What Is Apex Speed In Formula 1?

What Is Apex Speed In Formula 1

One word that you might have heard being repeated over and over again throughout a Formula 1 live broadcast or highlight video is the word “apex.” After hearing this word multiple times, one might begin to wonder, why is the apex so important and why am I hearing it so many times? Read on to find the answers. 

What Is the Apex?

The apex of a corner is the point of a driver’s racing line where the car is the closest to the inside of the track. Due to the fact that this is also the point where the driver usually will shift gears from slowing down to speeding up, it is important that the driver enter the corner at the right speed so that they are able to hit the correct apex at the corner, and then exit at the highest speed possible to give them an advantage when racing down the long straights that usually follow such corners. 

Effect of Corners on Speed

Different race tracks in the Formula 1 season have different layouts. Layouts can refer to the number and types of corners and straights. Depending on the type of layout, drivers will alter their strategies and driving styles to maximize the performance of their cars and achieve the shortest lap times possible. One of the most important areas of the race tracks that drivers have to pay special attention to is the corners. This is because the way drivers enter and exit a corner will have a tremendous effect on their overall lap times. 

For example, the famous Silverstone Circuit, which hosts the British Grand Prix, is known for a particular part of the track called Copse Corner. Due to the relative wideness of the corner, drivers are able to enter and exit the corner at high speeds without sharply slowing down their cars. However, in other corners that are much sharper, like the ones at the Circuit de Monaco, home of the Monaco Grand Prix, it is imperative that drivers enter the corners at slower speeds and accurately hit the apex, allowing them to exit in the most efficient manner possible. 

Maximizing Apex Speed

Corners in Formula 1 race circuits are usually followed by long straights where drivers are able to minimize their lap times most effectively by pushing the pace and speed of their cars. Furthermore, maintaining the straightest racing line that a driver can put their car in will most effectively help them get through the track the fastest they can. This is because, at points of the track where there are turns and corners, drivers are forced to slow down which can hinder their ability to achieve the fastest lap times possible.

Hitting the apex on a corner is very important for drivers. They will usually do this by entering the corner from a wide angle, as opposed to sticking close to the inside of the track when turning their cars. By entering the corner from a wide angle and hitting the apex on the corner, a driver is able to position their car on the straightest path when exiting, which is when they will rapidly increase their speeds and zoom down the straights, putting their cars through an almost sling-shot motion.