Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Formula 1

  1. Nov 3, 2003 #1
    Been brought to my attention in another topic, so just how is it that technologies suck as traction control make a formula 1 car harder to drive?

    This is directed at Mr Robin Parsons, but obviously anyone can join in.
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 3, 2003 #2
    The traction control means you can corner a lot faster. The faster you go the harder it is for your reflexes to keep up.
  4. Nov 3, 2003 #3
    But it makes it easier because you reflexes dont need to keep up, the car controls the power that it uses, to corner. I have had my foot all the way down to the the floor in a mercedes with traction control and the car didnt let anything step out of place. A much more advanced system works on F1 cars and saves the drivers alot of work.
  5. Nov 3, 2003 #4


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    It migth be harder physicaly to cut corner faster. G-force is probaly a bit higher plus the pilots goes into apnea during the turn.

    Anyway, the technologies help the pilots. You have to look the difference between the top race team (Ferrari, McLaren and Williams) pilots and the medium race team (Renault, BAR). Jacque Villeneuve is one the best pilot and could compete against Michael Schumacher anyday if they have the same car. Some drivers in the top race team are average. Barrichelo and Coulthard are the best example.

    But lets not forget that they are the 20 best car drivers.
  6. Nov 3, 2003 #5


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

    Well, in a way its true. And F1 car is nothing like your typical car and its characteristics are very different. However, once you've learned how to drive it, it is probably the easiest car to drive. Actual racing them, on road courses would definetly be difficult, require extreme amounts of practice and skill. F1 is in no way comparable to something like Nascar, where anyone with a lead foot can race.

    Compare an F1 car to a Nascar, which can be said to be similar to a street car, only mad horses. Anyways, if you've ever seen the in car view of a Nascar, you'll notice that even on the easy oval courses, they're fighting the car almost constantly. Plus leaning to the left (either lower on the left, or higher on the right) to ease taking the corners makes it rather difficult to go strait.

    Now, if you get in an F1 car and try to drive it like you would a camaro, your going to run into problems. A F1 car is a jet with wheels. You don't get in a Blackbird and fly it the same way you would a Sesna. Once you overcome the difference, the cars basically drive themselves.

    I mean, a car that can do triple digits through a 90 degree turn is incredible. If your average Joe Driver hopped into one and tried to do such a thing, he'd probably run off the track and crash the wall.

    I'll probably get stoned again for making such a suggestion, but check out GT 3 (Gran Turismo) on the ps2. It is a highly accurate game, and has a few F1 cars to play with. Try out the Nissan R390GT (Possibly one of the best handling regular race cars on the game/in the world) and then do the same track with the F094/s F1 car. You'll notice a huge difference in lap time, ease of cornering, braking, etc.

    Look at the design of an F1 car. Everything about it is concerned with handling. Instead of producing lift, like a jet, it is shaped to produce downforce to hold it to the road. Also, it is basically a 4 wheeled engine, with a place for a driver and luxurys like steering wheels. The outer shell itself weighs next to nothing. Power to weight ratio has got to be amazing. Add traction control, and you've got a vehicle that can make you question your understanding of physics.

    So, if my opinion means anything, I'd have to say yes due to the learning curve, but no due to the technology that makes up and F1 car.
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook