Do Formula 1 racing cars have a speedometer?

For years Formula 1 racing cars did not have speedometers. The last Formula 1 race cars allow drivers to see a digital speedometer if they choose. But most F1 drivers actually choose not to. Even if the races are won or lost at a few kilometers per hour, the pilots believe that other parameters are much more important for their success.

Do Formula 1 racing cars have speedometers?

Modern Formula 1 racing cars have a high-tech steering yellow with buttons to control many car functions and a digital display to show driving data. Drivers have the option of displaying the speed on this screen, but few of them use it.

Formula 1 car Ferrari F1-75 | Clive Mason/Getty Images

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Formula 1 cars ditched the traditional analog speedometer decades ago. When F1 cars were still using analog gauges, most teams ditched the speedometers to focus on the tachometer instead.

But unlike NASCAR, Formula 1 rules don’t ban speedometers. As instruments became digital, teams added a speedometer option to the driver display. But the overall speed is not critical information for the driver, according to Opera News.

All modern Formula 1 cars have GPS measuring the speed of the car. Teams back in the pits monitor their car’s speed, along with lots of other data.

Why don’t Formula 1 drivers care about their speed?

For a race car driver, knowing their engine rpm and gauging their level of traction are critical factors in deciding how fast to go. Knowing your overall speed is less important. Why? Because in a race, you go as fast as you can.

A pack of Formula 1 cars accelerating from the start line of a race track during a grand prix.
Formula 1 racing cars | Mark Thompson/Getty Images

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During a race, a driver accelerates as hard as possible at each turn. They close in on the next corner as far as traction will allow, then brake quickly to navigate the next corner. Does their actual speed matter? Not as much as engine rpm or fuel levels during the race.

Drivers certainly reduce their speed at times. But it is always a strategic decision, often to save tires or fuel supply. This choice has little to do with their speed. In this case, they simply choose to run at 90% or 75% of the car’s capacity.

Do Formula 1 teams care about overall speed?

Every modern Formula 1 car is equipped with a GPS speed tracker. This is how the team back in the pits can monitor the speed of the driver. This is very important for race strategy and review.

Rear view of a Formula 1 car surrounded by smoke as the driver finishes a burnout after winning a race.
Mercedes-Benz Formula 1 car | Clive Mason/Getty Images

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Speed ​​is very important to Formula 1 teams. Teams monitor speed on the straights, in certain corners and overall speed. They can use it to compare qualifying laps or compare cars and drivers to each other.

During a race, a team can simply work to reduce lap times. But after a race, the team can use speed at certain points on the track to analyze how lap times could have been lower. This may change their strategy for future races. Then learn more about the top speed of an F1 car or watch one of the fastest F1 cars ever in the video below:

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