Why F1 Cars Don’t Have Brake Lights?

The only things common between an F1 and your regular car is the steering wheel, the four wheels, and the engine. The Formula One cars have a limited lifespan and therefore designed keeping in mind a powerful performance. These get pushed to the limit and often need a constant change of parts. These cost millions owing to so many costly components, which are a bit hard to find on the regular automobile market. However, the one question that baffles lovers of the F1 race is why F1 cars do not have brake lights.

Why F1 Cars Don’t Have Brake Lights?

It might be a bit helpful to know that the manufacturer designs the F1 vehicles keeping in mind the need to create superfast downforce suction from the air below the car floor. The downforce works like a vacuum, which pulls the car onto the road, as the driver moves it on the course in straight-line speed.

The driver needs to lift their foot from the accelerator pedal to reduce the car speed. Drivers learn to slow down the car sharply, depending on the car model. It is what keeps the cars from colliding at every turn, especially when the driver is following another vehicle or moving in packs.

According to the ex-F1 driver and commentator, Martin Brundle, it is one of the most commonly asked questions. You can search online to get the best industry knowledge about recent automobile models.

Let us now understand the reasons as to why F1 cars don’t have brake lights.

It Is Dangerous

Martin Brundle said that placing brake lights on the F1 cars is not only unnecessary but also dangerous. By the time another F1 driver following you on the racetrack notices and reacts to these lights, they would ram the vehicle into the car in the front.

Unfortunately, there is no mechanism built to get the driver’s reaction in time to take any evasive action depending on when the brake lights come on. It also includes putting the brakes on time.

     Read more:

Brake Lights in F1 Cars
Drivers Take a Little Time to React to the Brake Lights (Photo Source: redbull)

Reaction Time of the Driver

During an F1 event, the car drivers try to keep each car alongside or in front of their field of vision. They need to learn to hit the brakes using their intuition, which depends on the slight changes in the perceived size of the car in the front or on their sides.

On the other hand, the perception of size change at shorter distances requires quick reaction from the driver, as they learn it during the training sessions. Although each driver knows what the red light denotes, it still creates a small delay in timely reaction at such high speeds.

Orange Alternative

The F1 cars have an orange light on their backside, which blinks to let the driver behind know that the one in the front is charging the battery system. It means they are readying the electrical power for the hybrid engine, which will convert heat and wheelspin to electrical energy.

The situation is more common at the end of a long straightaway. The generation of power leads the car to a drag, which the following vehicle would not be able to see unless it is too late. The orange light is present to let the drivers know about the deceleration of the car ahead.

Orange Light on the F1 Cars
The Orange Light in F1 Cars Lets the Other Driver Know that Battery System is On Charge (Photo Source: motorsport)


During an F1 event, especially during rains, the default brake lights on the F1 cars also work as a brake warning light, as the vehicles can lose sight of each other down the track. It helps the driver keep the car at a particular distance, and at the same time, keep them aware of the cars ahead.