Grip is F1’s Holy Grail!

Grip is F1's Holy Grail!

Grip is F1's, Motorsport's, Everyday's Life Holy Grail!

In every car race, both real and virtual, you've probably heard the word "grip" at least once.

But what exactly is grip?

Technically speaking, grip is simply the coefficient of friction between the tire surface and the track surface.

The higher the coefficient of friction, the more grip you’ll have.

It's obvious that a soft tire compound has a higher coefficient of friction than a hard tire, generating more grip.

To give you an idea, the coefficient of friction for a regular street car tire is around 0.7, while Formula 1 tires offer a coefficient of a whopping 1.7!

To truly understand what grip is and where it comes from, we need to delve a bit into the concept of Rolling Friction.

Grip is F1's Holy Grail!

Rolling friction is what acts on objects when they roll over a surface and is infinitely weaker than the other two types of known friction: sliding friction and static friction.

This explains why most land transport vehicles use wheels: bicycles, race cars, skates, scooters, skateboards, and so on.

This friction is both the reason why tires generate grip through heat and why the same tires wear out and degrade in performance.

Let’s use a practical example: if you take two notebooks and interleave some pages, then try to pull them apart from both ends, you’ll find that it’s...

...practically impossible to separate them!

Grip is F1's Holy Grail!

This is because there’s FRICTION between the pages. 

Friction is a PASSIVE force (it comes into play when there's another force) and it always works in the opposite direction to where the object is moving or trying to go. 

So, while I’m pulling one way to separate the notebooks, friction is pulling the other way.

Obviously, the more pages you interleave, the greater the friction force, because the surface area where friction acts increases.

Additionally, the more force you use to pull in opposite directions, the more the pages press against each other, increasing the contact pressure and thus the friction force!

Grip is F1's Holy Grail!

That's why, for example, the rear tires of an F1 car or an IndyCar are wider because they are the drive wheels, transmitting power to the ground!

So, more surface area = more friction, more friction = more grip, more grip = more traction!

And, since the friction force between two surfaces (the tire and the asphalt) depends on the weight of the object on top (the tire), what can we use on the track to increase the weight pressing our tires down?

Downforce, or aerodynamic load!

Aerodynamic load doesn’t directly change the coefficient of friction, which depends on the tire compound, but it increases the friction force because it boosts the vertical force on the tires!

Think about it for a second: why are we slower on the straight when we increase the wing values?

Imagine a model car and your hand being the aerodynamic load pushing the car towards the ground.

The more you push, the more grip the car has, but it will also be slower when you try to push it forward at the same time.

Essentially, by increasing the weight on the tires (thus increasing the wing values), you’re boosting the friction between the tires and the asphalt, increasing grip and speed in corners, but actually slowing the car down on the straights!

Well, we've reached the end of this article where we've explained what grip is and how crucial it is in SimRacing, Motorsport, and even in everyday life.

However, learning to drive on F1 and making the most of grip is not easy.

It’s a process that requires time, dedication, and commitment, but above all, an investment in yourself.

Once you master and apply this knowledge correctly, no matter what car or track you try, you’ll have the keys to achieve your goals on the track and beat your opponents.


We at ADT will help you do this as quickly and effectively as possible.

See you soon and when in the doubt, flat out!