The Physics Factbook
Edited by Glenn Elert -- Written by his students
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|Formula 1: New speed record for Hockenheim Circuit. German News - English Edition Fr. 31.07.1998.||"Michael Schumacher/Germany has come in 5th during the training runs for the Grand Prix Germany. Mika Haekkinen/Finland and David Coulthard/Scotland have set up a new formula 1 speed record for the Hockenheim Circuit: 356 kilometres/hour (that's more than 221 miles/hour)."||98.89 m/s|
|"Fastest Cars." Guinness World Records. London: Gullane. 2003.||"A Mclaren F1, on March 31, 1998, reached 386.7 km/h"||107.4 m/s|
|Charlie. Mechanic. Street Smart Security & Performance Corp. Telephone Interview.||"Formula One Cars can reach 225 mph."||100 m/s|
|De Groote, Steven. F1 Technical - all time records.||"Fastest Grand Prix
Peter Gethin won the Grand Prix of 1971 with an average speed of 242,616 km/h."
|What Speed do Formula One Cars Reach? The FIA's 66 Answers to 66 Questions. 2000.||"The Grand Prix with the highest average speed in history was the 1971 Italian Grand Prix, won by Peter Gethin in a BRM at an average speed of 242.615 kph (150.754 mph) on the Monza circuit which at the time did not yet have any chicanes (interestingly, a recent computer simulation suggested that current Formula One cars would achieve an average speed of well over 300 kph - 190 mph - on the original circuit). In 1998, the fastest Grand Prix was the Italian, won by Michael Schumacher at an average of 237.591 kph (147.633 mph). The highest speed recorded during practice in 1998 was 244.413 kph (151.971 mph), which was set at Monza by Eddie Irvine, whilst the highest straight line speed recorded during a Grand Prix in the 1998 season was set by David Coulthard, at 356.5 kph (221.5 mph), during the German Grand Prix. The lowest average speed of a Grand Prix winner in 1998 was 141.458 kph (87.898 mph), and was recorded by Mika Hakkinnen in the Monaco Grand Prix."||39.2938–99.0277 m/s|
Some may ask what is the formula for a formula one race car. Immediately after its creation in 1904, the Federation Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA), which is the international sporting authority, became obliged to formulate restrictions to ensure the safety of the drivers and spectators, and to guide motor sport in a direction which would benefit the development of road cars. From 1907 to 1939, almost every possible formula was tried. The minimum weight, maximum weight, consumption and bore were each restricted at some time, but the formula most frequently used, even after 1939, was to limit the cylinder capacity of the engines. The current formula restricts the cylinder capacity of the engine to 3 litres, prohibits supercharging and sets a minimum weight of 600 kg, including the weight of the driver and his race equipment.
Following the introduction of the first "formula" defined by the FIA (which restricted maximum weight) in 1904, categories were created for the smaller cars, yet the name "Formula One" did not appear until after the Second World War. The FIA Formula One World Championship was created in 1950, and the first Formula One race counting for the FIA Formula One World Championship was the British Grand Prix, which took place in Silverstone the 13th May 1950.
But more famous than FIA Formula One Championship Racing Championship is the Grand Prix, with its own separate racing history. The first race to be given the "Grand Prix" title was the Grand Prix de l'Automobile Club de France held at Le Mans in 1906. It was restricted to "big cars", which could be described as the "Formula One" cars of the period. From then on, the term Grand Prix became associated with all types of circuit races for cars. Major events, which were the equivalent of today's Grand Prix, were called "Grandes Epreuves" (Great Events). However, the FIA was opposed to the popular usage of the "Grand Prix" title, which it wished to reserve for events counting towards its Formula One World Championship. Therefore, it became prohibited to use the Grand Prix title for an event, which did not count towards this Championship.
So what speeds do these formula one cars usually race at? There is a large span in speeds but a ball park number that you would be able to use in conversation is about 300 kph - 190 mph - 85 m/s. The Grand Prix with the highest average speed in history was the 1971 Italian Grand Prix, won by Peter Gethin at an average speed of 242.615 kph (150.744 mph) on the Monza circuit. In 1998, the fastest Grand Prix was the Italian, won by Michael Schumacher at an average of 237.591 kph (147.633 mph). The highest speed recorded during practice in 1998 was 244.413 kph (151.971 mph), which was set at Monza by Eddie Irvine and lastly the highest straight line speed recorded during a Grand Prix, which I have already stated, season was set by David Coulthard in the 1998, at 356.5 kph (221.5 mph), during the German Grand Prix. The lowest average speed of a Grand Prix winner in 1998 was 141.458 kph (87.898 mph), and was recorded by Mika Hakkinnen in the Monaco Grand Prix.
Robert Napolitano -- 2004
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