How Are NASCAR And F1 Cars Different?

How Are NASCAR And F1 Cars Different

While some may think they are similar because they are both involved in motor racing, NASCAR cars and F1 cars are completely different from one another. NASCAR cars look more like sedans, enclosed and covered cars. Meanwhile, an 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, however. Other differences include the process by which the cars are designed, their abilities, and the engines. The difference in racing styles has caused the evolution of the cars to go in opposite directions. NASCAR is considered a marathon; strong and durable cars help drivers succeed in long 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 and aerodynamic setups. These differences are one of the most important parts of F1. Some teams have bigger budgets, and 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 dictate the size and shape of different parts of the car, such as the roof or quarter panels. The teams must conform to the templates but are free to deviate in the areas of the car not controlled by templates. Although the colors and branding on each NASCAR car may make it stand out, the bodies are incredibly similar. In contrast to Formula 1, every NASCAR chassis is built by a single supplier in an effort to keep costs down. F1 cars cost about $15 million each, while NASCAR cars only cost around $200,000 to $600,000 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. The NASCAR car resembles a sedan; it has a closed top, covered tires, a roll cage, and a round steering wheel with no buttons.

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 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. Furthermore, 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 usually 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.

One difference between the two cars is their top speeds. Holding back the NASCAR is its weight (3000 lbs) compared to the F1 car (1600 lbs). NASCAR cars usually max out at 210 mph, while the F1 cars can push above 240 mph. However, because of the differences in track configurations, both series reach similar top speeds of just over 200 mph during normal competition.

Another difference is in the brake design and requirements. In NASCAR, drivers do not need to brake too often compared to F1. In NASCAR, drivers need to brake mainly in order to set up passing moves, enter the pit lanes, or avoid a collision. On oval courses, NASCAR drivers rarely use the brakes, and only then for brief instants. In F1, racers need to brake more frequently. 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.


nascar Engines

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 hybrid engine. The turbocharger and hybrid power plant allow drivers to use a feature that gives their car a brief boost in speed. Both cars use gasoline to fuel them even though their engines are very different. However, in a NASCAR race, cars are allowed to refuel throughout pit stops. In F1, teams cannot refuel during pit stops.


What’s the biggest difference between NASCAR and F1 cars?

The biggest visual difference between NASCAR cars and F1 cars is their shapes. NASCAR vehicles are stock cars and resemble sedan-style vehicles, typically including a wide hood, wheels contained within the body, and an enclosed driver’s cabin with a tail spoiler. Meanwhile, F1 cars have exposed wheels and an aerodynamic shape, with thin noses that include wings, an open cockpit, and large spoilers. F1 cars are designed to be more agile, fast, and drag-reducing than NASCAR vehicles.

Is an F1 car faster than a NASCAR car?

An F1 car is faster than a NASCAR car, both in terms of top speed and acceleration. While the speeds regularly achieved in competition are similar, the top speed in Formula 1 is 246 mph, compared to 212 mph in NASCAR. The lightweight design and efficient engines found in Formula 1 cars mean that they are also faster to accelerate than NASCAR stock cars. The 0-62 mph time for a Formula 1 car is 2.5 seconds, with a NASCAR car taking about one second longer.

Are F1 cars safer than NASCAR cars?

While both F1 and NASCAR have made many advancements in protective technology over the decades, even today, NASCAR cars are generally considered to be safer than F1 cars. While injuries and fatalities are rare in both sports, NASCAR cars have certain safety advantages over F1 cars, such as their durable roll cages, which protect drivers during crashes. NASCAR vehicles are also fully enclosed, whereas F1 cars have open cockpits.