Formula 1 is the world’s most popular motorsport series. It’s also one of the fastest, with top speeds going well over 200 miles per hour at times.
But how fast do F1 cars go? What are the fastest tracks in F1? How fast can other race cars go? Here’s everything you need to know about Formula 1 car speed, acceleration, and track records.
Learn in This Article
- Top Speed of Formula 1 Cars
- Average Speed
- F1 Car Acceleration
- Fastest F1 Tracks
- Velocity in Other Racing Categories
How Fast Do F1 Cars Go
An average F1 car can hit a top speed of 200–220 miles per hour (322–354 km/h), not unaided by the DRS concept since it was introduced in 2011. That’s quick enough to cover a mile in less than 10 seconds. But not every track is created equal, which means that each track has its top speed record in F1—and it also has its unique characteristics that affect how fast a Formula 1 vehicle will go there.
The official highest average lap speed record of an F1 car is 164.267 mph (264.362 km/h), set by the highest-paid driver Lewis Hamilton in a Mercedes W11 during qualifying for the Italian Grand Prix in Monza, making it, in theory, the fastest F1 car of all time.
Regarding the fastest lap during the race, the record holds Michael Schumacher in a Ferrari on the same track, with a 153.843 mp/h (247.586 km/h) average speed in his Formula 1 car.
In 2006, the Honda F1 team set a record for the top speed of an F1 race car ever achieved—397.360 kilometers per hour (equivalent to roughly 246 mph). The feat was accomplished in Bonneville Salt Flats of Utah in a modified version of their 2005 Formula One racing car.
What Is the Top Speed of an F1 Car
Valterri Bottas holds the two most important top speed records—both in a Williams, both in 2016.
The first record was for the highest top speed in a Mexican Grand Prix race, where he pushed his car to 372.5 km/h (231.461 mph).
The other record is from Baku, where the 2018 European Grand Prix was held, and Bottas managed to drive at the speed of 378 km/h (234.878 mph) over the entire race weekend.
Does this make him the fastest race car driver? Hardly, as opinions vary across motorsport on who the fastest driver is and what is the actual criteria.
How Fast Do F1 Cars Accelerate
These vehicles accelerate very quickly—the F1 car can go from 0–60 miles per hour in just 2 seconds, which is faster than most sports cars. This makes them ideal for racing on tracks with lots of straights and few corners, where it’s more important for a car to reach high speeds than for a car to be able to corner quickly.
What Are the Fastest Tracks in F1
Monza: Italian Grand Prix
Monza is the fastest circuit in the F1 calendar.
- Circuit length: 3,600 miles (5,793.6 km)
- Average speed record: 159.91 mph (257.35 km/h)
- Top speed record: 164.267 mph (264.362 km/h)
- Race lap record: 1:21.046 (Rubens Barrichello)
- Qualifying lap record: 1:18.887 (Lewis Hamilton)
Jeddah: Saudi Arabian Grand Prix
Jeddah hosts the fastest street race in the F1 calendar.
- Circuit length: 3.836 miles (6.174 km)
- Average speed record: 155 mph (250 km/h)
- Top speed record: 200 mph (322 km/h)
- Race lap record: 1:30.734 (Lewis Hamilton)
- Qualifying lap record: 1:27.511 (Lewis Hamilton)
How Fast Can Other Race Cars Go
F2 Championship is the main feeder series for Formula One, although it is not part of Formula One’s rules and regulations. It is officially sanctioned by the FIA, motorsport’s governing body, and is run as a support series to Formula One events.
Formula 2 cars have recorded a top speed of 199 mph.
F3 cars are the fastest single-seater racers available to amateurs around the world. They are capable of speeds in excess of 150 mph and cornering forces in excess of 3G.
Formula 3 cars achieved a 160 mph top speed which is equivalent to reaching 60 mph in just 1.85 seconds.
Formula E cars are electric race cars used in the FIA Formula E Championship, a class of auto racing that uses only electric-powered cars. The series was conceived in 2012, and the inaugural championship started in Beijing on 13 September 2014. The series is currently in its fifth season.
Formula E speed is up there among any other race car category. The fastest Formula E cars have been clocked at 174 mph, according to data from the FIA. That makes them the fastest electric vehicles on the planet.
The IndyCar is a high-speed motorsport category open to cars racing on oval tracks. IndyCar races are conducted by the Indy Racing League (IRL) and compete in the United States and Canada.
When it comes to IndyCar vs. F1 speed, the former beat the latter. With a record top speed of 235mph (378km/h) at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, IndyCar outshines Formula 1 vehicles in this segment. This is because Formula One cars are focused on developing their corner speed—IndyCars are more preoccupied with straight-line speed due to the nature of the tracks they race on.
On June 9, 2004, at Talladega Superspeedway in Alabama, NASCAR driver Rusty Wallace set the top speed record for a closed oval course when he drove his car at 216.309 mph (348.116 km/h).
The previous record had been set by Bill Elliott in 1987 at the same track, with a speed of 212.809 mph (341.447 km/h).
The fastest rally car in the world is the Volkswagen Polo R WRC. It has recorded a top speed of 78.67 mph. The car was driven by Sébastien Ogier on the first stage of the Rally Sweden in February 2013. The Polo R WRC holds the fastest time for a four-wheel drive car over one kilometer, at 2:52.4 seconds.