F1's Fantastical Facts
De-mystifying Formula 1's sometimes baffling shorthand is no easy task.
So, in order to put the awesome power, performance and grip of a grand prix car into perspective, we compared it to road cars and everyday household objects.
We made some interesting findings...
1. When running at maximum speed, a Formula 1 engine ingests air at a rate of 0.40kg per second for the combustion of fuel. That same airflow would inflate 600 party balloons in just one minute.
2. When braking, a grand prix driver will experience over 5g of loading on his body (that’s a force of load five times a driver’s own bodyweight), and as much as 4g while cornering. Even when driven flat-out, your road car could only manage 1g under braking, and around 0.75g during cornering!
3. A Formula 1 car achieves a maximum aerodynamic downforce equal to around 2.5 metric tones when travelling at 330km/h. That would be like driving your family saloon with a large 4x4 strapped to the top of the car!
4. Exhaust gases are emitted from the back of the car at temperatures of around 950°C to 1000°C. That’s 50 per cent higher than the temperature required to melt aluminium (660°C).
5. Even at medium speeds, there is typically around a 10-50mm gap between the track surface and a car’s plank (the rubbing strip bolted to the car’s floor) – at its minimum, that’s around the width of an iPhone!
6. Our Mobil 1 engine oil is collected and circulated by a total of seven pumps – they’re so efficient that they’d only require the power of four domestic lightbulbs to drive them.
7. Our Formula 1 car can record more than 250 channels of data simultaneously. If required, these streams can be monitored at a rate of 1000 times per second. In theory, we could generate more than one billion pieces of data during just a single grand prix!
8. A grand prix driver changes gear between 2500 and 4000 times a race. In the Canadian Grand Prix, for example, a driver changes gear on average every 1.3 seconds.
9. The Mobil 1 oil film holding the gear teeth apart and protecting them is ~20μm thick – that’s about half the thickness of the thinnest human hair.
10. The four wheelguns we use during pitstops consume more than 20,000 litres of air per minute. We regularly breathe 150 litres of air during heavy exercise, whereas an elite athlete breathes in around 240 litres per minute. So the air consumption of the set of wheelguns is equivalent to the combined breathing rate of more than 80 Chris Hoys – or over 130 non-athletes!