What the racing line is in Formula 1 – and why drivers try to avoid it in the wet

What exactly is the racing line in Formula 1 and why do drivers stick to it during the Grand Prix weekend? Why do they also try to avoid it in races?

There are many different ways to drive an F1 car – with all 20 drivers having slightly different driving techniques.

Some like to brake early and roll the speed through the corner before accelerating away – like Daniel Ricciardo.

Others like a car with oversteer – where the rear comes out – or understeer when the front doesn’t turn quite enough as the perfect setup.

World Champion Max Verstappen likes a car with a strong, pointy front so he can turn the car and deal with the unstable rear if it happens.

However a driver likes to drive his car, one thing is certain for everyone: he has to stay on the racing line for the fastest possible lap.

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What exactly is the racing line and why is it so important for F1 drivers on a weekend? Why do they try to avoid it when it’s wet?

Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images

What is the racing line in F1?

Essentially, the racing line in F1 is the quickest and shortest route around the lap.

The drivers try to drive the curves as straight as possible in order to achieve the highest possible minimum speed.

The general goal of each turn is to hit the apex – the closest bit of the turn to the car through the middle.

Each corner usually has a line that is the fastest – and this is what drivers will use constantly throughout the Grand Prix weekend.

As a normal, dry weekend develops, this racing line will be subject to what is known as ‘grinding in’ from the F1 cars.

As the cars consistently follow the same lines around the lap, rubber is laid down to give drivers extra grip and speed.

It’s usually lighter than the rest of the track – which is sometimes covered in tire marbles – chunks of rubber flung by the Pirellis.

Why should it be avoided when wet?

In wet conditions, the racing line in F1 can sometimes be tricky and slippery.

A driver can find extra grip and speed by going wide and trying different lines through corners to find time.

An example was the 2016 Brazilian GP, ​​which was driven in torrential rain.

After a safety car restart in turn 3, Verstappen simply drove past Nico Rosberg in the Mercedes on the outside – because the Merc was on the ideal line and Verstappen found support on the outside.

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https://www.hitc.com/en-gb/2022/06/18/racing-line-f1-wet/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=racing-line-f1-wet What the racing line is in Formula 1 – and why drivers try to avoid it in the wet

Zack Zwiezen

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