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I’ve been watching a lot of racing recently, and one of the spectators said:

a high centre of gravity is beneficial under traction for an F1 car

Why is this true? Is it even true?

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  • I know that a low centre of gravity is beneficial when cornering, and that in terms of overall lap time, that benefit massively outweighs any benefit that a high centre of gravity might provide you under traction. As for whether a high centre of gravity actually would be helpful under traction, I'm unfortunately not quite well-versed enough in F1-level physics to be able to answer that.
    – F1Krazy
    Commented Aug 26, 2022 at 20:39

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Hard for me to tell exactly what is meant. I can imagine one scenario, but I doubt it's significant compared to the penalties that will happen under cornering.

Acceleration is limited by the friction on the rear wheel. And that's a function of the downward force on the rear tires. At low speed, you don't get much aero downforce, so this is almost entirely from the portion of the vehicle weight on the rears.

As the car accelerates, a torque arises that tries to rotate the car front-to-back. Under braking, a car pitches forward. Under acceleration, the nose lifts up. The higher the COG, the greater the force is required to stop the pitching.

Together, this means that the weight balance of the car shifts slightly more to the rear under acceleration, and that will slightly increase the friction limit of the drive wheels.

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