close global

Welcome to GPFans


  • NL
  • GB
  • ES-MX
  • GB
What is downforce and why is it important in F1?

What is downforce and why is it important in F1?

F1 News

What is downforce and why is it important in F1?

What is downforce and why is it important in F1?

Have you ever wondered how F1 cars stay on the ground at such high speeds? Well, that's the work of the force applied by the air flowing over the car, the downforce. What is it? And why is it very important in F1? Let's find out.

The 'downforce' is a downward, vertical aerodynamic force created by the air moving over the car's bodywork that pushes the car down onto the track. When downforce is generated, drivers gain more grip, which enables them to drive around the track and take corners at high speeds without losing control of the vehicle.

Downforce is a very important factor in F1 cars for achieving grip. This is why F1 cars are designed with some aerodynamic features that generate downforce, including the floor and the wings. The amount of downforce produced can be adjusted to suit different track conditions and driving styles.

What is downforce?

Downforce pushes the car down onto the track, increasing traction and improving cornering speeds. It is generated by the aerodynamic design of the car, which uses some elements to redirect airflow over and under the vehicle.

Credit: The Washington Post

The car's body shape generates downforce by creating a high-pressure area above the car and a low-pressure area below it, which pushes the car downward.

Why is downforce important?

Downforce is critical when driving at high speeds and taking corners, as without it, the car can easily spin out of control. Therefore, downforce plays a crucial role in improving a car's stability. The greater the downforce, the more grip the car has.

Which car parts generate downforce?

The majority of downforce in F1 cars is generated by the floor. The floor forms a low-pressure area beneath the car, sucking it down towards the track. This is done through complicated aerodynamic designs and floor shaping to maximise airflow while minimising turbulence.

The front wing, rear wing, and diffuser also contribute to generating downforce.

Can an F1 car drive upside down?

As strange as the question may appear, F1 cars, with their incredible levels of downforce, can be driven upside down on the ceiling of a tunnel — at least theoretically.

This is because the downforce produced by the car is greater than its weight, allowing it to stick to the ceiling. It is said an F1 car can generate around 750 kg of downforce at speeds of 100mph.

According to a report published by the MIT Technology Review in 2019, an F1 car can actually drive upside down if it travels at a high enough speed, which it estimates to be around 200 mph.

However, there are some elements that may impact the car's ability to maintain traction and stability, such as air resistance and the force of gravity. Therefore, until someone attempts to drive an F1 car upside down at 200 mph, it remains just a theory.

Do Not Sell My Personal Information
Ontdek het op Google Play