How to test your new F1 racing car

Published On: March 31 2024

So, you’ve developed a brand new Formula 1 racing car. Congratulations! Now you need to test it to destruction in a series of crash tests before it is certified to race. Or more to the point the FIA (F1’s governing body) crash test it for you, as part of their commitment to safety.

Each car has an area around the driver designated as a ‘survival cell’. It is the intense design and extensive testing of this cell that enables drivers to literally walk away from seemingly devastating crashes.

 

The FIA rules on testing

The rules on how survival cell and other tests should be performed are detailed in the 2024 Formula 1 Technical Regulations as follows:

“All impact tests must be carried out in accordance with FIA Test Procedure 01/00, in the presence of an FIA technical delegate and by using measuring equipment which has been calibrated to the satisfaction of the FIA technical delegate.

“All static and dynamic load tests must be performed with the secondary roll structure (whether dummy or otherwise) removed. All homologation tests on the survival cell will be carried out before the Zylon panels … have been fitted.”

We’ve got no actual schematics, but we’ll be that load cells play a crucial part in all these test as they do in

 

What is homologation?

In motorsport, homologation is

“A testing and certification process for vehicles, circuits, and related equipment for conformance to technical standards, (and) confirms conformity to standards or categorisation criteria typically set by the sporting authority.“

 

F1 crash tests required

According to the 2024 Formula 1 Technical Regulations Article 13: Safety Structures and Homologation, the tests include:

  • Survival cell frontal impact test
  • Roll structure testing including centreline and lateral tests
  • Survival cell load tests including fuel tank side, floors, cockpit rim and engine separation tests
  • Side impact structure tests including push-off tests
  • Front impact structure test including push-off and dynamic tests
  • Rear impact structure test including static load
  • Steering column impact test
  • Headrest load test

For all the nitty gritty details, you can download the Regulations at the Fia site

According to an article in RN365, each car actually undergoes two sets of tests:

1. One set on a complete, new car as it starts the race

2. A second set which are performed on the car as damaged by the first set of results, to show that the car can withstand secondary impact.

(This article also goes into details of the car structures tested if you are interested.)

 

How much does it cost to enter a car?

Reading the various Regulations reveals some fascinating insights into F1 racing, including how much it costs to enter. According to the Formula 1 Sporting Regulations, the better you do either as a Constructor or as a Competitor in the previous season the more you pay, with the previous season winner paying the most!

“The winner of the 2021 World Championship for Constructors will be required to pay a basic fee of US$577,278 1 plus US$6,9261 for each point gained in the 2021 World Championship for Constructors.

ii) Every other Competitor will be required to pay a basic fee of US$577,2781 plus US$5,7701 for each point that the Competitor gained in the 2021 World Championship for Constructors.“

 

Load cells for racing cars

At the Load Cell Shop, we’ve supplied load cells for a range of vehicle testing including for a car entering the World Time Attack Challenge.

If you need specialist load cells for your next racing model, or for any vehicle testing, just contact us with your requirements.