1. Limited time only! Sign up for a free 30min personal tutor trial with Chegg Tutors
    Dismiss Notice
Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Why do F1 car have high horsepower rather than torque?

  1. Aug 7, 2015 #1
    I've heard the analogy that a high torque car is like a bodybuilder, it is powerful but slow.
    And a high horsepower car is like a sprint runner, it runs fast, but not as powerful.

    Considering other factors constant.
    if each tries to ride a bicycle to a certain speed,
    and the runner is given a low gear ratio, while the bodybuilder is given a high gear ratio.
    Wouldn't they both perform similarly?
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 7, 2015 #2


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

    Power is what matters. Power is the rate of doing work. The rider with the most power will win.

    Power = Torque*rotational velocity
    In SI units
    Watts = Newton metres * radians/second (=joules/second)

    Gears, or any other mechanical advantage, can exchange torque for rotational speed or vice versa but power remains constant.
    A cyclist with adequate gearing could produce more torque than a Veyron, but the cyclist still only produces the same pitiful power output he always did.

    This topic has been discussed here at PF more than once, a search will find more info.
  4. Aug 7, 2015 #3


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook