Formula 1 is the highest level of motor racing, the pinnacle of motor sports. However, thanks to decades of ingenuity and scientific advancements, it always seems possible to make improvements. While some production cars can almost compete with an F1 car in terms of acceleration, none of them can keep up with them at full speed through the corners.
With the push for cleaner energy and electric vehicles, automakers have had to get creative for the next generation of enthusiasts, including those at the highest levels of racing. That’s why Formula E, an all-electric racing series, seems like a middle ground for conservationists and oil enthusiasts. However, the question remains: which is faster?
What is Formula E?
Formula 1 is the highest level of competition for single-seater cars approved by the FIA (Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile) and Formula E is the highest level of competition for single-seater electric cars. The quest for cleaner energy is not only for mass consumer cars, but also for racing cars.
Despite the fans’ lack of roaring engine noises, Formula E was never built to compete directly with Formula 1, but to be in its own category. In addition to the lack of noise, the maximum speed of Formula E is limited compared to its counterparts.
Formula 1 vs. Formula E: Speed differences
Is Formula E really fast? Unlike production touring cars, electric power is at a disadvantage compared to petrol-powered F1 cars. However, they are not to be outdone as they can reach 100 km/h from a standstill in just 2.8 seconds. Working for 45 minutes, these electric cars can reach a speed of 280 km/h.
Although these figures are lower than its gasoline counterpart, Formula E was never intended to directly compete with Formula 1, but rather to accelerate the transition to electric power. While these acceleration figures are comparable to some production cars, none of them corner like an F1 car. With parts specially designed and manufactured for speed, Formula 1 cars run between 4G and 6G.
Formula 1 vs. Formula E: Which is the fastest?
Finally, Formula 1 is faster than Formula E, which is to be expected given how new the latter is. Although Formula E cars are equipped with very complex parts, many improvements need to be made before they can compare and compete with Formula 1 cars.
For example, a Formula 1 car produces just over 1,000 horsepower, while Formula E cars have an artificial limit of 350 horsepower. The power limitation leads to slower acceleration and top speed, and at 385kg the heavy battery configuration of Formula E cars doesn’t necessarily help the car to be faster.
While battery packs and engine configurations can be improved, it’s really the power limit that limits what Formula E cars can do. Lightweight carbon materials and power advantages put it ahead of its Formula 1 counterpart.
Formula E circuits also play a role. To help with regenerative braking, Formula E circuits are usually full of sharp corners that keep speeds down.
Formula E has great potential
Formula E has the potential to be more fun, although enthusiasts side with its petrol counterpart. However, as it is not a direct competitor, Formula E has its own way of having fun at the circuits. With lighter batteries and advances in powertrain components, only time will tell what Formula E has in store.