How many gears are there in a Formula 1 gearbox?

Formula 1 is one of the most technical sports in the world. These cars are much more complex than a normal road car. But let’s turn our attention to the gearbox of the car for now. In a normal road car, we have 5 or 6 gears. However, this is not the case in F1. Since F1 cars travel at high speeds, the car needs to have a customized gearbox that is suitable for the car.

How many gears can a Formula 1 driver shift into?

In modern F1 cars, drivers can transition between 8 gears. However, before the 2014 season there were only 7 gears. The limit was increased when the FIA ​​introduced new engine regulations with the 2014 season.

Adding an extra gear can make the engine more efficient. Given that the FIA ​​is trying to make the sport more sustainable, this is considered a good option. However, this requires drivers to change gears more often.

Although more gears make the engine more efficient, it’s unlikely they’ll add a 9th gear to an F1 car. Adding another gear will require drivers to change gears more often. It also increases the risk of engine overheating. So it’s likely we won’t see the Sport changing the number of gears for a while.

When we look at the shifters, all cars now use paddle shifters with an auto clutch feature. However, to start the race, drivers are required to hold the clutch found at the back of the steering wheel. But while racing, the auto clutch system makes for seamless gear shifting.

When did F1 switch to paddle shifters?

Until the 1980s all F1 cars had a stick shift for transitioning through gears. This was also implemented with a manual clutch. However, in 1989, Ferrari introduced the first paddle shifters in their cars. They were soon followed by the rest of the teams in F1.

The paddle shift system was considered easy and safe for drivers. This way, they won’t need to take their hands off the wheel and will be more comfortable steering during downshifts. The last stick shift was used in F1 during the 1995 season. In 1991, Ayrton Senna won the last championship using a stick shifter.

Today, all cars have more complex gearboxes and engines with pedal systems. There is no doubt that F1 will remain a technical sport. Although the drivers will contribute much to the team, the design and manufacturing of the car will continue to play a large role.

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