How Are NASCAR And F1 Cars Different?

How Are NASCAR And F1 Cars Different

NASCAR cars and F1 cars are completely different from one another. NASCAR cars look more like sedans, an enclosed and covered car. Meanwhile, a F1 car has open wheels and an exposed cockpit. The immediate physical differences are not the only thing that set the two car styles apart. Other differences include the process by which the cars are designed, their abilities, and the engines. The different race styles between the two sports has caused the evolution of their cars to go in completely different directions. NASCAR is considered a marathon; strong and durable cars help drivers succeed in long thought through races. F1 is more of a strategic sprint, where acceleration and quick moves win races and a light and aerodynamic car is the best option.

Building and Designing

A major difference between NASCAR cars and F1 cars is the way they are designed. In F1, each racing team is responsible for designing and building their cars on their own. When watching an F1 race, the cars may appear to look similar, but they all have huge differences. This is the most important part of F1.  Different teams have different budgets, so the teams with the most money tend to be the most successful. Although there are restrictions and guidelines to follow, the teams themselves must build the car.

Meanwhile, NASCAR stands for National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing. There are 30 templates that the manufacturers and teams can select from. Although the colors and branding on each NASCAR car may make it stand out, the bodies are incredibly similar and limited. F1 cars cost about $235 million each while NASCAR cars only cost around $25 million each.

Physical Differences

The physical differences between the two cars are clear. The chassis of the two cars differ greatly. The chassis is the vehicle's frame. On one side, the NASCAR car is labeled the ‘Car of Tomorrow’ and resembles a sedan. The car has a closed top, covered tires, a roll cage, and has a normal steering wheel.

F1 cars’ chassis depend on the team building them. In F1, teams attempt to make their car as aerodynamic and fast as possible. F1 cars are all open-cockpit, open-wheel, and single seat vehicles. 

The overall size of the two car types definitely fits their individual styles of racing. NASCAR cars are much longer, wider, and heavier. These cars need to endure longer races and contact with other cars. F1 cars are smaller, lighter, and more aerodynamic. In F1, acceleration is so important, and being able to weave within opponent cars can make or break the race. Further, F1 cars do not make contact on purpose. When F1 cars come into contact with each other, because of their design, the result is often a large crash or spinout.


Although both NASCAR cars and F1 cars are made to race, the things they do are very different. In NASCAR, the cars drive in an oval, so they are only required to turn left. F1 tracks are much more complicated and require right and left turns; F1 cars are much easier to maneuver and can make sharp turns.

Another difference between the two styles is the top speeds. Holding back the NASCAR is its weight (3000 lbs) compared to the F1 car (1600 lbs). NASCAR cars usually max out at 200 mph while the F1 cars can push above 205 mph. Another difference is in the brake quality and needs. In NASCAR, drivers do not need to break too often compared to F1. In NASCAR, drivers need to break in order to set up passing moves, enter the pit lanes, or avoid a collision. In F1, racers need to break off and on throughout the race. F1 races are performed on circuits that contain sharp and inconsistent turns, so racers need to constantly slow down to make turns, make moves, or enter the pit lanes.


The heavy NASCAR cars require large engines. NASCAR cars utilize a 5.86-liter V8 engine. This is a powerful and durable engine. F1 cars use a 1.6-liter V-6 Turbo engine. The turbocharge allows drivers to use a turbo feature that gives their car a brief boost in speed. Both cars use gasoline to fuel them. However, in a NASCAR race, cars are allowed to refuel throughout pit stops. In F1 teams cannot refuel during pit stops.