For many years Formula 1 cars have been praised as the fastest cars on the planet. Their incredible cornering speeds and rapid acceleration means that they are always admired as technological marvels in the automotive world. Many fans may therefore wonder if there is anything faster than an F1 car.
There is nothing faster than an F1 car in terms of their cornering speed. However, there are many cars that can beat a Formula 1 car in terms of straight-line speed and acceleration. However, over the course of a lap the F1 car would be fastest because of the immense grip and downforce it has.
Formula 1 cars are incredibly fast when it comes to cornering because of the downforce they can generate. However, this downforce also gives them a disadvantage in terms of their top speed which a few supercars can beat. Below, we discuss these ideas in more detail.
Are F1 Cars The Fastest Cars In The World?
F1 cars have long been considered the fastest cars in the world. They accelerate quickly and have a high top speed. However, it’s their high downforce and grip levels that make Formula 1 cars so special when compared to other high-performance cars, allowing them to complete a lap much faster.
What makes a Formula 1 car unique is the incredible amount of downforce that they are able to produce at high speeds. This might cost them some top-end speed, but it allows them to corner incredibly fast, much faster than any other car.
Formula 1 cars can sometimes corner at 190 miles per hour, which is about double the speed that you would be able to take the same corner in other high-performance cars. This is mainly due to their wings and ride height, among other downforce generating components, which would be illegal on a road car.
What Makes A Formula 1 Car So Fast?
Formula 1 teams have poured years of technological advancements, research, and development into their cars. This means that the cars you see on your TV screen are the most advanced pieces of automotive engineering in the world.
Formula 1 engineers have an immense understanding of aerodynamic principles that allows them to build cars that almost defy the laws of physics. In theory, a Formula 1 car produces so much downforce that it could drive upside down through a tunnel!
Formula 1 engineers have also designed the most efficient car engines. The current 1.6-liter V6 turbo hybrid engines might seem small, but they manage to produce over 1000 horsepower and are able to complete a 190 mile race with less than 30 gallons of fuel in their tank.
Which Formula 1 Car Is The Fastest?
We’ve seen some magical Formula 1 cars over the years. However, it becomes extremely difficult to compare these cars as each year has unique rules and regulations in play that the teams need to adhere to.
For example, the Ferrari F2004 is considered to be the most successful and fastest car ever used in Formula 1. However, it’s difficult to compare this car to the incredibly fast cars that we see today as the F2004 had to use grooved tires rather than slick tires, which can slow the car by a couple of seconds per lap.
Modern day Formula 1 cars have been breaking lap records that have stood for decades, which shows just how fast these machines have become. We’ve also seen the fastest top speed in the history of the sport and the fastest average speed across a lap in the history of the sport, both within the turbo-hybrid era.
Will Formula 1 Cars Be Faster In The Future?
With the speed of Formula 1 cars gradually increasing over the past few years, it is almost certain that the cars will continue on this trajectory in the future. As the engineers learn more about their cars they are able to find new ways to gain extra speed and produce even faster lap times.
Formula 1 is constantly updating their rules and regulations, which sometimes hampers the overall speed of the cars. This is why we’ll never truly see a Formula 1 car that is as fast as the engineers can possibly build it to be.
There are always limits put on the cars to promote the drivers’ safety and to help increase the level of competition in the sport. Formula 1 cars might become faster in the future as the safety of the sport increases, and they will remain the fastest cars in the world for a long time.
What Is The Top Speed Of An F1 Car?
The top speed of an F1 car in a race is usually around 210 mph. The highest top speed of an F1 car during a race was 231.5 mph, set by Valtteri Bottas in Mexico in 2016. Juan Pablo Montoya hit a speed slightly higher than this in 2005, although it appears to have been during testing and not a race.
The top speed of an F1 car depends on the set-up it is running. Formula 1 teams will set up their cars to suit the type of circuit they are racing on. For example, on a circuit with long straights the car will be set up to reach a higher top speed. However, on shorter circuits like Monaco, we’ll see cars designed for more grip and downforce, rather than top-end speed.
Juan Pablo Montoya In 2005
The top speed of an F1 car is a hotly debated topic. There are multiple contenders, with the Guinness World Records website stating that it belongs to Juan Pablo Montoya at the Italian Grand Prix in 2005, where he supposedly reached a top speed of 372.6 kph, or 231.52 mph. However, finding official data from the time is tough, and many suggest this speed was actually set during testing.
Valtteri Bottas In 2016
Valtteri Bottas’ alleged top speed of 372.54 kph at the 2016 Mexico Grand Prix (231.49 mph) would therefore stand as the highest top speed in an F1 race, although it is not officially recognized by the FIA. He also supposedly hit 378 kph, or 234.9 mph, during qualifying for the Azerbaijan GP in 2016. Again, this is not recognized by the FIA, and it wasn’t during the race.
Honda In 2006
However, the highest top speed ever recorded by a Formula 1 car was 397.36 kph, or 246.9 miles per hour, set by a Honda on the Bonneville salt flats in Utah in 2006. The car was set up to achieve the highest speed possible, with the team even removing the rear wing entirely to reduce downforce on the car. They also managed one run of 413.21 kph, or 256.75 mph.
Which Supercars Are Faster Than F1 Cars?
In terms of top speed, there are a few supercars that can beat a Formula 1 car in a straight line. These cars are often built specifically to reach a high top speed, which means that a Formula 1 car will likely accelerate faster and be much faster through corners, and therefore much faster over the course of a lap.
5 road-legal supercars that are faster than a Formula 1 car are:
- McLaren F1 – 241 mph
- Bugatti Veyron – 253 mph
- Bugatti Chiron – 261 mph
- Hennessy Venom GT – 270 mph
- Koenigsegg Agera RS – 278 mph
These cars have been designed to be streamlined and as aerodynamically efficient as possible. They were designed with the goal of reducing drag, which is why most of them have a ‘teardrop’ body shape. Note that some modified versions of these cars have hit higher top speeds, with the Bugatti Chiron famously topping the 300 mph mark, but you wouldn’t see that version on the road!
However, this reduction in drag reduces their cornering ability, and overall they would not be able to keep up with a Formula 1 car in the corners. Formula 1 cars also have a much better power to weight ratio than these cars, which allows them to accelerate faster in most cases too.
Formula 1 cars have inconsistent 0-60 mph times because they do not have traction control, varying between 1.7 and 2.6 seconds. This means that the amount of grip that the rear tires can get varies greatly with each launch.
Here are the same cars compared to a Formula 1 car in 0-60 mph time:
- McLaren F1 – 3.2 seconds
- Bugatti Veyron – 2.6 seconds
- Bugatti Chiron – 2.4 seconds
- Hennessy Venom GT – 2.4 seconds
- Koenigsegg Agera RS – 2.8 seconds
Can Anything Lap Faster Than An F1 Car?
Nothing can lap faster than an F1 car. Although there are some supercars that are able to hit higher top speeds, lap time is made up in the corners. F1 cars simply produce so much downforce that they can corner at much higher speeds even than other open wheelers like IndyCars.
An F1 car’s massive cornering advantage allows it to lap much faster than any other car. The overall downforce that the car produces allows it to have a huge amount of grip on the corners, which means that it could easily end up being a couple of seconds faster than any other car over the course of a lap.
Even MotoGP bikes are slower across a lap, and they are able to accelerate faster and hit a higher top speed than a Formula 1 car due to their lighter weight. Overall, the cornering speeds make a big difference in the lap times. Even IndyCar laps the Circuit of the Americas (COTA) around 12 seconds slower than F1, and they can reach much higher top speeds.
Is The Porsche 919 Hybrid Faster Than An F1 Car?
The Porsche 919 Hybrid is not faster than an F1 car. While it did briefly hold the record for the fastest lap around the Spa circuit in Belgium, it was knocked off the top spot by Mercedes F1 team the following year.
The only cars that can come close to a Formula 1 car are the LMP1/Hypercar category of the World Endurance Championship. These two cars are often very closely matched in terms of lap times, and the Porsche 919 Hybrid set the lap record at Spa in 2018, taking it away from Formula 1. However, the following year Mercedes reclaimed the title of fastest car at Spa.
F1 cars are the fastest cars in the world. There are some cars with higher top speeds, but due to their high levels of downforce and grip, F1 cars are much faster across an entire lap. The only cars that come close to the speed of Formula 1 cars over a lap are LMP1/Hypercars in the WEC.