When seeing the F1 mechanics lifting and pushing the car, I always wondered how much it weighed. And some of you have wanted me to talk about an F1 car’s weight ever since I wrote about the weight of racing go-karts.
In 2022, an F1 car must weigh at least 798kg (1,759lbs). The initial weight requirement was 795kg (1,752lbs), but the FIA added 3kg to that because many teams were running their cars overweight by a large margin.
But, what do these 798kg consist of? Does that also include the fuel needed for an entire race or a qualifying session? How much do the drivers weigh? Let’s find out! Before I go on, remember that some numbers I mention below are estimates since nobody apart from the team knows the exact numbers.
Weight of an F1 Car
A race-ready F1 car, including the driver and a set of dry tires, needs to be above 798kg. As I said above, the initial weight requirement for 2022 was 795kg. But, apart from Alfa Romeo, the F1 teams were running their cars at much higher weights, which led to the 3kg increase.
But, as you might have noticed, I’ve not mentioned the weight of the fuel. The fuel tank can hold 110kg of fuel. So, supposing that the car runs on a full fuel tank, the actual weight requirement is 908kg (2,001lbs).
That said, most cars rarely run on a full fuel tank since the driver can manage the fuel during the race. Still, running on more fuel is better in high-speed tracks like Bahrain and Monza because the car eats it up on the long straights.
Also, during the qualifying sessions, the cars run on 1-2 laps of fuel so that they’re the lightest possible. You might have noticed that a random car will often get called to the weighbridge. If the car weighs less than the minimum weight, then the driver or the team will receive a penalty.
Unlike go-karts, an F1 car needs to weigh as little as possible to be fast. Even a 10kg difference can make a Formula 1 car faster by a few tenths of a second, which are crucial in a qualifying lap.
That said, there’s no upper limit for the car’s weight. Even though the teams always try to make their vehicle as light as possible, they could make it weigh 10 tonnes, and the FIA would still deem it legal to race.
However, especially before the 2022 regulation change, teams used to run underweight cars by adding ballast all over the vehicle. This is similar to karting, where drivers can add lead ballast to meet the weight requirement while ensuring that their kart’s weight distribution is optimal.
Of the 798kg weight requirement, the engine takes up the most weight. An F1 engine must weigh at least 150kg, making it the heaviest F1 car part. The lightest F1 car component is the steering wheel, which weighs approximately 1.3kg. But, there are also some requirements for the rest of the car’s parts, as you can see in the table below.
|Engine||Minimum 150kg (331lbs)|
|Steering Wheel||~1.3kg (3lbs)|
|Front Wing||~10kg (22lbs)|
|Fuel Tank||Maximum 110kg (242.5lbs)|
|Chassis||No Set Weight|
That being said, the weight of the driver is as critical as the weight of the car.
How Much Do F1 Drivers Weigh
Most F1 drivers weigh between 60-70kg (132-154lbs). But, it’s worth noting that the minimum weight of an F1 driver along with the necessary equipment (racing suit, helmet, gloves, etc.) and their seat has been set at 80kg since 2019.
Many drivers, like Daniel Ricciardo, praised this rule change because it allowed taller drivers to eat more. Before 2019, teams with lighter drivers would be at a greater advantage since their cars would be lighter overall.
Considering that the driver’s equipment and seat weigh around 5kg, the drivers need to weigh about 75kg to meet the requirement. If the driver is lighter than that, the team will add ballast to reach the weight required, giving them a slight advantage in weight distribution.
So, here’s a table of the F1 drivers’ weights.
|Alex Albon||74kg (163lbs)|
|Lewis Hamilton||73kg (161lbs)|
|Nicholas Latifi||73kg (161lbs)|
|Max Verstappen||72kg (159lbs)|
|George Russell||70kg (154lbs)|
|Pierre Gasly||70kg (154lbs)|
|Lance Stroll||70kg (154lbs)|
|Charles Leclerc||69kg (152lbs)|
|Valtteri Bottas||69kg (152lbs)|
|Kevin Magnussen||68kg (150lbs)|
|Lando Norris||68kg (150lbs)|
|Fernando Alonso||68kg (150lbs)|
|Mick Schumacher||67kg (148lbs)|
|Esteban Ocon||66kg (145.5lbs)|
|Daniel Ricciardo||66kg (145.5lbs)|
|Carlos Sainz||64kg (141lbs)|
|Guanyu Zhou||63kg (139lbs)|
|Sergio Perez||63kg (139lbs)|
|Sebastian Vettel||62kg (137lbs)|
|Yuki Tsunoda||54kg (119lbs)|
Why Are F1 Drivers Weighed After a Race
Once the checkered flag is out, every driver has to park their car in the pits and immediately weigh themselves. This is done once the race is done for several reasons, but the two main reasons are medical and technical.
A driver will lose 2-4kg during a race on average. So, they’re weighed after the race to understand how much weight they actually lost during the race. That’s because a driver might lose more weight on hot tracks (like Singapore) due to excessive sweating.
Knowing how much weight a driver loses is essential for medical reasons. If the driver loses more weight than average during a race, they’ll have to not train as hard in the following week to avoid injury.
From a technical standpoint, weighing the driver is much more straightforward and faster than weighing the car after a race. Unless the team changes any part of the car after qualifying, it will weigh the same at the end of the race.
Also, since both the drivers and the cars get weighed once the race is over, it’s better to weigh the drivers first and then weigh the cars. That’s because drivers need to take interviews or celebrate on the podium.
Who Is the Heaviest F1 Driver
The heaviest F1 driver on the 2022 grid is Alexander Albon, who weighs 74kg. He’s followed closely by Lewis Hamilton, who’s the heaviest compared to his height, Nicholas Latifi, and Max Verstappen.
Who Is the Lightest F1 Driver
As is expected, the lightest F1 driver is also the shortest F1 driver on the 2022 grid, Yuki Tsunoda, who only weighs 54kg. The next most lightweight driver is one of my favorites, Sebastian Vettel, followed closely by Sergio Perez.
F1 Car Weight Over the Years
Many have said that the 2022 cars are the heaviest we’ve ever seen in F1. This is partially true, as you’ll see in the table below. But, there’s no doubt that this year’s cars are amongst the heaviest ones ever.
That said, here’s a table with the car weight changes over the years.
Most cars during the early 1950s were weighty, while we saw a steady decline in weight from the late 50s to the 60s.
As the years passed, F1 began having more regulations, which meant that the cars were much more similar in terms of weight. The most significant weight difference in modern F1 was between 1994 and 1995.
After Senna’s fatal accident in Imola 1994, the FIA focused heavily on improving the safety of F1 cars, which led to a near 100kg increase. For the next 15 years, the F1 cars would weigh pretty much the same since there were no significant changes.
But, during the 2010s and 2020s, the F1 cars have seen a steady increase in weight. This is attributed to an influx in safety innovations, like the halo, the advanced chassis, and more.
What Is the Heaviest F1 Car Ever
The heaviest F1 car ever is the Talbot Lago T26C Grand Prix, which ran for the first two World Championships in 1950 and 1951. It weighed a whopping 950kg (2,094lbs), meaning that its weight was over a tonne along with the driver.
What Is the Lightest F1 Car Ever
The lightest F1 car ever was the Lotus 12 Climax, which only ran for the 1958 World Championship. It only weighed 320kg (705lbs), and the highest position it secured was 4th in the 1958 Belgian Grand Prix.
F1 cars have had a lot of weight changes in their 72-year history. Despite being the heaviest in recent years, the latest iteration of the F1 car is the safest one. So, I think that nobody minds the fact that the 2022 F1 cars are heavier since they are made to protect the drivers from fatal crashes.
Stay tuned for more articles just like this one!
FAQs for The Weight Of a Formula 1 Car
How Heavy Is an F1 Car at Full Speed?
An F1 car has to weigh at least 798kg (1,759lbs). If the car has a full fuel tank, it weighs a minimum of 908kg. But, as I mentioned above, F1 teams rarely run a full fuel tank during a race.
How Much Does the Average F1 Driver Weigh?
The average F1 driver weighs between 62-70kg (137-154lbs). But, as I said above, a few drivers weigh more than this.