How Much Does An F1 Car Weigh?

The level of detail which goes into formulating the regulations applicable to formula one every year is very detailed. The governing body doesn’t only look at the racing rules, safety protocols, or other more generalized actions but drills down to the smallest detail, which includes the weight of each piston in the engines.

The weight of the 2022 Formula One season car has increased from 749 kgs to 798 kgs. This weight limit caters to the many changes to the formula one cars that came into effect in 2022, particularly with the introduction of 18-inch wheels and the inclusion of substantial safety improvements.

Controlling the weight of a Formula One car is essential to the final results teams achieve on the track. Teams count savings in grams, and considerable effort is spent on reducing the weight of a car over the season; however, this activity has to happen within the minimum weight criteria set by Formula One.

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An F1 Car Weight Is Strictly Controlled

F1 teams employ some of the best brains in the motor industry, constantly looking at ways to improve the cars and give themselves an advantage over the other teams.

They look at achieving these gains in several different ways, which include.

The Cars Aerodynamic Efficiency

Despite commonly thought, F1 cars are not super slippery regarding aerodynamic efficiency.

In fact, quite the opposite, and with the new 2022 regulations in place and the move to allowing ground effect cars, the teams spend most of their research time looking at how to improve the downforce.

With increased downforce comes more drag, which has a cost in terms of top speed.

The downforce, however, plays a massive effect on the car’s performance in the corners and how fast the drivers can move through twisty circuits.

It is demonstrated by the difference between the 2022 Red Bull Racing RBPT and the 2022 Ferrari. While the Red Bull car has a clear speed advantage, on most tracks, it is Ferrari that could have carried the day. On a separate note, the leaderboard doesn’t reflect this because Ferrari has had embarrassing reliability issues.

The Engine Power

In 2022 the Red Bull Racing RBPT will be the most powerful on the field, and this show on tracks with long fast straights where downforce is not as important as the short and twisty circuits.

The Brakes

Slowing down from very high speeds becomes a racing advantage if the driver can start stopping later than his opponents.

The Cars Weight

The weight of a formula one car is a significant factor in the overall competitiveness of the vehicle.

On a circuit like the Spanish one in Barcelona, it is said that one-kilogram saving will increase the track time by 3/10th of a second.

On a race that takes 55 laps to complete, that equates to

 3/10th & 55 circuits equal 16.5 seconds improvement.

Consider that at the end of the recently run Paris grand Prix (Circuit Paul Ricard), the difference between 1st and 3rd position was 16.495 seconds. If the following teams had been able to find 1 kg of weight saving, they would have been first.

What Are The 2022 Weight Regulations

Between the 2021 and 2022 seasons, the allowed weight of the Formula One cars was increased from 749 kg to 798kgs.

The changes were brought about by the rule change, which applies to the 2022 season.

The weight changes result from the following modifications to the 2022 car.

The F1 Cars Floor

From 2022 the cars are allowed to use to generate downforce by creating ground-effect. The floors are aerodynamically designed to create a suction underneath the car, which pulls it towards the road.

These floors have added some weight to the car.

The F1 Cars Wheels

The wheels used by F1 cars have increased from 13 inches to much bigger (and heavier ) 18-inch rims.

The Cars Chassis

The 2022 car chassis have been significantly re-engineered and is designed to protect the driver in more severe crashes.

These changes have increased the car’s weight.

How Are The Weight Regulations Applied

The regulations which F1 teams have to follow are incredibly long and complex and include everything from.

  • The car’s aerodynamics
  • The tires
  • The mechanical components of the engine
  • The structure of the driver’s protective cell.
  • The cars ride height
  • The fuel which is used

Within the major categories, the weight restrictions are drilled down to very small details; for example, the following are regulated within the engine weight categories.

  • The car’s weight
  • Total Engine weight
  • Total weight of the MGU-H
  • Total weight of the MGU-K
  • The total weight of the whole energy recovery system
  • The total weight of the energy storage device  (including any clamping
  • plates) and electrical connections between cells
  • Maximum weight of each piston
  • The weight of the driver’s seat.

How Do The Regulations Affect The Driver

There are strict weight controls on the driver, which particularly impacts the overall vehicle weight.

The weight limit is the minimum value that each driver can weigh. The reason this is imposed is to prevent the teams from trying to recruit drivers who may weigh less and therefore give them an advantage,

The regulations stipulate that the driver must weigh no less than 80kgs at the end of the race; they can lose between 2kgs and 4kgs during a race, and the weight has to be carefully managed.

The difference in weight between the drivers is extreme, particularly when you consider that the difference between the height of the shortest and tallest drivers are

  • Yuki Tsunoda (AlphaTauri) is the shortest driver at 5’2”  (1.58m) and weighs 54 kg.
  • The two tallest drivers are  Alex Albon (Williams) and Esteban Ocon (Alpine) at  6’1” (1.85m) and who weigh 74 kg and 66kg, respectively.

As very few (if any) drivers weigh 80kgs or more, the teams have to compensate by installing ballast in the car to ensure that the difference in driver weight causes no competitive advantage.

The ballast is not allowed to be used strategically by changing the weight and balance ratio of the car and must be installed in the cockpit.

The height, weight, and ballast the relevant teams have to install in the cars to bring them up to weight, are listed below.

DriverTeamHeightWeightPosition in 2022 champsBallast added
Esteban OconAlpine Renault1.86 m66 kg814 kg
Alex AlbonWilliams Mercedes1.86 m74 kg196 kg
George RussellMercedes1.85 m70 kg510 kg
Nicholas LatifiWilliams Mercedes1.85 m73 kg207 kg
Lance StrollAston Martin Aramco Mercedes1.82 m70 kg1810 kg
Max VerstappenRed Bull Racing RBPT1.81 m72  kg18 kg
Charles LeclercFerrari1.80 m69 kg211 kg
Daniel RicciardoMcLaren Mercedes1.80 m66 kg1214 kg
Carlos SainzFerrari1.78 m64 kg416 kg
Pierre GaslyAlphaTauri RBPT1.77 m70 kg1310 kg
Mick SchumacherHaas Ferrari1.76 m67 kg1513 kg
Kevin MagnussenHaas Ferrari1.76 m68 kg1112 kg
Guanyu ZhouAlfa Romeo Ferrari1.75 m63 kg1717 kg
Sebastian VettelAston Martin Aramco Mercedes1.75 m62 kg1418 kg
Lewis HamiltonMercedes1.74 m73 kg67 kg
Sergio PerezRed Bull Racing RBPT1.73 m63 kg317 kg
Valtteri BottasAlfa Romeo Ferrari1.73 m69 kg911 kg
Fernando AlonsoAlpine Renault1.71m68 kg1012 kg
Lando NorrisMcLaren Mercedes1.70 m68 kg712 kg
Yuki TsunodaAlphaTauri RBPT1.59 m54 kg1626 kg

How Much F1 Cars Have Weighed Over The Years

Since the 1960s, when weight limits were first introduced in Formula One, the maximum weight has tracked steadily upwards.

In the 73 years in the interim, the F1 cars permitted weight has almost doubled from 450kg to 798 kg.

The changes have generally been made as a result of the following factors.

  • Engine technology changes.
  • Safety changes.
  • Performance changes to improve the racing capacity of the cars.
YearWeightWhat influenced the weight change
1950 – 1960No Weight Limit1. Not applicable.
1961 – 1965450 kg1. First weight limit.
1966 – 1969500 Kg1. First-time mid-engine car in series.
1970530 kg1. Addition of the ‘double four valve’ three-liter v8 engine.
1972550 kg1. Safety foam added to fuel tanks,
2. The magnesium sheeting had to be more than 3 mm thick, 15w,
3. Red rear light mandatory,
4. Headrest required,
5. Minimum cockpit dimensions,
6. Combined electrical cut off
7. Extinguisher external handle required,
8. Fuel tanks to meet FIA specifications.
1973 – 1981575 kg1. Safety bladder fuel cell tanks were introduced,
2. The crushable structure around fuel tanks became mandatory,
3. No chrome plating of suspension parts allowed.
1982580 kg1. Rigid skirts were legalized, and ride height restrictions were removed.
1983 – 1986540 kg1. Outlawing of ground effect cars return to a flat undertray,
2. Four-wheel drive banned.
1987 – 1990500 kg1. Survival cell,
2. Fuel cell mandatory.
1991 – 1993505 kg1. Changed survival cells,
2. Seat belts,
3. Fuel tanks,
4. Rollbar.
1994515 kg1. The distance of front end plates to the flat bottom increased from 25 to 40 mm (0.98 to 1.57 in),
2. Headrest risen from 80 to 400 cm2 (12 to 62 in2).
1995495 kg1. The engine capacity was reduced from 3,500 to 3,000 cc,
2. Inch safety straps are mandatory,
3. The height of the front wing was increased,
4. Longer and higher cockpit openings.
1996 – 2002600 kg1. The cars were required to carry FIA ADR (accident data recorder),
2. The Rear and the lateral headrest were made as a one-piece unit,
3. Wheel tethers were added,
4. V10 engines, which displaced 3000cc, were added,
5. Traction control,
6. Beryllium alloys in chassis or engine construction were banned,
7. The entry space in the cockpit increased, and the driver survival cell concept was introduced,
8. The rear wings were changed to include no more than 3 elements.
2003 – 2008605 kg1. HANS (Head And Neck Support) system is a mandatory,
2. The rear overhang increased from 50 cm (20 in) to 60 cm (24 in),
3. Rear diffuser size reduced,
4. The engine capacity was restricted to 2400 cc, and a V8 engine was introduced to reduce horsepower,
5. The use of non-ferrous materials in the engine’s construction was restricted,
6. The Rear wing structure was strengthened to prevent flexing,
7. Increased strength is required from the rear crash structure.
2009605 kg1. Every aerodynamic device was banned except the front and rear wing,
2. Variable front aerodynamic devices are permitted,
3. Introduction of KERS (kinetic energy recovery system).
2010620 kg1. The front tire width was reduced from 270 mm (11 in) to 245 mm (9.6 in),
2. KERS was withdrawn for the 2010 season.
2011-2012640 kg1. Re-introduction of KERS.
2013642 kg1. “Modesty panels” were introduced to compensate for the previous year’s front nose reprofiling.
2014690 kg1. New Engines And Heavy And Complex ERS system,
2. KERS (now known as ERS-K) was introduced.
2015-2016702 kg1. Nose redesign.
2017728 kg1. The width of the car width increased to 2000 mm,
2. The front tire width increased from 245 mm to 305 mm,
3. The rear tire width increased from 325 mm to 405 mm,
4. Shark fins are brought back,
5. T-wings were introduced through a loophole,
6. Barge board sizes also increased.
2018733 kg1. Shark fins banned,
2. T-Wings have been banned,
3. Halo cockpit protection device becomes mandatory.
2019740 kg1. The front wing was simplified,
2. The rear wing was required to become 100 mm (3.9 in) wider,
3. The total gas capacity was increased from 105 kg (231 lb) to 110 kg (240 lb),
4. The car’s weight no longer includes the driver’s weight.
2020746 kg1. The end 50 mm (2.0 in) of the car’s front wings were banned from containing any metals.
2021749 kg N/A
2022798 kg1. Bigger Wheels,
2. Total Engine weight increased,
3. Total weight of the MGU-H,
4. Total weight of the MGU-K,
5. The total weight of the whole energy recovery system,
6. Front Wing,
7. Safety equipment increased.


The Formula One teams have very little “wriggle room” when it comes down to looking for a way to achieve lower car weights or any other performance enhancement designed to give them a competitive edge.

Tolerances and changes are measured in micro units and the advantages in 100th of seconds; however, as the difference in qualifying times is sometimes a 100th of a second, every gain they can achieve works in their favor.