What Is A Tire Lock-Up In F1? (Here Is How To Decide + FAQs)

If you’re driving a vehicle at a high rate of speed, and you don’t have anti-lock brakes, your tires may lock up, slowing you down and preventing you from turning.

So, What do you do in this situation and correct what’s going on? And what damages are you causing? If you’d like to find out, keep reading!

What Is A Tire Lock-Up In F1?

Tire lock up occurs on an F1 car where the tires lock up during braking due to lack of anti-lock brakes, making the vehicle hard to steer and slow down. This tire lock-up can lead to damaged tires and damage to the car if it hits another vehicle or the wall.   

If you’d like to learn more about what happens when tires lock up in F1, what causes a car to lock up in F1 and more, keep reading for more interesting facts!

What Happens When Tires Lock-Up In F1?

In the event of a tire locking up in an F1 vehicle, the tire slides when the intent is to get the F1 vehicle to slow down.

You will also notice when a driver tries to turn the wheels during a tire lock up, the vehicle just keeps going in the same direction. The danger of this is usually hitting the wall, side barriers, or another vehicle.

Also, when a tire locks up, it slides across the asphalt, and the longer it slides, the more likely the tire could get a flat spot, rendering it bad for high speeds.

What Causes A Car To Lock Up In Formula One?

Formula One cars don’t have anti-lock brakes, meaning when the brakes are applied too hard, the tires tend to lock up, causing all kinds of problems for the driver.

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This could also happen to anyone else’s car on the road if they don’t have anti-lock brakes and they hit the brakes too hard.

Why Are Lockups More Rare In F1?

Lock ups aren’t that rare in F1, but they have been decreasing over the years. One of the reasons why lock-ups have become more rare is that downforce plays a huge part in helping slow down a speeding F1 car.

Another reason why lockups are becoming rarer in F1 is the rear wheels use a form of energy braking provided by the hybrid system.

Do F1 Cars Use Traction Control?

Just like with anti-lock brakes, F1 bans the use of traction control because it gives an advantage to the driver. F1 is a sport of skill, and to keep it that way, traction control assistance is not allowed.

Can A Locked Up Wheel Cause A Flat Tire In F1?

Can A Locked Up Wheel Cause A Flat Tire In F1? 

Typically, the tire locking up during braking won’t cause it to go flat, but it can cause a tire to get a flat spot.

This flat spot can cause the tire of an F1 car (or any car) to wobble and bounce while in motion, which could lead to enough damage to make a tire flatten.

How Do F1 Drivers Stop Tires From Locking Up?

Drivers in F1 usually use a brake pressure setting to stop their tires from looking up. When the brake pressure setting is lowered, less brakes will be applied even if you hit the pedal with the same amount of pressure.

There is also another setting that can be fangled, and that’s how much brake power percentage-wise goes to the front wheels and to the rear wheels. Additionally, this would be a driver’s recommendation, not a crew chief’s call.

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How Can A Driver Get Out Of An F1 Lock Up?

The most common way to get out of an F1 lock up is to lay off the brake pressure until the tires regain a grip on the asphalt again.

When a driver is able to do this, they can regain control of the vehicle, try to turn, and even reapply the brakes. This may take a couple of tries, but the driver has to try as many times as he can to ensure the safety of the car.

Why Do F1 Brakes Smoke?

Why Do F1 Brakes Smoke?

Interestingly enough, the brakes on an F1 get hotter than 500-degrees+, but that’s not what causes the white smoke you see during braking.

What causes the white smoke during braking is when the tires scrub the ground during a lock-up. Just like when your tire smokes from a whole shot because of the tire to asphalt friction, tires will smoke the same way from a tire locking up.

To know more about tires, you can also read our posts on how much do monster truck tires weigh, what are XL tires, and the biggest tires in the world.


Tire lock up in F1 is just like when your tires lock up in your regular vehicle on the road. Instead of initially slowing your car down, the tires slide on the asphalt without leaving you much control.

Most cars have anti-lock brakes now, but Formula 1 cars don’t allow for anti-lock brakes, so it’s up to the driver to use his skills in brake timing and brake pedal pressure.

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