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F1 Car

Model of modern F1 car inspired by Ferrari 248. Features RWD, steering, suspension, 2-speed transmission and custom stickers.


Completion date: 12/05/2015
Power: electric (RC unit)
Dimensions: length 73 studs / width 31 studs / height 18 studs (not including antenna)
Weight: 1.709 kg
Suspension: full independent
Propulsion: 2 x RC motor geared 3:89:1 (low gear) / 1.4:1 (high gear) from slower output
Motors: 2 x RC motor, 1 x PF M

I’m no expert on F1 but I wanted to try building a modern F1 car for a while, especially since my experience with the Lego 42000 Grand Prix Racer set left me feeling that perhaps the same thing can be done better and prettier. Since the latest, top-of-the-line F1 cars seem complex beyond my grasp, I took inspiration in Ferrari 248 F1 car from 2006. It was a car driven by  Michael Schumacher and Felipe Massa, it has experienced some serious engine problems at the beginning, but once these got fixed, the 248 has proved to be an excellent car, winning 7 out of the 9 season’s last races. My reason for choosing it, however, was primarily aesthetic, I simply liked the look of it. And since my model was supposed to drive nicely above all, I decided that its look would be less important and that I wouldn’t try to make it a very accurate model of the 248. In the end, the model has 248’s basic dimensions, livery and most of the sponsors on it, but the body shape is somewhat different. I suppose it looks much like 248, but I don’t think it’s accurate enough to pass as a scale model of 248.

It was clear from the beginning that it wouldn’t be a record-breaking model, not with room for single Lego RC unit and two RC motors only. But I wanted it to be agile at least, and I decided to use this opportunity to try making an effective 2-speed transmission. A common and well-known problem with Lego transmissions is that they add extra weight, friction and complexity, so that in the end all benefits of a transmission are lost and the model would drive just as well without it. While working on this model, I’ve dedicated plenty of time to finding simplest construction possible and most efficient gear ratios for a model of this weight, with these wheels. Doing this with F1 car was a good choice because I had good access to the transmission right until the end of the building process, and I was able to make changes to it right until the last moment. The finished transmission was heavily optimized for this particular model and probably wouldn’t work that well for a car whose weight, wheels and propulsion motors are different. It was also built literally around the rear axle due to size constraints (most of the hull was taken by the RC unit), with the rear differential passing through its middle.

I was rather happy with model’s look. It was by no means perfect: the side air intakes could be moved forward a bit, the rear wing was slightly too tall, and the hull should be narrower – but the RC motors located in the side pods wouldn’t allow it. The worst bit was definitely the PF M motor sitting on top of the hull’s center and controlling transmission through exposed gear wheels. I have failed to fit it in one of the side pods, and since I needed the transmission to be reliable and effective, the looks of the model had to be compromised. To make the looks more authentic, I have created 52 individual stickers representing logos of various brands that sponsored Ferrari team over the course of several seasons. I have skipped cigarette and alcohol companies and selected from among others, with Vodafone and Shell being typically primary sponsors of the 248. All the stickers were printed on a white sticker foil, then cut by hand. I managed to get them to match the red color of the Lego pieces pretty closely.

On the technical side, the transmission relied on a single driving ring sitting on a smooth axle joiner, so that it could be shifted between two speeds instantly and smoothly. Shifting could be done while driving at full speed without any problems or slowing down. The transmission was connected to a simple lever moving the rear wing and activating a red light brick at the back. In 1st gear, the rear wing was lowered and the light brick was off, and in the 2nd gear the rear wing was raised and the light brick was on. There was also a steering system using the RC unit’s steering output. It was connected to the steering wheel, and it was using complex spindles in the front wheels that pivoted very nearly to the wheel’s center, and that were steered using reverse Ackermann geometry. I have observed large backlash between inner and outer front wheel when cornering, and the reverse Ackermann geometry was intended to counter it – I wanted it to even out the backlash and keep the wheels aligned when cornering. In the end it’s difficult to reliably show or measure if this has worked as intended, but the model’s steering system proved very responsive, and I have later read in Wikipedia that reverse Ackermann is, in fact, a real-world solution used in some race cars to compensate for the large difference in slip angle between the inner and outer front tires while cornering at high speed.

The model was a pleasure to drive and I was especially happy with how reliable it proved when tested outdoors. It was reasonably fast, slower than many of my other models, but still quite agile for its size and weight. It also looked pleasing to the eye, even though I was initially planning to build it in some unusual colors, e.g. combination of white and two shades of blue, just to make it stand out more from the official Lego F1 sets. But in the end, I suppose it can’t be mistaken for a Lego set.

Work in progress Photos:

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Media coverage:

Autoblog (Dutch)Autosaur, Car ThrottleDamn GeekyGizmodoMotorpasion (Spanish), RC Car ActionThe Lego Car Blog

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  1. Sariel
    July 13th, 2016 at 09:53 | #1

    Custom hubs in front, 42000 hubs in the back.

  2. Josh
    July 13th, 2016 at 07:07 | #2

    Hey Sariel did you use the 42000 hubs or custom hubs?

  3. Sariel
    April 18th, 2016 at 16:15 | #3

    The battery can power two L or XL motors, and they are poor choice for speed, especially if used with the 7.2 V power supply. You want serious speed, you need to use Lego RC motors with the RC unit, like I did here.

  4. Marcus
    April 17th, 2016 at 11:36 | #4

    Hi, cool model! I’m trying to build a light racecar and I want it to be as powerful as possible while using PF batterybox with 7.2 volts. Should I use L or XL motors? How many of those motors can the battery box power?

  5. Sariel
    September 24th, 2015 at 13:11 | #5

    Maybe in a little part.

  6. Foster
    September 21st, 2015 at 01:21 | #6

    Okay, thanks, luckily I found a way to have it. It is to try to build the Mach 6 from Speed Racer (the movie from 2008) if you look closely in the movie it has all wheel steering, that’s why I needed it. But I found a way to do so, but thanks anyway for the reply 🙂

  7. Sariel
    September 13th, 2015 at 23:28 | #7

    I have no idea for it. Considering that only 8 cars in entire F1 history had front drive, why bother, actually?

  8. Foster
    September 13th, 2015 at 20:37 | #8

    @Sariel Do you have any ideas for a driven, and steered F1 car suspension. I’m trying to build a (fictional) F1-type car, and in having troubles building it (the frame in the front can go as low as the top of the wheel, and the vehicle has all wheel steering) Can you try to make it with newer parts? (42000 and above?) I don’t have many older pieces, and I would prefer to not have to order some parts. Maybe you could do a video one the suspension (if you decide to help me and make it) thanks

    P.s. The car I’m building has plenty of space in between the wheels, so I don’t need it super compact, I just need it low enough so I can make the frame realistic

    Thanks Either Way

  9. Sariel
    July 8th, 2015 at 12:49 | #9

    The front wheels are simply sitting on axles, the rear ones are using wheel hubs from the 42000 set.

  10. Max
    July 8th, 2015 at 03:05 | #10

    I love how you did the suspension, but it also kinda confused me. How did yoy get the wheels attached, those areas in the pic are shaded over.

  11. Sariel
    June 27th, 2015 at 22:15 | #11

    You can’t. You can read the description, check the photos and then try to be creative. That’s what LEGO is about.

  12. June 27th, 2015 at 21:09 | #12

    How can I buy one of these

  13. Sariel
    June 2nd, 2015 at 20:29 | #13

    I’ll try to keep that in mind. I always share all photos I took.

  14. Alex
    June 2nd, 2015 at 20:22 | #14

    Ok Thanks but I just have one suggestion whenever you put work in progress pics for your vehicles chassis just remove the wheels from the wheel hubs so I can see the gear ratio and is there any way you could email me some more intricate pictures of your creations.Or at least what’s app them to me.If you do have any of your creations to sell do let me know I will give you a great price for it

  15. Sariel
    June 2nd, 2015 at 19:43 | #15

    Sorry for the late reply, Alex. I’m afraid I won’t be looking to sell any of these, for the usual reasons: the amount of time and money it would take for me to reacquire the parts used in these models is simply colossal. I honestly can’t even imagine putting price on that. But I hope that with your engineering background you’ll have luck copying these models from the photos and descriptions I will publish.

  16. Alex
    June 2nd, 2015 at 05:04 | #16

    Hi are you interested in selling your A-10 Thunderbolt 2 once it’s ready?

  17. Alex
    June 1st, 2015 at 06:46 | #17

    I was even thinking about the A-10 Thunderbolt 2 which I guess your already making it maybe I would like to buy that one too. But could you make a Solaris Urbino 15?

  18. Alex
    June 1st, 2015 at 06:34 | #18

    Solaris Urbino 15 bus. Maybe you could use pneumatics in making the doors.

  19. Sariel
    May 31st, 2015 at 21:42 | #19

    What model do you have in mind? Perhaps it’s something I’m planning to build already.

  20. Alex
    May 31st, 2015 at 17:23 | #20

    See Mr firstly am an engineer and I love the complexity in your lego models so could you make a lego model for me if I give you a pic of a real vehicle? I am ready to give you 800-1000 euros for it so think it over and let me know. Pls try and reply positive

  21. Sariel
    May 31st, 2015 at 13:13 | #21

    One Direction? I’m afraid we have rather different tastes in music.

    Thanks but most of my creations have been disassembled long time ago, and as for the old LEGO parts your best chance is the Bricklink.

  22. Alex
    May 31st, 2015 at 07:19 | #22

    Hi Mr I need to ask you a favor could you please sell any of your lego creation to me I will give you a good price.Or even it would be great if I could also buy some old parts.See I have read your faq but you did mention that there is a slight chance u will sell your sets.

  23. Shalene
    May 31st, 2015 at 07:14 | #23

    At least you can put the one direction song everybody wants to steal my girl or any other polish song this time will you pls do it? Do you know your national anthem by heart anyway.

  24. Sariel
    May 30th, 2015 at 19:28 | #24

    I can’t imagine any of these going along with my videos. It would be a very strange combination.

  25. Shalene
    May 30th, 2015 at 18:48 | #25

    Hey sariel in ur next video it would be great if u could keep your back round music your national anthem or the polish Christmas Carol – god is born. Will you do it?

  26. Sariel
    May 28th, 2015 at 15:29 | #26

    Sony Xperia Z2, as stated in my every single SBrick video.

  27. Shalene
    May 28th, 2015 at 06:28 | #27

    Hi Sariel which mobile phone do you use to control sbrick.

  28. Ev3fan
    May 19th, 2015 at 14:26 | #28

    Oh that was new to me. Thanks. And I don’t really know a lot about Ferrari F1 cars.

  29. Mikko
    May 17th, 2015 at 17:17 | #29

    Ev3fan, working brake lights would be a cool feature, but in a F1 car they would be out of place since real F1 cars don’t have brake lights. The light is used during rain for better visibility and to warn others of a slower car when fuel saving mode or pit limiter is on. But you are right about the wing, it would make more sense if it’s function was reversed. Then again, real Ferrari 248 didn’t even have moving rear wing, as the “drag reduction system” wasn’t introduced until 2011, so it doesn’t really matter, it’s just another cool feature anyway.

  30. Sariel
    May 16th, 2015 at 18:30 | #30

    I don’t control Lego models through a GoPro. GoPro is a camera.

  31. Shalene
    May 16th, 2015 at 13:34 | #31

    Hi Sariel which phone do you use to control lego models through GoPro?

  32. Ev3fan
    May 13th, 2015 at 16:03 | #32

    But great Model – you’re one of the world’s best builders, Sariel! 🙂

  33. Ev3fan
    May 13th, 2015 at 16:02 | #33

    Don’t want to be annoying, but I’m sure you know that in real cars the rear spoiler would be raised at lower speeds to maintain downforce or keep it at a perfect level. And for the brake light – the most awesome thing would have been if you had had it switched it on when the car brakes, maybe by a small weight pushing a lever. But I understand there is not much space in the F1 car – maybe in another car?

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