To this day, the F1 speed record is still said to have been set in 2004 at Monza. But the reality is completely different.
After the weekend GP of ItalyThe countdown has begun now to win the championship Max Verstappen, who could be a champion for the second time in his career already in Singapore with some special groups. The Dutchman is also close to the record set in one season Michael Schumacher e Sebastian VettelRunning with Ferrari and Red Bull. But the driver of the Anglo-Austrian team has already broken several records and will still have time to beat the others.
F1 that each season has to update its stats and records, and also an unprecedentedly crowded calendar bug that allows current teams and drivers to get records with a certain ease compared to their teammates in the past. If we think we now risk going 24 GPs per season compared to maybe 10 in the early years of F1we understand very well how some records are now outdated or anyway ready to be constantly updated.
To tell the truth, the most interesting ones are related to cars and in particular speed record. Combined with technology, teams from time to time have been challenging each other, especially in the last century, to create more powerful individual seats than ever before. The peak was reached in the 2000s, before the turbo returned to Formula 1 and the hybrid system debuted. And the king Monza, the world’s fastest circuit, has often held these records. One actually still stands today. In 2004, it was a Williams BMW Antonio Pizzonia It reached 369.9 km/h at the end of the main course of the Brianza circuit, but was defeated the following year by McLaren Mercedes. Kimi Raikkonenwhich recorded 370.1 km / h. In fact, another McLaren driver was the fastest that year in Monza tests, Juan Pablo Montoya372.6 km / h.
F1 and that speed that does not belong to Monza
However, in reality, F1’s priority is not established on the Lombard circuit but on the non-circuit. there Honda Bar He decided to embark on a certain mission. The goal was to understand if your car and F1 in general can reach 400 km/h barrier As well as dividing it. The 007 chassis was finally used Jenson Button e Takuma Sato They raced in the 2005 season. He was talking about that experience Alan van der Merwewho later drove the medical car in F1 for many years: “When the marketing department talked about Bonneville Project 400Our first reaction was: It’s not possible. They said, “We just need more engine power.” But it wasn’t that simple.”
“To achieve a certain result, a powerful and lightweight car was needed and a relatively accurate car was built. At first we couldn’t even get past first gear! The wheels turned too much and the ECU was blocked. Then we converted the car and Also fitted with a fin for extra stability at high speeds. We did a test at Lynham Air Force Base in England. My technician said I had to reach 280 km/h but then they told me I hit 360 km/h in the pits. This was due to the completely different gear ratio and the lack of downforce.”
The standard track was 200 meters wide and 17 kilometers long. To be officially certified as a speed record, the FIA requires two races on the same course. This is to compensate for the advantages of the tailwind: “Although we hit 400,454 km/h once, we couldn’t repeat it on the way back, so our average was 397.36. lost target”Van der Merwe said. In subsequent tests in the Mogawe desert, I reached i 413.205 km/h, but there was no bidirectional evidence. So the official F1 record is 397.36 km/h, the figure set by Bar Honda at Bonneville.
But are some of the firsts still possible today? Apparently no, first and foremost because F1 has switched to bigger tires since 2017 which has increased traction and lowered top speeds. In 2022, even heavier single seats with lowered tires made it impossible to set new records.