What Is The Point Of Drifting In Formula 1?

What Is The Point Of Drifting In Formula 1

Drifting, despite its prevalence in other forms of racing, doesn’t see much use in Formula 1. In fact, Formula 1 drivers work as hard as possible to avoid drifting or losing any bit of traction with the car. Keep reading to learn why there is little point in drifting in Formula 1.

Drifting in Formula 1

Drifting in Formula 1 not only costs the driver valuable time in either qualifying or the actual race, but it can also be incredibly dangerous. Formula 1 cars are much faster when they have full traction between the tires and the racing surface. When designing a Formula 1 car before the start of the season, teams work incredibly hard to make sure the car has as much traction and downforce as possible when racing to prevent drifting.

The Dangers of Drifting

Formula 1 cars are some of the most precise racing machines on the planet, and they have to be, seeing as they frequently reach speeds well above 200 miles per hour. The cars have numerous safety features and are designed to keep the driver as secure as possible. Part of this design is maximizing the control that a driver has over the car.

Like any car, a Formula 1 car is an incredibly dangerous thing when it’s out of control, which is a huge reason why drivers and teams want to prevent drifting in the sport. Unlike some other racing disciplines, Formula 1 cars aren’t designed for drifting and can easily go out of control when even the slightest drift occurs.

If a car drifts and loses control, it can lead to a crash, a spin, or damage to the car. Any number of bad possibilities can occur when a Formula 1 car loses traction.

Lost Time

Although some racing disciplines, such as rally racing, depend on drifting for faster times, the exact opposite is true in Formula 1. Whenever a car doesn’t have full traction between the tires and the racing surface, time is lost. Formula 1 cars are incredibly efficient, but that’s only the case when the tires have strong purchase on the track.

This is part of the reason why teams make pit stops during races: to give their drivers better traction and to avoid drifting around the race course. In addition to the safety factor, if a driver wants to be competitive in the race, it’s best not to do any drifting.

Preventing Drifting

Formula 1 teams go to great lengths to prevent their car from drifting around a racetrack. Part of their solution for this is to equip the car with fresh tires throughout the race because old tires have much less traction.

Similarly, teams must also use different tires for different circumstances depending on the track type, track temperature, and weather conditions on the day of the race. For example, in rainy weather, teams equip their cars with specialized tires that maximize grip.

Wet-weather tires prevent the car from drifting, even in wet weather, so long as the driver is careful. Teams are also sure to keep drivers on their roster who can maintain consistent control of the car; otherwise, it will lead to consistent and expensive damages.