Formula one, also referred to as F1 in short, is an international auto racing sport. Formula one is the highest level of open wheel, single seat as well as open cockpit professional motor racing content.
This racing sport is sanctioned and governed by the International Automobile Federation or Internationale de I’Automobile (FIA).
The word ‘formula’ is as a result of the specific set of regulations and rules that the participating drivers and cars have to follow as mandated by the FIA. Herein is a comprehensive account on all about formula 1 racing.
Formula one racing is known to have originated from Europe during the 1920s and 1930s. It is a derivative of other similar racing competitions. However, the basis of today’s formula one racing was formed in 1946, when the racing rules were standardized by the FIA.
The first world championship, the inaugural Formula One World Drivers’ championship, was held back in 1950. Many other F1 races apart from the world championship were held around this time that were not championships. However, these races had to be discontinued after 1983.This is mainly because the cost of holding these races was getting higher.
THE GRANDS PRIX
Each team in Formula one can have a maximum of 4 drivers per season. Every team also has support staff that plays a very importance role in the success of the team. A series in formula one racing involves races that are held over a period of time, often over a year. The series is referred to as the Formula One World Championship Season.
Every race in the season is termed a ‘Grand Prix’ (GP). All the races put together are called Grands Prix (plural of Grand Prix). The words Grand Prix are derived from the French words for ‘great price’.
As of 2016, drivers from a total of 42 countries and constructors from 17 countries have participated in formula one championships. Constructors are the owners of the engine and chassis of the formula one cars. In 1981, the FIA passed a rule that competing F1 teams have to build their own chassis and engine of the cars.
The total number of Grand Prix in one season has often varies through the years of Formula one racing. The inaugural 1950 championships had a total of 7 races. The number of races per season kept increasing up to a maximum of 20 races in 2012. Today, there are usually 19-20 Grands Prix in a season.
Every Grand Prix is hosted by a separate country and are named after the host nation. For instance, a Grand Prix conducted in Italy will be called the Italian Grand Prix. It is important to note that a Grand Prix can be held in the same or different cities of the host nation each year.
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DESIGNS AND SPECIFICATIONS
A F1 car has to be an open-wheel, single-seat and open-cockpit car for the sole purpose of the competitions. The cars are equipped with two wings at the rear and front and engines that are placed just behind the driver’s seat. The majority of Formula one races are conducted on circuits, which are specifically built racing tracks. Also, they can be sometimes conducted on closed public roads.
Every car in F1 has two primary components; the engine and the chassis. Nowadays, F1 cars are constructed from carbon fiber and extra lightweight materials. The weight of the car, the tires and the driver must not be less than 1548 lbs. or 702 kg. The fuel is excluded from this minimum weight calculation.
The dimensions of the cars must be a maximum width of 180 cm and height of 95 cm. There are no specifications on the maximum length. However, all the cars are often about the same length. All Formula one cars have to employ 1.6 liter turbocharged V6 engines in accordance to the 2014 regulation changes.
All Formula one cars have the ability to accelerate from 0 to 100 mph and decelerate back to in less than 5 seconds. They reach an average speed of 185 mph but the cars can reach a top speed of 300 mph. Some cars can top 400 mph when they do not comply fully with Formula one standards.
The minimum total distance of a GP race has to be 190 miles or 300 km. This is inclusive of all the pre-defined number of laps. This is the standard distance for all GP races with the exception of Monaco Grand Prix. The Monaco GP is 160 miles or 260 km.
10 teams are permitted to compete in the Formula one World Championship as of 2016. Each team has two cars making it a total of 20 cars entered into the competition. The FIA regulations however, may allow a limit of 26 cars for the championships.
The results for all the GP races in one season aggregated to determine two annual championships awards. These include the Drivers’ Championship Award and the Constructors’ Championship Award.
The F1 races begin with a warm up lap or formation lap. 30 minutes before the actual race, the pit lanes are opened where the drivers can conduct warm up drives. Once the pit lanes are closed, the drivers have to take their places on the grid in the order by which they qualified.
The races cannot take more than 2 hours. If they are still ongoing after the allocated time, they will be considered to be finished after the end of the current lap. Since regulation changes in 2010, refueling has been abolished. However, in race refueling will be permitted once again starting the 2017 season.
There are three distinct categories of flags used in F1 races; the status flags, instruction flags and the chequered flag. There are 5 status flags including the green, yellow, red, white and red and yellow striped flag. Status flags are used to relay various types of instructions to the racers.
The instruction flags include the black, black flag with orange circle, per-bend black/white flag, blue flag with white cross and blue flags. These flags are used to relay information to only one driver at a time.
The chequered flag is used to indicate through waving that a race is officially over. The drivers who finish first, second and third at the races’ end are awarded trophies at a podium. The winner’s teams are also presented with the constructor’s trophy.
According to the current system, the first 10 drivers at the end of each race receives certain points based on their finishing position. These points will determine the World Drivers’ as well as World Constructors’ Championships at the end the season. The points are detailed below
• 1st Place – 25 points
• 2nd place – 18 points
• 3rd place – 15 points
• 4th place – 12 points
• 5th place – 10 points
• 6th place – 8 points
• 7th place – 6 points
• 8th place – 4 points
• 9th place – 2 points
• 10th place – 1 point
For a driver to receive points, they must have completed 90 % of the distance driven by the winner of the race.
Formula 1 racing has definitely resulted in a number of extraordinary drivers. There is ongoing debate on who is best of best. Nonetheless, some of the champions of champions include Michael Schumacher, Ayrton Senna, Juan Manuel Fangio, Niki Lauda, Alain Prost and Sebastian Vettel.
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