Question: How heavy is a Formula One car?
Answer: According to the official 2013 regulations, each F1 car without any fuel in it but including the weight of the diver must weigh a minimum of 642 kg.
In reality the cars are built lighter than this but the teams then use ballast weights to ensure it is heavy enough to be legal.
The more of the 642kg that is made up of ballast, the better for the team. This is because ballast weight can be placed anywhere in the car providing it is securely fitted to the vehicle.
The reason this helps the teams is because it allows them to adjust the weight distribution within the car which can help improve the cars set-up and handling.
Also having a minimum legal weight for Formula One cars ensures there is slightly less pressure on the drivers to be as light as possible themselves.
If there was no minimum weight then the drivers in F1 would be chosen as much for their size as their racing abilities. Drivers would then start to resemble horse racing jockeys.
Formula One cars are weighed while being fitted with slick, dry weather tyres.
The reason why you see the drivers deliberately collecting as much loose bits of rubber and dirt on their tyres at the end of the race is to help ensure the cars are not underweight. Their effectively replacing the rubber that has been worn off during the race.