Formula One likes to portray itself as the pinnacle of motorsport, but how does a 24-year-old, V10-powered Benetton F1 car perform against a Tesla Model S? This video provides an opportunity to find out.
It’s worth noting that this is not the latest Model S Plaid. Instead, this is a slightly older P100D. Although, the claimed 671 horsepower (500 kilowatts) and 701 pound-feet (950 Newton-meters) of torque is still quite a bit of power.
The F1 car is the Benetton B197 as driven by Gerhard Berger during the 1997 season. Power comes from a Renault-built 3.0-liter naturally aspirated V10 making 770 hp (574 kW) and 384 lb-ft (520 Nm). The power runs through a six-speed sequential gearbox. The Benetton team ranked third in the constructors’ championship, and its best result was Berger scoring a win at the German Grand Prix at Hockenheim.
The first test is a traditional drag race. For roughly the first half of the distance, it looks like the Model S is going to win because the Benetton has cold tires that make it struggle to get the power down. The F1 car eventually gets traction and rockets past the Tesla.
The Benetton covers the quarter-mile in 9.6 seconds. Judging by recent videos of the Model S Plaid at the drag strip doing low-9 second times, the F1 car would have lost against the new model.
There’s also a drag race from a 40-mph (64-kph) roll. Once again, the Tesla takes an early lead. It doesn’t last long because the Benetton doesn’t have traction issues this time.
Next is a run from 0 to 100 mph (161 kph) and back to 0. As a lightweight race car, the Benetton is able to stop much more quickly than the Tesla, and the F1 car takes another victory.
Finally, the vehicles take on the moose test. As a car designed for high-speed handling on a track, this is an easy win for the F1 car.