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Speed trap F1

What is a speed trap and what the top speed of a Formula 1 car? You can read it here!

F1 Speed Trap George Russell Mercedes British GP 2023 © XPBimages

What is a speed trap?

A speed trap in Formula 1 is a point on the track where the (top) speed of Formula 1 cars is measured by radar technology. This measurement point is placed at the fastest point of the longest straight of the circuit. Where exactly the measurement point is located on the long straight can vary and depends on the circuit. At Monza, for example, the speed trap is located at the end of the longest straight and at the Baku circuit in the middle of the longest straight. This is because at the end of the straight the battery has already lost much of its power, so the speed is higher in the middle.

Also, the exact location of the speed trap can change from year to year. This may depend on the layout of the track and other factors such as weather conditions or wind direction, for example.

The speed trap is used to measure the top speeds of Formula 1 cars on the track. This information can, for example, help teams understand and optimise the differences in speeds between the drivers, by, for example, making a driver push more.

What are the fastest tracks in Formula 1?

There are several factors that affect how fast a Formula 1 circuit is, including the amount and length of straights and what the corners look like. Circuits where high speed traps are measured are:

F1 Monza Circuit © Monza

What is the highest speed trap ever measured?

The top speed of a Formula 1 car depends on the track and conditions. The highest speed in the speed trap ever measured on a Formula 1 circuit is that of Valtteri Bottas in his Williams during qualifying at Baku in Azerbaijan in 2016. He tapped the 378 kilometres per hour mark.

Bottas also set the record for the highest measured speed during a Grand Prix. He also did this in 2016, in Mexico. He reached a speed of 372.5 km/h.

F1 Speed Trap Valtteri Bottas Williams Baku 2016 © XPBimages

How fast is a Formula 1 car?

However, the true maximum speed of a Formula 1 car is never reached on a track, because of downforce. Honda once wanted to try to reach 400 kilometres per hour on a salt flats in the United States as a marketing stunt. This was almost achieved; Honda set a record of 397 kilometres per hour. Now it is waiting for this record to be broken.

Looking at the top speed of a Formula 1 car set this sits around 370 kilometres per hour and within about 2.6 seconds a Formula 1 car can go from 0 to 100 kilometres per hour.

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