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Just by seeing the layout of the F1 track, is it possible to know if it is a low downforce or high downforce track?

For any new track layout (recently concluded Miami GP), how do F1 teams know if it is low or high downforce?

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  • It's not either/or, it's a gradient.
    – stackzebra
    Jun 19 at 11:53

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Downforce helps you take corners faster, as the car will stick to the track more, but it also reduces top speed (as it introduces more drag) so on a track with lots of corners and shorter straights, you want to sacrifice top speed for more downforce.

Examples: Imola, Monaco, Spain

On a track with fewer corners and lots of long straights, you want to sacrifice downforce to increase your top speed on the straights.

Examples: Canada, Austria, Russia

As a viewer, you can use this to judge a track at a glance, and then get an idea of which teams are likely to perform better (i.e. a team whose cars have a better engine with higher top speeds, or a team whose cars have lower top speeds, but are much better at cornering).

As for how F1 teams know? Lots and lots of testing. Simulations, practice runs with varying fuel loads, different tyres, etc.

They use all of this data to calculate the optimal configuration of the car to get the best lap times.

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