph and 150 mph, or 120-250 kph. Medium to high speed corners are where Formula 1 cars excel because of their downforce, but they certainly aren’t sluggish in slow corners either.

The faster a Formula 1 car travels, the more downforce it produces. Downforce is what allows the car to stick to the tarmac, as the air flowing over the car effectively pushes it into the ground (this is a very simplified explanation of downforce). But there are some other factors to consider as to why Formula 1 cars are capable of such incredible cornering speeds.

Why Are F1 Cars So Fast Around Corners?

F1 cars are so fast around corners for 3 reasons:

  1. High downforce levels
  2. The cars are very light
  3. Grippy, slick tires

High Downforce Levels

The first and main contributing factor to the cornering speeds is the aerodynamics of the cars. Formula 1 cars have been designed to be incredibly aerodynamic, with their bodywork and wings shaping the air flowing over them and forcing the car into the tarmac. This keeps the cars streamlined, but in a way that maximizes downforce.

The Cars Are Very Light

Another important factor is the fact that the cars are so incredibly light. At 798 kilograms (1760 lbs) the current cars are the heaviest in the sport’s history. Nevertheless, they’re still extremely light, which makes them agile and nimble through the corners.

Grippy, Slick Tires

Finally, Formula 1 cars use slick tires. These tires have a flat surface with no grooves, which increases their surface area and the size of the contact patch. More rubber touching the tarmac means more grip for the cars. This allows the cars to corner significantly faster than cars that use grooved tires.

How F1 Drivers Approach Corners

Because there is a range of different corner types in Formula 1, drivers need to adjust their approach to each corner based on the type of corner that they are heading into. Sometimes drivers need to experiment with different racing lines and braking points to find the perfect combination for a specific corner.

Preparing For The Corners

This is one of the main reasons Formula 1 drivers spend a lot of time in the simulator before the race weekend. The simulator gives them a chance to familiarize themselves with the track that they need to tackle. It also gives them the chance to practice each corner and try out different techniques without the risks they would face of doing it during a race weekend.

Drivers also spend a lot of time on track walks before the start of the Grand Prix weekend. During this time, they’ll be analyzing a variety of different factors including the amount of rubber and grip at different points of each corner, the amount of dirt on the track (including loose pebbles and stones), and much more.

The cornering phase is one of the most crucial areas that separates different drivers. There’s a famous quote in motorsport that states: “straights are for fast cars, but corners are for fast drivers.” Different cornering techniques can make a big difference in a driver’s overall speed.

In modern Formula 1, drivers try to corner as smoothly as possible. Turning into the corner with a smooth and confident motion will keep the car balanced and stable throughout the corner and ensure that the driver can go around the corner as fast as possible. It all begins with the positioning phase.

How F1 Drivers Take Corners In 4 Phases

1. Positioning Phase

The positioning phase is when the driver chooses the line they are going to take into the corner. If they’re on a qualifying lap, or driving a normal lap during a race or practice session, they’ll normally take the racing line – i.e. the fastest line through the corner. However, they may need to change their position into the corner if they’re attacking or defending.

If they’re trying to overtake another car, they will generally try to get alongside them on the lead up to the corner and attempt to take the inside line, as this is the shortest way around a corner. However, the defending car will usually get their first, forcing the attacking car around the outside. However, this can vary from corner to corner, with the ideal line being slightly different.

Sometimes the outside line can provide good traction, such as out of Turn 3 at the Red Bull Ring. However, the real advantage of the inside line is that you can guide your opponent to the outside of the track where there is generally less grip – and often gravel and slippery kerbs – to the point where they need to back out of the move.

This makes the positioning phase of a corner extremely important in F1. Without proper positioning, every phase of the cornering process is compromised. The most important of these is the braking phase, as if you’re out of position for that, you may end up losing a lot of time or even going wide off the track, further compromising your turn-in and exit phases.

2. Braking Phase

Drivers will pick their braking points based on their own experience, driving style, car setup and choice of reference point. The braking phase usually involves a hard press of the brake pedal for a minimum amount of time. This allows them to carry maximum speed into the corner.

Drivers must be careful not to lock their brakes, as not only could this send them too deep into the corner, but it could send them into another car if they’re trying to make a move up the inside. Drivers must therefore press the brake pedal hard but in a controlled manner, helping slow the car down rapidly but without unsettling the car or locking up the wheels.

Some corners won’t have a braking phase, such as 130R at Suzuka or many of the turns on the Jeddah circuit. These corners are faster with wider radiuses, allowing the driver to simply keep their foot down on the throttle or only lift off slightly.

3. Turn In Phase

Following the braking phase, the driver will begin to apply as much steering lock as they feel is enough to get around the corner. Applying too little steering lock will cause the car to run wide (understeering), and applying too much will slow the car down, breaking its momentum, and in some cases it could even cause the car to spin as the rear of the car overtakes the front (oversteering).

Corners like hairpins and 90-degree turns put a lot of importance on this turn in phase. You’ll often see an F1 driver make lots of minor corrections in these corners, characterized by jolts of the steering wheel from side to side while remaining in control of the car.

Being smooth with the turn in phase is usually the fastest way to corner, with just one motion of the steering wheel to one side to get the car round the corner, and another single smooth motion to bring the steering wheel back to center on corner exit.

4. Corner Exit Phase

Drivers will hold their steering lock as much as necessary until they hit the apex of the corner. After they have reached the apex – the point at which they are closest to the inside kerb – they will smoothly unwind their steering and begin to accelerate out of the corner, guiding the car back into a straight line.

This smooth acceleration, much like the smooth steering, is absolutely key. If they’re too quick on the throttle, they can easily send the back end out, especially if they’re on a kerb or painted line. If they’re too slow to get on throttle – such as if they have to wait until the car straightens out after a lot of corrections mid-corner – they’ll lose time.

The exit phase is even more important in corners that have a long straight after them. This is because these are the parts of the track in which the cars can get up to their highest speeds, and so if a driver is slower to get going at the start of the straight, they’ll not be able to reach as high a speed towards the end of the straight, leading to lost time against their rivals.

KEY POINTS

• F1 drivers corner in 4 phases: positioning, braking, turn in and exit

• Each of these phases is important, but different corners put more importance on different phases

• If a driver makes an error in one phase, they’ll compromise all of the following phases too

How F1 Drivers Choose Their Braking Zones

The braking zone is one of the most important parts of the corner. F1 drivers need to brake at the perfect moment to get their car slowed down in time for the corner, but if they brake too early they will lose time and there is also the risk of being overtaken by another driver.

Braking is one of the most difficult parts of driving a Formula 1 car. Drivers need to push down on the brake pedal with 160 kilograms of force (350 lbs) which will slow the car down from 200 mph (320 kph) in as little as 4 seconds. The driver will be pulling up to five Gs during this braking phase.

Drivers will often use markers on the side of the track to mark the point at which they want to start braking for the corner. Brake markers don’t necessarily have to be the markers on the side of the track, but they can sometimes be something as obscure as a tree, a shadow on the track, or even a bump in the tarmac that the driver can use as a reference point.

For the most part, F1 drivers will go into the first practice session with some knowledge of where to brake for a corner because of the time they spent in the simulators and on their track walks (and in previous session on the track of course). When they’re in the car, they will start to push their braking points as far as possible – the later you brake in Formula 1 the better.

Last Of The Late Brakers

Braking as late as possible is crucial not only in Formula 1, but in all forms of motorsport. Late braking is something that every driver uses to try and get the edge over their opponents out on the racetrack. Braking later than other cars means that the driver is on the throttle for longer, giving them a couple of tenths over other drivers that brake earlier than them.

Late braking techniques are best used in slower corners such as hairpins, as this is where the driver that brakes the latest will be getting the biggest advantage. The longer the braking zone, the more opportunity there is for a trailing driver to make up time or make an overtake on a car in front.

Braking Too Late

In some cases though, braking too late will compromise the driver’s exit, as the car will be much slower coming out of the corner if it’s not stable and the cornering speed is still too high. This is particularly detrimental if there is a long straight after the corner, as the driver with the best exit will reach the higher top speed on the straight.

Late braking brings a lot of risks. Drivers have a higher chance of locking the brakes and flat spotting their tires. There’s also the risk of braking too late and not being able to slow the car down enough in order to make the corner, in which case the driver will go wide into the grass, gravel, or even into the barriers.

Do F1 Drivers Trail Brake?

F1 drivers do trail brake, although it depends on the specific driver and the specific corner. Trail braking can be the fastest way around a corner, but it depends on many different factors, and the most influential of these will be the driver’s unique driving style.

Trail braking is an effective driving technique that works best in karting. While being popular at grassroots level, the technique is used all throughout motorsport, and even at the level of Formula 1. There are many Formula 1 drivers who still use trail braking to this day – but only for specific corners.

Why Trail Braking Works

Braking in a racing car is the opposite to braking in your average road car. You have to hit the brakes hard at first and then slowly bleed off the brakes. Trail braking is when the driver brakes hard, and then slowly bleeds off the brake while turning into the corner. It’s most effective in 90 degree corners when the driver needs to carry momentum onto the next section of the racetrack.

Trail braking helps the car to shift its momentum during a corner, getting it ready to accelerate onto the next straight. When the car brakes, the weight of the car is moved towards the front. If the car is braking and turning (to the right for example) the weight will shift to the front left tire.

The front left tire is the one that is working the hardest during a right hand turn. This means that putting more weight on it will give it more grip, and thus will give you more bite going through the corner – allowing you to corner at higher speeds. Trail braking helps keep more weight on the front tires through the corner, helping with turning.

While the specifics of the kind of braking an F1 driver may prefer can vary slightly, the use of the brake pedal is largely the same across the grid. The general goal is to brake as hard and as late as possible, but that’s where the similarities often end when considering how F1 drivers corner. Before we discuss specific driving styles though, let’s take a closer look at the types of corners in F1.

Different Types Of Corners In F1

The different types of corners in F1 include:

  • High speed corners
  • Low speed corners
  • Hairpins
  • Chicanes
  • Double apex corners
  • Late apex corners
  • Constant radius turns
  • Variable radius turns

High Speed Corners

High speed corners are just corners that drivers can take at high speed, often without braking or decelerating at all. They are often easier for drivers in terms of their inputs, as it’s as simple as keeping your foot flat on the throttle, turning the steering wheel and hanging on – the most challenging part is the G forces.

Fast corners are used on racetracks to create a “flow.” Tracks need to flow because that’s what Formula 1 is all about – pushing these machines to their absolute limits. Fast corners are where Formula 1 cars thrive, so it’s some of the best places to watch Formula 1 cars too. Drivers can keep their speed very high through these corners, but they still require a lot of skill and bravery.

That said, fast corners don’t help for overtaking. With all the cars going close to or completely flat out through the same corner, it’s rare for one car to be faster than another, which means that there is usually no overtaking through faster corners.

In addition, fast corners are where the dirty air effect is at its worst. Formula 1 cars will be ‘using’ the clean air in order to produce more downforce, which is what they need in order to corner as fast as they do, with the side effect of leaving turbulent air behind them. This causes the cars behind to lose downforce, which can often reduce their cornering speeds and cause them to drop back.

However, we do still see some brave overtakes in these sections of the track, and they’re often the most thrilling to watch. Drivers must be brave to take these corners at as high a speed as possible, and this becomes even more difficult when you’re going wheel to wheel with another driver!

Low Speed Corners

While high speed is a bit of a catch-all term for any corner in F1 that a driver can take at or close to full speed, ‘low speed corners’ is the same kind of term for any corner in which they must be travelling significantly slower than full speed. These include hairpins and chicanes, but they deserve their own sections too, which we’ll get to in a moment.

But low speed corners in general are the ones that require heavy braking zones before them. This means the focus is on braking as late as possible, and nailing the turn in, hitting the apex cleanly, and getting good traction out of the corner. These are often where the most time can be lost or gained over the course of a lap.

Low speed corners, as a result of their heavy braking zones, usually provide the most opportunities for overtaking. Drivers must be late on the brakes into the corner, and someone can always brake a little bit later, allowing them to make a move going into the corner.

Hairpins

Hairpins are usually some of the slowest corners on a racetrack. It’s essentially a 180 degree turn, and the name comes from the corner’s close resemblance to a pin you might put in your hair when looking at it from a bird’s eye view. Hairpin corners are often used to slow the cars down, and this is good for a couple of reasons.

The first reason hairpin corners are great is because they feature heavy braking zones. This means that being faster through this section of the track relies more on the driver’s ability and skills than on the capabilities of the car. They must be able to keep their speed up while controlling the car perfectly, rather than simply keeping the throttle pedal down and hanging on to the car.

Because of their heavy braking zones, hairpins are also sometimes the perfect place for cars to overtake. When overtaking, the attacking car simply needs to get to the inside line and brake as late as they possibly can. Forcing their car to the inside of the track can push the other car wide at the apex of the corner.

However, hairpins are also the ideal place for drivers to pull off a switch back overtake. The slow cornering speeds means that if they can get their car slowed down faster than the car they are overtaking, they can easily switch from the outside to the inside and accelerate away out of the corner.

But some hairpins, like the Fairmont hairpin in Monaco, are so tight and slow that overtaking is effectively impossible! This is not always the case, but regardless of the overtaking opportunities, these are key corners drivers must get right if they want to get the best lap time.

Chicanes

Chicanes are some of the most challenging corners to get right. A chicane is a corner that has a fast change of direction right in the middle of it, and is therefore effectively two corners in one.

For example, the first part of the chicane might go left, and right after the apex of the corner it suddenly turns to the right, leaving the car pointing the same way as when it entered the first part of the chicane.

Chicanes are challenging because there are different angles drivers can take to approach these corners. Driving over the kerbs as much as possible is a viable strategy, and often it works best. However, if the driver takes too much kerb there is the risk of losing time or damaging the car, or missing the corner completely.

Chicanes can sometimes present overtaking opportunities, but only if the overtaking car is much faster than the defending car. Because of the change of direction in the middle of the corner, chicanes can often allow a defending driver to position their car in a way that blocks the attacking car from completing the overtake.

Traditionally, a chicane has two apexes (essentially two corners and one change of direction). However, one of the most famous chicanes, the “Singapore Sling,” has three apexes with two changes of direction. The famous Singapore Sling was eventually removed from the track as drivers tended to just steam their way over the kerbs rather than turning through the chicane.

Double Apex Corners

Double apex corners are fairly rare in F1, but they can catch drivers out sometimes. The final corner at the Hockenheimring (not currently on the calendar) is a double apex, and it requires the driver to effectively turn the car into the same corner twice in order to get through it.

There are also some examples of turns with more than 2 apexes. Turn 8 at the Istanbul Park circuit in Turkey is a good example of this (again, not currently on the calendar). It has either 3 or 4 apexes, depending on who you ask, and it’s taken flat out. This makes it an incredibly challenging corner for F1 drivers!

Late Apex Corners

The first corner at the Shanghai International Circuit is an example of a very unique corner. The long, drawn out corner requires the driver to take a late apex. Late apex corners are challenging for drivers, and they require the driver to be incredibly patient on the brakes while coaxing their car into the corner.

Constant Radius Turns

Constant radius turns are those with a fairly constant radius, meaning there is some symmetry through the corner. The driver might take the corner at a fairly similar angle to that which they exit the corner. These can often be taken at quite high speed, and they are fairly predictable in terms of both the speed at which the driver takes them and the amount of steering lock required.

Variable Radius Turns

Variable radius turns can be increasing or decreasing, and this is referring to the corner either getting wider as the driver travels through it or getting tighter. This affects the speed at which each corner can be taken, as more or less braking/throttle is required, along with changing amounts of steering lock through the corner. A simple way to think of these corners is as follows:

  • Increasing radius – gets faster as you go through it
  • Decreasing radius – gets slower as you go through it

What Affects How F1 Drivers Corner?

The things that affect how F1 drivers corner include:

  • Type of corner
  • Attributes of the corner
  • Driving style
  • The car
  • Track conditions
  • Stage of the race

Type Of Corner

The types of corners discussed above are the most common in F1. Which of these a driver is faced with will determine how they approach the corner. For low speed corners, the braking zone is going to be longer and more intense than for a high speed corner for example, and so this will affect how the driver takes the corner.

Attributes Of The Corner

The attributes of the corner include things like the camber, width, and elevation of the corner. On camber turns, like the banked corners at Zandvoort, almost help guide the car round the corner, which can make them easier to take at higher speeds. Off camber turns, like Rivage at Spa, almost try to push the car off the track, making understeer very common, and drivers often must fight the car.

The width of the track through the corner affects how the driver will corner as it affects their racing line. It will also affect their cornering approach in the race as wider corners present more overtaking opportunities, while narrow ones mean drivers may need to back out of moves more often to avoid a collision.

Finally, the elevation changes through the corner will greatly affect how the driver takes them. A classic example of this is the Eau Rouge/Raidillon combination at Spa. This begins with a steep descent into the kink followed by a rapid ascent up Raidillon. The rapid change in elevation affects the car’s balance, and it also affects how much downforce it has.

If a corner is downhill, the driver also needs to brake earlier (if they need to brake for the turn at all) to compensate for the increased tendency for the car to want to keep going forwards down the hill. If the braking zone is on an upslope, the driver can brake later, allowing gravity to do some of the work.

Driving Style

The driver’s preferred driving style also affects how they corner. Some are very smooth drivers, with smooth use of the throttle, brake, and steering wheel to gracefully take each corner. Others are more aggressive, able to extract more speed out of the car by taking more kerb or a more aggressive braking point and racing line.

The Car

The car itself (as in the team-specific car) will largely affect how fast they can corner and which racing line they may take, purely as a result of the attributes of the car’s power and aerodynamics. However, the car setup (i.e. the way the car has been set up for that track specifically) will also affect how the driver approaches corner.

High downforce setups allow them to take corners faster in most cases, while if they’re set up for straight-line speed they may need to be more cautious. This aspect of cornering will vary from race to race, and even from corner to corner when you consider they can change things like brake bias and the differential using buttons and switches on their steering wheel.

Track Conditions

The track conditions have an effect on how F1 drivers take corners, as if it’s wet, for example, they will need to take a different racing line, travel slower, and often brake for longer than in the dry. They also might need to avoid the kerbs as they could be very slippery.

The temperature of the track also plays a part, as if they need to save tires in a hot climate (hotter temperatures usually lead to faster tire wear) they may need to be less aggressive than usual. The track surface, whether it’s abrasive or smooth, can also affect how an F1 driver approaches any given corner.

Stage Of The Race

Finally, F1 drivers will approach corners in different ways at different stages of the race. At the start, the cars are loaded up on fuel, making them heavier and less nimble, and so cornering may require more ‘smoothness’ than towards the end of the race when the fuel load is low and they can be more aggressive.

The driver will also switch up their cornering strategy if they’re trying to overtake or defend, altering their racing line and their braking points. Outside of the race itself, drivers might take a more aggressive racing line in qualifying than they do on Sunday in order to fight for pole, and in Free Practice they might try a variety of different cornering approaches to see what works best.

How Different F1 Drivers Corner

Once the driver has slowed their car down enough, they will begin to release the brakes and steer their car into the corner. When it comes to taking corners, each driver is unique, using different elements and techniques to get their car around the corner in the fastest way possible.

This is known as a “driving style.” While there is a lot more to a driving style than just steering (there’s also braking and accelerating) the main element that we can physically see, and the part that has a big impact on the driver’s driving style, is the steering. A driving style is like a fingerprint for a racing driver.

Various Different Driving Styles

Essentially what that means is that no two drivers have the same driving style. It might seem strange, but it’s impossible for two different drivers to drive a car in the exact same way. While there might be similarities between two drivers, there will always be some elements that they incorporate into their driving style differently.

A driver’s driving style is more about how they “feel” the car and react to the way the car behaves. As humans are unique in almost every way, each driver will have their own feeling for a car and how they need to keep control over it. Therefore, the best way to learn how F1 drivers take corners is to use some famous examples of different driving styles.

Smooth Driving Styles

The first type of driving style is a smooth driving style. Jenson Button is best known for this driving style, and it’s when the driver uses their steering wheel as gently and smoothly as possible. In other words, turning into the corner in one motion, and turning out of it again in a second motion, with minimal need to fight the car.

Smooth drivers usually prefer a car that understeers. This is when the rear of the car has more grip than the front of the car. Having a more understeer-focused setup allows these drivers to keep the car under control at all times, and it prevents the back of the car from stepping out and sending the car into a power slide.

There are many benefits to being a smoother driver. The first is that the tires take a lot less punishment when the driver is smoother. With just one fluid motion of the steering wheel, there’s a lot less friction between the surface of the tires and tarmac, causing them to remain at a consistent temperature and wear out much slower.

There’s a misconception that smooth drivers are considered slower than others, and that’s simply not the case, as World Champion Jenson Button proved in 2009. Modern Formula 1 cars require drivers to be much smoother, which is why it’s sometimes difficult to pick out these drivers from the crowd.

Jenson Button

Jenson Button is the best example of a smooth driving style. His style was to gently guide the car through corners with one smooth turn of the steering wheel into the corner and after the apex to smoothly turn the steering wheel back into the straight position.

Button’s smooth driving style helped him to save tires and fuel, which helped him to excel right when refueling was banned from the sport in 2010, and when the cars moved onto the higher wearing Pirelli tires.

Michael Schumacher

The seven-time world champion and Ferrari legend had a driving style that set him apart from the competition in the early 2000s. While the majority of drivers were aggressively wrestling their cars around the track, Schumacher was trying to be as smooth as possible.

Schumacher’s style was to carefully balance and blend his braking, steering, and acceleration during cornering, which worked exceptionally well with the 2000s era of cars. When studying telemetry between Schumacher and his teammates, there was a distinct difference in how smooth he was on the throttle, allowing the tires to grip as he accelerated out of corners.

Aggressive Driving Styles

At the other end of the spectrum you get the lively and flamboyant driving style – your Max Verstappen and Ayrton Senna type of driving. These drivers will drive the wheels off the car, often wrestling the cars into corners and forcing it to comply with what they want it to do, in order to go as fast as possible.

Aggressive drivers like their cars to be lively, on the edge, and almost out of control. The faster it feels like they are driving, the better. These drivers prefer a lot more oversteer on their cars (pointy front end where the rear loses grip first). This can often cause these drivers to power slide and drift out of some corners when things go wrong.

Aggressive driving styles are often much faster than others, but they do come with a lot of drawbacks at the same time. The drivers tend to wear out their tires faster, they use more fuel, and their cars can even be prone to more mechanical failures due to how they are being driven.

These drivers also tend to be able to take more risks when it comes to overtaking because of how their cars have been set up. They feel confident going into the corner that they will come out ahead of the car in front. When it comes to Formula 1 though, this driving style clearly works, with many excellent examples of drivers using aggression successfully in the sport.

Ayrton Senna

Ayrton Senna had a unique driving style that is completely different from anything that has ever been seen before. Senna was extremely aggressive with his steering and throttle inputs, which would make the car “dance” through corners as it searched for grip on the tarmac.

This driving style worked perfectly with the 1980s and 1990s era cars, which is why he was exceptionally fast too. Senna had a way of feeling for grip in his car which was simply unmatched by any of his rivals, making him one of the fastest drivers in terms of pure pace on track.

Max Verstappen

The young Dutchman won the 2021 World Championship, but he’s never (massively) adapted his driving style. From day one, his approach has been an aggressive and head-on style, much like Ayrton Senna.

Verstappen has one of the best “senses” when it comes to feeling the car and how much grip is available. Instead of approaching the corner the same way each lap, he brakes a bit earlier and feels for the amount of grip he has, and then attacks the corner depending on how much the car can handle.

Unique Driving Styles

While it’s easy to categorize drivers into either smooth or aggressive driving styles, there have been some bizarre driving styles over the years. It becomes difficult to categorize these driving styles, but ultimately it also comes down to the car that is being driven.

For example, Ayrton Senna confused the Formula 1 world with his throttle technique during cornering when driving the 1992 McLaren. The Brazilian would blip the throttle coming out of corners, seemingly waiting for the perfect moment to fully accelerate. It was later revealed that the blown diffuser was the main reason for this strange technique, illustrating how the car itself affects cornering.

Fernando Alonso

Fernando Alonso is another example of someone with a unique steering style. During the mid 2000s, Alonso would steer aggressively in the middle of the corner, almost fighting the car to listen to him, which was unusual for the time. However, this steering technique worked well with his car and the tires that were being used during the era and it won him two World Championships.

However, he’s another driver that has had to adapt his driving style as the hybrid era started. Alonso is now much smoother and more gentle when it comes to steering the car, but he’s still got that sense of aggression in his cornering approach.

Lewis Hamilton

Lewis Hamilton has an incredible driving style which has won him seven world titles. The Brit’s strong point is adaptability. During the late 2000s, he preferred a car with a lot of oversteer as he would use an aggressive driving style to get the most out of his car, which worked well at the time.

As the rules of the sport changed and the cars moved to hybrid power, Hamilton adapted his driving style to become smoother, which is the best way to drive modern Formula 1 cars. His adaptability and ability to ‘feel’ better than anyone else is what has helped him to become such a successful driver, especially in the wet, which are conditions in which he has dominated in the past.

Sergio Perez

Sergio ‘Checo’ Perez has only gotten better with age. While his initial years in the sport were fairly average, he truly excelled with Racing Point and has rightfully earned himself a Red Bull contract – a team notorious for taking on young drivers early in their careers.

His driving style has turned heads as he was able to make his tires last much longer than other drivers. Checo has an exceptional feeling for the tires and the track surface, so he is able to drive his car just underneath the limit of where the tires are wearing too much while keeping his speed up.

Final Thoughts

F1 drivers generally approach corners at very high speed and press hard on the brake pedal for as little time as possible to maximize speed through the corner. Each F1 driver takes corners in their own unique way depending on their driving style. Some drivers are smooth and some are more aggressive.