Apex in F1: Understanding the Clipping Point

Apex F1 racing line

Apex F1 definition

In Formula 1, the apex of a corner – also known as the clipping point – is the mid-point of the turn, when the driver comes closest to the inside kerb of the turn. It is the innermost point of the driving line taken through a corner and is part of the racing line which makes use of the entire width of the track to lengthen the radius and reduce speed. The apex is also where the driver begins to shift from full throttle to full brakes and back again

Apex In Depth

The point in a turn where the driver is closest to the inside kerb of the turn is the apex of the turn, sometimes referred to as the clipping point. Depending on the type of corner and the driver’s racing line, the apex position can change. A slow hairpin will typically have a “late” apex, whereas a rapid turn will typically have an early apex.

The apex point is crucial since it’s where the driver can maintain the highest speed through the turn. The driver can increase their speed and reduce the amount of time they spend spinning the wheel by hitting the apex. As a result, they can reapply the gas pedal early and travel faster down the following straight.

The fastest route through a bend isn’t necessarily to hit the apex, though. A driver might occasionally decide to take a wider line in order to turn faster. This can be especially useful in slow turns where the inside kerb offers little traction. In these situations, the driver may choose to take a “late” apex, which would mean they would reach the apex later in the turn and exit with more speed.

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Different Apex Points

There can be multiple peak positions on some corners, like the complex of Turns 16–18 at the Circuit of the Americas. Based on their racing line and the type of corner, the driver must decide which apex to shoot for in these situations. To carry greater speed through the long, sweeping Turns 16–18, for instance, a driver can choose to shoot for the first apex, or they might select the second or third apex to gain a better run into the following straight.

In conclusion, any turn in Formula 1 racing must have a precise apex position. Drivers can increase their speed and reduce the amount of time they spend spinning the wheel by hitting the apex. The fastest way through a corner isn’t always to touch the apex; in some cases, a broader line may be more efficient. The driver must ultimately decide which apex to pursue based on their racing line and the nature of the corner.

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