Racing Line – The Truth and The Poison

Racing Line – The Truth and The Poison

Racing Line, an imaginary line for the fastest way around the track is completely false. In the wake of the British Gp incident, the racing line argument has cropped up again. In this section, we look into the aspects of the racing line, and how F1 drivers use it to their advantage to improve the lap time.

Why do you need Racing Line.

First, we look into the segments of a corner, In the diagram below we have four elements of a corner. Braking point, Turning point, Apex, and Exit.

How to Drive the Perfect Racing Line - Fast Through Apex & Exit
Segments of a Corner

This is an ideal situation for any car in this isolated corner. The Racing line also depends on the corner or the straight it follows. How you come out of the corner affects the speed and entry into another corner. This is also called a Geometric Line, the bigger the arc, the faster the speed through the corner. This improves the lap time.

Ideal Racing Line in Race

During Racing, though it is a different story, the section after the corner is important than the corner itself. Straights are pretty critical. If you carry just 1 mile more of speed through the corner, the straight coming after will have gains of 2-3 Mph difference due to the compounding effect. So in theory the exit of the corner is more important than the entry.

Ideal Racing Line

The Greenline is the Racing line, but the Redline is the ideal line through the corner if there is a long straight after that. You spend less time in the corner the turning is shorter so the speed scrubbing is kept to the minimum, so the car can go fastest in the straight line. The other main aspect of this Redline is that drivers can get on the throttle quicker than the green racing line.

Since the turn in the Redline is later, the drivers can brake late and carry more speed in the exit of the corner. The negative is that the maximum speed of the Geometric Racing line is higher than that of the ideal line since the turn on the car and the load on the tires is maximum. Though the speed is less compared to the Greenline the drivers make more than enough in the straights to compromise the corner.

speed comparison
The speed comparison through both lines | Credits: Drivetribe

Faster the corner, the two racing lines are closer to one another. Slower the corner, the line differs greatly.


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