For years, Formula 1 racing cars didn’t have speedometers. The latest Formula 1 race cars allow drivers to view a digital speedometer if they wish. But most F1 drivers choose not to. Although races are won or lost by a couple of miles per hour, drivers feel that other metrics are far more important to their success.
Do Formula 1 race cars have speedometers?
Modern Formula 1 racing cars have a high-tech steering lever with buttons to control many of the car’s functions and a digital display to display driving data. Drivers have the option of displaying speed on this screen, but few use it.
Formula 1 car Ferrari F1-75 | Clive Mason/Getty Images
Formula 1 cars left behind a traditional analog speedometer decades ago. Back when F1 cars were still using analogue gauges, most teams gave up speedometers to focus on the tachometer.
But unlike NASCAR, Formula 1 rules don’t prohibit speedometers. As instruments went digital, teams added a speedometer option to the driver’s display. But overall speed is not critical information for the driver, according to Opera News.
All modern Formula 1 cars have a GPS that measures the speed of the car. Pit crews monitor the speed of your car, along with a lot of other data.
Why don’t Formula 1 drivers care about their speed?
For a racing driver, knowing your engine speed and judging how much traction you have are critical factors in deciding how fast to go. Knowing his overall speed is less important. Why? Because in a race you go as fast as you can.
Formula 1 racing cars | Mark Thompson/Getty Images
During a race, a driver accelerates as hard as possible through each corner. They get as close to the next turn as traction allows, then brake quickly to navigate the next turn. Does your actual speed matter? Not as much as engine RPM or fuel levels during the race.
Drivers certainly slow down sometimes. But it’s always a strategic decision, often to save your tires or fuel supply. This choice has little to do with what your speed is. In this case, they simply choose to run at 90% or 75% of the car’s capabilities.
Do Formula 1 teams care about overall speed?
All modern Formula 1 cars carry a GPS speed tracker. This is so that the pit crew can control the speed of the driver. This is very important for career strategy and review.
Mercedes-Benz Formula 1 car | Clive Mason/Getty Images
Speed is very important for the Formula 1 teams. The teams control the speed on the straights, in certain corners and the general speed. They can use this to compare qualifying laps or compare cars and drivers against each other.
During a race, a team may simply work to reduce lap times. But after a race, the team could use the speed at certain points on the track to analyze how lap times could have been lower. This may change your strategy for future races. Read more about the top speed of an F1 car below or see one of the fastest F1 cars in the video below:
Keyword: Do Formula 1 racing cars have a speedometer?