How much does a Formula 1 car cost? How many sensors are installed? How long does it take to paint the world's fastest cars and accelerate them from a standstill to 100 km/h? We got the numbers.
The Abu Dhabi GP 2021 ended an era. The well-known racing cars have had their day and are being moved to the museum. They make room for a new generation of vehicles which, starting this season, should make the Champions League of motorsport even more attractive. But before we open the new chapter, we want to pay tribute to the discontinued models. We got the numbers on the most aerodynamically complex cars in Grand Prix history.
6,500 The Mercedes W12 consisted of so many parts if you add the engine as just one component. Few of these are actually visible. 93 percent of the parts are hidden under the fairing. For comparison: the first Silver Arrow in Formula 1, the W196, was assembled from around 3,500 parts.
10,000 That's roughly the sum of the parts that make up the power unit. In 2022, Formula 1 will continue to drive with 1.6-liter turbo engines, a battery and two electric machines (MGU-H and MGU-K). According to the regulations, the power unit must not weigh less than 150 kilograms.
1,200 The gearbox is assembled from so many individual parts. After the engine, it is the heaviest component in a Formula 1 car.
220,000 euros. That's roughly what an eight-speed gearbox costs in a Formula 1 car, as one of the smaller teams told us.
This is how much a chassis costs
350,000 euros are estimated for a chassis (monocoque).
It takes about 4 weeks to build a chassis. 12 hours are added for the "Lego box". Another 20 or so hours for each of the back halves. Then the front part is glued and married to the back one. Incidentally, a Formula 1 car is made up of so many metals that, according to the engineers, there are too many to list them all.
The teams estimate 100,000 euros for the front wing. The underbody costs about the same.
The rear wing costs 65,000 euros.
The teams pay 15,000 euros for the Halo cockpit protection. Not including the attachments that you attach yourself for aerodynamic reasons.
293,000 euros are quoted as the price for a complete set of wishbones all around.
25,000 euros. That's how high the material costs for a set of brakes are all around.
An impact wrench costs 6,000 euros. Like everything else, this can vary from team to team. The bigger, the more sophisticated, the more expensive.
25 control units under paneling
400 sensors do their job in a car according to Mercedes. Two thirds of them take care of the chassis, one third records data on the power unit.
48.000 data channels. There are so many for the Power Unit alone. At the time of the V8 naturally aspirated engine, there were just 5,600. This makes it clear how complex the hybrid engines are. The low failure rate is proof of how excellently Formula 1 engineers work. Not all channels are purely geared towards the Power Unit. There are also interactions with the chassis. For example, between the MGU-K electric machine, which generates energy when towing, and the brake-by-wire system. The right balance is needed here in order not to overbrake the rear axle.
2x2x1 millimeter is a temperature sensor small. It weighs less than a gram. Ten years ago, teams were still using large infrared cameras to measure tire temperatures. Nowadays the sensors are fully integrated and give the driver access to several different pieces of information about the tire temperature at any time. A temperature sensor is one of the most common in a car. There are also sensors that measure force, acceleration (longitudinal, transverse), distance and pressure. A pressure sensor weighs 3.6 grams.
There is 1 monitoring system per tire. It sends information on pressure and temperature to the central data logger - similar to that in a road car.
25 control units are located under the fairing. Which assemblies are you responsible for? For example: power unit, transmission control, sensor logging (various types and rates, with and without live telemetry, wired or wireless outsourcing etc.), accident data logging, steering wheel, radio traffic, GPS, telemetry antenna.
Wiring harness 5,000 meters
50 megabytes of data per kilometer is generated by a Formula 1 car in race trim. In 2011, about 18 gigabytes came about over a weekend. Today the data carriers record around 70 GB over a race weekend.
3 cameras are attached to the car.
10 coolers ensure that it doesn't get too hot under the fairing. They cool five liquids.
7 Main fluids circulate through a car: gasoline (tank, engine), oil (engine, transmission), water (in the coolant), hydraulic fluid (power steering), an agent for ERS cooling, brake fluid, driver's drink. There are over 50 conduits through which they circulate. When one fails, it forces surrender. Except for the line to the driver. He then has to get to the finish without a drink.
The coolers are worth around 150,000 euros. As with the other parts, there are fluctuations from team to team.
5,000 meters. That's how long the cable harness would be if you removed it and laid it out on the floor.
In 2.25 seconds to 100 km/h
It takes 230 hours to paint the Mercedes. How many liters of paint are used for this? It's better to keep quiet about it. You don't want to reveal too much to the competition.
It takes 60 man-hours to screw the W12 together in the garage as soon as all the transport boxes are loaded at the race track.
2.25 seconds. This is the best acceleration value from 0 to 100 km/h that Mercedes has ever measured. It was installed at the 2020 winter test drives in Barcelona. In a race, the best value is 2.4 seconds - that's how fast the black Silver Arrow accelerated in Silverstone 2020.
55 meters. In this short distance, the Mercedes decelerates from 300 to 100 km/h. The teams do not measure from 100 km/h to a standstill because it has no real relevance for them. At low speeds, the downforce is lost due to the aerodynamics.
720 holes has a brake disc.
5.2g . This is the highest value that Mercedes has ever set in a curve. G-forces lingered for more than half a second at the Melbourne fast chicane (Turn 11-12) and at Pouhon at Spa-Francorchamps. Values of 5.1g in corners were recorded at Silverstone, Hockenheim and Shanghai. If you exclude the limitation of half a second, a value of 9g even jumped out. That was at a change of direction at Silverstone.