Last Updated: 9 August 2023
This article looks at the different F1 chassis available as a guide to getting started in F1 racing. All of the cars in this guide are legal under the Australian National F1 Rules but if you live outside Australia check your local rules for restrictions or check with your local club before you buy.
Up until 2012, Tamiya dominated the F1 class with various models to choose from, but in the last few years a large number of manufacturers have brought out F1 kits. So we are spoiled for choice, which can make it hard to pick a kit.
The purpose of this guide is to break down the more popular options to make your decision a little easier.
Unlike touring cars, the vast majority of F1 cars do not have an independent rear suspension. This actually simplifies car setup as there are fewer adjustments to get to grips with.
When buying any new chassis there are a couple of key considerations:
1. Who else runs it at your local track? If another racer has a car that handles well and is prepared to share their ideas, then buying the same model of chassis may be a smart move. So an early step is to visit your local track and talk to other F1 racers.
2. Parts availability. If they are on the shelf at your local hobby shop then that's a big advantage when you break something. Unfortunately, this is the exception rather than the rule. Check out our Links page for a list of online stores that stock F1 parts and kits. If you can't find a store that stocks parts, either locally or online, then don't buy it.
We'll now discuss the different options available so that when you visit the track you have some initial ideas.
Prices constantly change so we've come up with 3 price ranges:
- Budget kits
- Mid-range price kits
- High-end price kits
Of course, shops often have specials so make sure you shop around. A kit that we've listed at the High-end, you may find on sale!
Tamiya F104 Pro II – This is not a serious racing kit, but its T-Bar design may provide additional grip on unprepared surfaces such as a car park. If you can find one for the right price then this can be a fun basher or good looking shelf queen (Tamiya sometimes bundle these cars with great looking pre-painted body shells).
Budget kits are a great way into F1, and to have fun, but they aren't as competitive as some of the more expensive kits.
Mid-range Price Kits
All of these cars have proven racing performance:
Roche Rapide F1 Evo 3 – The F1 Evo 3 is their latest F1 chassis. Roche's P12-2017 1/12th car won the 2016 IFMAR world championship.
CRC WTF1-DS – CRC has significant experience with pan car chassis and the WTF1-DS is their latest F1 car. It uses Imperial/Standard hardware (i.e., measurements are in inches).
High-end Price Kits
Xray X1 – Xray have brought out a new F1 kit nearly every year since 2015. They are at the higher end of the price scale but they are extremely robust and difficult to break. Proven racing performance. Quality documentation and support. One of the most popular chassis.
Schumacher Icon 2 – Extremely adjustable with innovative setup options.
Serpent F110 SF4 – Serpents fourth F1 chassis.
WRC F22.1 – Worth considering. Check for local parts support.
What About Tamiya?
Tamiya has released more F1 kits since 1977 than all the other manufacturers combined. For the first time since I started this website – in 2012 – Tamiya does not have a high-end competition kit on the market. If you are racing in a Tamiya only competition, then the most recent high-end kit they produced was the Tamiya TRF 103 (since discontinued).
The street price of these kits can vary significantly and cars we have listed as “High-end” might be found for a “Mid-range” price.
Kits to Keep an Eye On
- Exotek F1 Ultra
- Fenix Mistral 3.3
- Fenix Club Racer
- Infinity IF11
- MD Racing F14 Chassis
- Tamiya Formula E Gen 2 - not an F1 chassis, but some events run Formula E classes (such as UF1 in the USA).
If none of these chassis excites you then check out our F1 RC Manufacturers page for all available chassis. There are a number of F1 kits that are either not particularly popular at the time of writing, or they are only popular in certain locations around the world. If you are an experienced F1 racer then you may like to check them out for something different.
What is the best car for you?
Only you can answer that question, but hopefully, this overview allows you to cross off some things you don’t like and identifies options you’d like to explore further. Next stop – a detailed look through our Manufacturers section for a full list of the kits available.