Formula 1 racing is always about G-force loads. That is why Formula 1 racing is one of the most dangerous sports in the world. Yes, Lewis Hamilton was right in this case. But what is G-force and how does it feel? And how much is enough? It might surprise you, but F1 G-force are 20 times greater than what you experience in everyday life. Racing Trend has gathered the top facts that you need to know about G-forces in Formula 1. Let’s dive into the details.
G-forces in Your everydays.
G-froces are what we experience when under acceleration or deceleration in a given direction. It revolves around gravity and how most of us experience it every day. We do not have a problem with it because we are used to it, whereas high speed has changed the situation. For example, we feel uncomfortable in the lift or in the plane, especially when it is flying up or boarding. In this case, we feel more than 1.3G of force on our bodies.
You can feel 4G of force when taking a sharp corner at 100 mph by a car. Riding a roller coaster is another way to experience huge G-forces.
Formula Rossa roller coaster has a speed of 0 to 240 km/h in 4.9 seconds and will give you a thrilling feeling of 4.8Gs in your stomach as you climb heart-racing heights of 52m. While the record-holder of Gs giveaway is Tower of Terror at Gold Reef City in South Africa. The highest g-force is 6.3Gs here.
There is no need to pack baggage to Africa for it, as the impact of G-forces feels great, especially while on the Flip Flap Railway.
How fast is 6.3G of force?
Well, let’s take your average weight and multiply it 6.3 times. Thus, during a 6.3-G turn, the hands, head and other parts of the body weigh six times harder. The weight impact will be distributed over the entire body mass.
Thus, when you fly in a plane, you will feel the load equal to your weight. That is 1G force.
Except for those who like to hit nerves, such feelings aren’t as good as you might expect. Since you do not possess a fully developed vestibular system like an astronaut, a ride like this is something you will never forget, especially your physique. However, Formula 1 drivers experience G-forces ten times higher! In addition, the G-forces in F1 are a bit different. Astronauts, no less.
What is G-force in F1?
G-force in Formula 1 refers to the powerful impact of resistance force gained at high speed, which is felt by Formula 1 drivers during high acceleration, hard braking, or even more importantly, during high-speed crashes. Therefore, the faster the driver moves, the more impact he feels.
Although, there is a difference between vertical and lateral g-forces in F1. Previously, the case dealt with lateral G-forces in the majority of cases. But since the 2022 Formula 1 season, all drivers have experienced the additional force of cars bouncing. Due to this, racers have been struggling with vertical g-forces when the F1 car is porpoising, which is about 0.6G.
How much G-force in F1?
The average G-force in Formula 1 is about 6G and may change depending on the racing circuit.
Formula 1 drivers typically experience 5G while braking, 2G while accelerating, 0,6G due to bouncing, and 6G while cornering. It also has been increasing due to heavy braking and high-speed cornering, and may reach 9G.
But the most dangerous G-forces in Formula 1 come with a high-speed crash, when the driver may experience 30-60G or more at the time of impact.
The circuits in terms of F1 G-forces.
Of course each racing track has its own conditions and it also makes sense in terms of G-force in F1. Therefore, such circuits as Turkish Istanbul Park, Belgian Spa-Francorchamps with the legendary Eau Rouge, Japanese Suzuka with its iconic 130R turn, Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal are the most dangerous.
Though F1 tracks have been upgraded year after year for safety reasons, as it happened with Spa-Francorchamps in 2021, you must keep in mind one clear formula: high loads. In F1, every track layout that includes long straights with sharp turns at the end is about massive G-forces. The longer the straight and the sharper the corner, the harder it is to brake. As a result, the driver is subjected to a G-force impact. The opposite is not true.
The new Saudi Arabian racing circuit Jeddah has also been regarded as one of the most dangerous. Hence, a year after its debut with few layout changes, the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix 2022 became one of the best F1 races of recent years. Jeddah has smooth angles in the majority of its circuit layout. Therefore, Formula 1 drivers pacing the turns at high speed throughout the Grand Prix.
F1 max G-forces.
The G-force a driver feels during a race and during a crash is completely different. But the faster the driver goes during the crash, the more G-force he gets. Sometimes such incidents can even prove to be fatal.
The tragic accident occurred with the legendary Ayrton Senna in 1994. He was moving at a much faster speed, which doubled the cornering force by 1.5G. Senna’s crash G-force was 3.27G. The legendary Brazilian driver was not protected by HANS or HALO safety systems at the time.
Michael Schumacher’s brother was involved in another impossible crash. In 2004 US Grand Prix Ralf Schumacher crashed his Williams car into the walls of Indianapolis Motor Speedway due to a tire puncture. Ralf Schumacher got into a 78G crash. There are only a few people who remember the accident today, but Ralf had to recuperate for a long time afterwards. A crack in his spine developed as a result of such G-force loads. German F1 driver left the medical center, but was warned that repeated high loads would harm him.
As more technologies are developed, so does the speed of F1 cars. Everyone is amazed by the speed and G-force loads of today’s F1 cars.
Thus in 2014 when Jules Bianchi lost control during the Japanese Grand Prix and collided with the rear of a tractor crane carrying the car of Adrian Sutil, he suffered 254G.was put into a medically induced coma before succumbing to his injuries in 2015. Currently, it is the highest g-force in F1 crash.
The highest G-forces in Formula 1 of past years.
In 2019 FIA F2 young and talented driver Anthoine Hubert hit the barrier at Turn Four at Spa Francorchamps at a speed of 216km/h. He faiced the force of 33.7G. The analysis of the black boxes of Hubert cars showed that the car driven by Juan Manuel Correa made a second impact of 81.8G.
Thus during the 2020 Bahrain Grand Prix Romain Grosjean got 67G impact when he clipped the wing of Daniil Kvyat’s AlphaTauri. He slammed into a barrier at close to 200kph! The car was pushed into the barrier and separated, causing a massive fireball. Romain Grosjean escaped with only second-degree burns to his hands.
In 2021 Max Verstappen reflected 51G impact when he struck the barrier at a sideways after collision with Lewis Hamilton on British Grand Prix. Verstappen was disoriented but suffered no major injuries.
In 2022, Shumacher had a horror accident with 33G impact at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix when he crashed into the concrete wall at over 150mph! The medical examination showed no major injuries.
How much G-force is enough?
Normal humans can handle a 9G impact and for only a few seconds. As you already know, G-force load increases your weight. Thus, the body feels nine times heavier. An upward acceleration of 5G is enough to overwhelm the ability of the heart to pump blood to brain. The maximum force an individual can survive is 10G. As 5G may have a very negative impact on human health, how do F1 drivers face 6G and still feel well after two hours of racing?
First of all they have special equipment. It is a protective head restraint that keeps the driver safe and helps them cope with pressure. F1 drivers wear a HANS device around their necks. This collar solves the problem of strengthening the neck. It is attached to the F1 helmet, with a Halo system. All these devices provide almost full safety for the head of the F1 driver. But there is another key to F1 drivers struggling with huge F1 G-force loads well.
Do F1 drivers train for G-force?
It is better to say that G-force training is the epicenter of all training. You may have noticed how frequently Sergio Perez and Max Verstappen train their necks, hands, and spines. They pull and hold weights with these in the gym, which is very similar to resisting g-forces at the racing track. A strong neck, shoulders, and hands are crucial in racing an F1 car.
So, no wonder that with his neck, Pierre Gasly may lift a dumbbell weighing tens of kilograms. Fernando Alonso can chop walnuts with the muscles of his neck. In Formula 1, Pierre Gasly and Alonso have the strongest necks, like Sergio Perez and Lewis Hamilton.
Everyday, we experience G-force, when we fly in a plane or even when we are up in a lift. When it happens to us for the first time, we feel a bit uncomfortable. We feel fine with these small loads now that we have become accustomed to them. Although, F1 G-force is about a different level of impact. Massive loads and high resistance forces are involved.
Roller coasters can be like this, but they happen once, while 10G is the maximum force a human can survive. F1 drivers can feel the effects of 6G throughout the entire 2 hour race. They feel 5G while braking, 2G while accelerating, 0,6G due to bouncing. Numbers may change and increase. It depends on the layout of the circuit. The drivers are most affected by F1 G-forces during a high-speed crash. Sometimes, these loads reach 100Gs and even 200Gs.
Sometimes, these accidents may be fatal. Thus Ayrton Senna’s crash in 1994 was 3.27Gs. Anthoine Hubert’s tragic crash at Spa Francorchamps in 2019 was catastrophic due to a double impact: 33.7G and 81.8G.
The G-forces in Formula 1 have been increasing, as the new F1 cars are different. Drivers today have special safety systems like HANS and HALO, but even these cannot guarantee 100% safety. Thus, G-force training is an essential part of their workouts.