The present work deals with the interdependences between the strain rate and the strain hardening on stainless austenitic steels. Uniaxial tension tests were conducted on a 304 stainless steel at different strain rates in order to analyse the influence of this parameter on the strain hardening and on the material formability. For the strain rates levels analysed (10 to 10 s) it was also observed that increasing the strain rate from 10 up to 10 s leads to a 25 % difference in uniform tension elongation revealing the curve-crossing phenomenon. Namely, strain rates equal or higher than 10 lead to a stagnation of strain hardening after a tensile strain of about 0.2. In order to investigate the results obtained, microstructural and thermal analyses were conducted and numerical simulations were performed. It was observed that the decreasing of formability of the material is essentially due to thermal aspects. In the discussion, the experimental and numerical results are analysed in terms of thermal softening, phase transformation and strain rate sensibility.