How Much Does A Formula 1 Car Cost?
Each Formula 1 car is uniquely built and designed by world-class technicians, mechanics, and engineers. On average, a Formula 1 car costs $20 million to build. Keep reading to learn what contributes to the price of a typical Formula 1 car.
Formula 1 Cost Cap
Before the implementation of the cost cap in Formula 1 racing, top teams would spend as much as $400 million on the research, development, and engineering of their race cars. However, as this created a competitive imbalance among teams with major differences in their budgets, a cost cap was implemented in the 2021 season to encourage parity in competition.
The cost cap for the 2021 season was set at $145 million. In the following two seasons, the cost cap was cut by $5 million, which led to a $135 million cost cap for the 2023 season. Within this budget, teams must fund their projects and programs related to the performance of their car, which also includes car components and materials.
Without a doubt, the most expensive component of a Formula 1 race car is the power unit. The power unit is the component of the race car that generates the power and energy that propels the car forward, and many different technical features and elements come together to create a Formula 1 power unit.
The power unit includes the engine itself, the turbocharger, an electric battery and motor, the exhaust, and more. There are three current engine suppliers in Formula 1 (Mercedes, Ferrari, and Honda), and they constantly compete with each other to develop the most powerful and efficient engines they can to compete for championships.
As a result of the immense technological research and development that goes into developing these advanced 1.6 liter V6 engines, capable of generating 1,000 horsepower, it is estimated that a typical Formula 1 engine costs around $18 million.
Another significant cost that goes into building a Formula 1 race car is the chassis, which is the external structure of the car that is made out of carbon fiber. Carbon fiber is used because it is an extremely durable material, which is important for the safety of the drivers, and because it is incredibly light, which is important to maximize the speed and efficiency of race cars.
Each chassis is custom-made by each team according to the design and engineering specifications that teams believe will make their car the fastest on the track. The chassis of a Formula 1 car will cost around $650,000 to $700,000.
Additional Significant Costs
There are several other major components that contribute to a Formula 1 car’s cost. The gearbox is another component that costs a significant amount of money when building a Formula 1 car. Teams need the gearboxes of their cars to be as reliable as possible, so they utilize the best technology available to build them. As a result, gearboxes can cost around $400,000.
The front and rear wings of a Formula 1 race car also are significant costs because they are custom-built to affect the overall aerodynamics of the race car, which is a critical aspect of racing. Depending on the type of track that the car is raced on, teams will have different wings that will affect things such as the downforce, speed, handling ability, and more of the race car. As a result, a front wing is estimated to cost around $150,000, and the rear wing is estimated to cost around $85,000.
Adding up the estimated costs of the components of a Formula 1 race car, which includes the power unit, the chassis, the gearbox, the wings, the steering wheel, the hydraulics, and more, it is estimated that the total cost of a race car can be a whopping $20 million.