Do F1 Cars Have Traction Control? (Explained)

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Seeing the way F1 drivers spin and drive, you may think the cars are not built with any sort of driving controls such as Traction Control and Anti-braking System. But do F1 cars have traction control?

Well, your guess is right, F1 cars are not built with traction control or other seemingly safety controls/systems used on conventional cars. The drivers of F1 cars rely on their expertise to control the cars along the tracks all through a race.

Formula 1 (F1) is practically the highest motor racing competition globally. It is a type of sports, actually, done with specially-designed cars that output 1000+ HP at the rear wheels. All cars used for F1 racing are specially built for the purpose – you practically can’t drive them on regular roads and tracks.

What is Traction Control System?

Traction Control System (TCS) is a “driver safety” feature added to conventional vehicles to help maintain grip when driving on any road, including wet roads. The system activates when it detects loss of traction on the car’s wheels – when it appears your tires are losing grip on the road.

In simple words, the TCS helps drivers to regain control over their cars when driving on slippery tracks, or when a tire starts to lose grip (probably because of worn-out treads). The Traction Control System is usually optional in any car it is included – you can turn it on/off.

Do F1 Cars Have Traction Control?

Adding traction control to Formula 1 cars may look like an ideal thing to do, but it’d make the sports uninteresting for most watchers – and even the drivers.

The fun on F1 is the crashes, unreal maneuvering, high speeds, and the spinning of the cars. Traction control won’t let you spin as conveniently as you wish.

So, F1 cars are not built with a traction control system, making the racers (drivers) practice harder to be able to control and handle over 1000 horsepower without any technical assistance or feature. Instead of safety features like the ABS, TCS, and others, Formula 1 cars are built with more-sophisticated and advanced ECUs.

The ECU – Engine Control Unit – in Formula 1 cars facilitate communication between the drivers and their different teams. This tech also lets the drivers/teams measure and control virtually all aspects of F1 cars.

However, sometimes in the 1990s, traction control was introduced to Formula 1, but it didn’t go well – so it got banned by the FIA.

Traction control systems were introduced in F1 cars in the early 1990s because it was thought that the systems could make the sports more fun and safer. But, the F1 drivers criticized the tech, stating that it made the sports “easier” and cars that had the system are a step ahead of others that didn’t.

The controversies led to the banning of traction control systems on F1 cars. We probably won’t be seeing such driver assistance features on F1 cars; the sports is more fun and exciting when the drivers are solely in charge of controlling their vehicles at blazing speeds – you’ve got to prove you’re an expert driver in F1 sports!

What Replaces Traction Control in Formula 1 Cars?

There is no particular system to point out here. However, the cars are built with programmable “engine maps,” usually three maps.

Among the three maps, one produces more power at the expense of higher fuel consumption and engine wear; another may be programmed to offer less engine power with improved fuel economy, and of course, lower engine wear. The last map may be programmed differently.

The F1 driver can select any of these maps while on the tracks, based on different conditions, or information provided by his team.

How Do F1 Drivers Manage to Handle Thousands of Horsepower?

If you own a car, you’d definitely want to know how F1 drivers are able to control their cars effectively even at such unreal speeds they drive. Well, as said earlier, F1 cars are custom-built for F1 racing only; hence, the cars come with some specific adjustments in some areas.

Formula 1 is a sport of skills and experience. The drivers typically possess unreal driving skills gotten from their many years of experience in driving. F1 cars have their steering system built differently – the same with their braking systems.

Knowing how to drive perfectly doesn’t really mean you could do well in F1; you’ve got to train separately for F1 – if you’re actually going to the game to score points! Simply, F1 drivers train to handle high speeds – that’s why they drive at such speeds like it’s a norm.


So, do F1 cars have traction control system? No, they don’t, and they don’t have other conventional driver safety technologies seen on regular cars. Formula 1 cars are built specifically for the sports and they cannot be driven anywhere else except on the F1 tracks.

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