Introduction to Formula One Racing Formula One racing, often referred to as Grand Prix racing, is the top class of motor sports in the world. Most commonly it is abbreviated as F1 racing. The title Formula One racing refers to the rules, or "formula" that all cars and participants in Formula One racing must follow. These strict rules make Formula One racing the most competitive of all motor sports. Formula One racing developed out of the early 1900s European Grand Prix racing. Early Grand Prix racing had a "formula" of rules for drivers and their vehicles. Following World War II an even stricter formula was developed. This new formula was referred to as Formula One, indicating that it was number one as far as being the most challenging set of rules to follow. The first Formula One World Championship race was held in England in 1950. Italian Giuseppe Farina holds the title of First World Champion Formula One driver. He won driving an Alfa Romeo. Formula One World Championships are now awarded in two divisions, one for the driver and one for the constructor, or builder, of the racecar. Europe is home to Formula One racing. Over the years the Formula One racing venues have expanded around the globe. The circuit now includes races in Bahrain, Shanghai and Fiji as well as the more traditional locations of Monte Carlo and Magny-Cours. Less than half of the 2007 season Formula One races will be held in Europe. The Formula One racing season lasts from March through October each year. Typically Formula One racing circuits consist of at least one straight stretch of road. This stretch is home to the starting grid for the race. The remainder of the track contains a series of curves and turns. Most of the races are run in a clockwise direction. Multiple laps of the circuit are required to complete the race. The 305-kilometer Formula One race takes 1 to 2 hours to complete. Currently Grand Prix Formula One races are held on circuits specifically designed for Formula One racing. Formula One racing continues to be held on street circuits including Montreal, Melbourne and the Circuit de Monaco. Street courses are popular but are not considered to meet the high safety standards required for Formula One racing. Formula One racecars are built following strict standards for weight, safety and design. The cars used for Formula One racing are a cross between modern automotive design and the aerodynamic feature of a jet airplane. Formula One racing reaches speeds of over 220 miles per hour. Because the cars are designed to be lightweight their aerodynamics are designed to create a downforce that holds them to the pavement. Despite the advanced design, Formula One racing relies on fuel nearly identical to regular automotive gasoline. Formula One racing draws fans from around the world. Television broadcasting of Formula One racing reaches over 200 countries and millions of viewers. This surge in race fans has made Formula One racing popular with sponsors who view their investment in the racing teams as a marketing/merchandising expense. Formula One racing sets the standard for motor sports. It has a long history and continues to grow and change as the sport evolves. What is F1 Racing? Professional racing is fast becoming one of the most popular sports in America and is gaining popularity throughout the world. Although there are many types of racing to choose from, among the most popular in America is Formula One racing or F1 racing for short. During these F1 races, sports cars, sponsored by advertisers, speed around either a closed-circuit track or a closed-off street track. On an annual basis, the top drivers compete in the World Drivers Championship or the World Constructors Championship. The race car itself is probably one of the bigger draws for the fans. F1 racing has rules that stipulate how a car must be constructed and how it should perform, but teams manage to make their cars spectacular nonetheless. The standard F1 racing car has a single seat. The engine is housed behind the driver, instead of in front-which would reduce drag. Another aerodynamic feature of modern F1 racing cars are the wings, which are usually in front and in back of the car. In addition to the already exhilarating pace of the race, the open cockpit design adds a bit of danger to the race as well. There are many technical components to F1 racing that make it the riveting sport that it is. Overtaking is one of the biggest thrills in Formula One racing. Overtaking is simply the act of one driver that is behind another driver gaining speed to gain position. A driver can decide at many times during a race to take the chance to overtake another driver, but the most advantageous points in the race would be at the start or in the first corner. Without skill, gaining on a fellow driver couldn't be accomplished. A lot of skill is required in all of the maneuvers used to gain position including cornering. Cornering simply requires knowing how to affectively handle a turn with the least amount of traction. In order to do that, the driver must know how properly brake, press the gas and make a controlled turn. In F1 racing, cornering is an important skill to master, but there are also some techniques that a driver should avoid as well. One of those techniques is oversteering. When a driver oversteers, they've turned the wheel to the point where the tail end forces the whole car to lose grip. Another thing drivers must avoid is understeering. Understeering is the act of the driver reducing speed to gain traction. Obviously this method of driving isn't the best when speed is a necessity. The sport of F1 racing may seem like simply a fun pastime, however, F1 racing has become a serious business. It is a business that can require hundreds of millions of dollars to finance a single team. The money expended within the industry is most likely recouped from ticket sales and the sale of racing memorabilia. Fast, stylish cars, the hum of the engines and the excitement from crowds are enough reason to keep the fans coming back for more. Where is F1 racing? Racing is officially an international sport. The country where F1 racing now has a home has increased over the years. This sport that began a hobby for the 'privileged' few has reached mass appeal. Formula One racing is no longer an international sport dominated by Europeans in Italy. Teams from the United States and the UK are making names for themselves in international F1 championship races. To demonstrate the popularity that F1 racing has, one need only look at the interest in the World Championships. Over 200 million people worldwide will watch this event on television or view it in person. The popularity of F1 racing is only rivaled by the love of soccer as a sport. Although Europe remains the historical center as well for F1, Grand Prix's are being held in many countries throughout the world. In the United States, the most noteworthy Grand Prix is held in Indiana; the United States Grand Prix. Other countries hosting grand prix's that are new to F1 racing are Australia, Spain, Monaco and France, as well as many others. For some countries, however, the high cost of constructing a track and hosting the fans of a grand prix can prove to be too much. F1 racing has rightly gained the reputation of a rich man's sport, and therefore it's understandable that newly modernizing countries would have hesitations. Among some of the current examples is Malaysia who considered not hosting a grand prix. The World Driver Championships, which is an award given at the World Championship for best driver, might be a reason many different countries are getting into the fray with other F1 racing countries. National pride, similar to that seen in the Olympics, could be fueling the interest. Apparently, many countries outside of Europe are looking to host future F1 racing championships. Some places where these F1 racing events might occur include India. The places where F1 racing won't be taking hold seem to be lessening by the day. Many countries, swept up by the spirit of the game, have recruited drivers from other countries to represent their own. It seems that lately where F1 racing is might be the last place conventional fans would think of it being. South African Grand Prix's, as well as races in Malaysia, Turkey and even Japan currently have built elaborate speedway in their own countries. Europe still holds the stronghold as far as races are concerned. The majority will be held in Europe. Nine of the 17 races to be held in the world in 2007 will be outside of Europe. As the world continues to become more globally and technologically connected, so to will the world of F1 racing. In America, there have been barriers to F1 becoming a more recognized sport, most notably the access of it by television. Despite the barriers, of language and cultural differences, the appeal of F1 racing will transcend any limitations. Where F1 racing is, fans from across the globe will surely follow. Popularity of F1 racing Formula One racing or F1 racing's popularity has grown many times over in recent years. It really isn't that hard to see the appeal that the sport has to fans of all ages. F1 racing has gone from being an isolated sport for the wealthy people mainly in Europe to an international phenomenon. The most obvious reason for the growing popularity is the uniqueness of the cars. Some of the most expensive cars in the world from high-end manufacturers are created just for F1 races. Formula One cars are built to take a lot of punishment, especially on their tires. A lot of care and thought not only go into the mechanical design, but the physical appearance as well. Red seems to be a popular F1 racing car option. The top speed in which the drivers reach definitely draws in car enthusiasts alike who can appreciate a high-performance machine. Most drivers can reach speeds up to 108 mph and sometimes in excess of that. Fans are able to see these incredibly elaborate chassis and engines in action whenever a car zooms past them on the track. Before most grand prix's even begin, the excitement of the event usually starts long before the start flag is waved. For the fans that arrive early in a race, they can see qualifying races between the drivers, track practices as well as the scheduled and non-scheduled maintenance of cars. The track itself can be quite an intricate feature of a race. Many twists and turns are added to these tracks, which are sometimes composed of asphalt or could take place on normal closed-off streets. The merchandise behind the sport also fuels the popularity of F1 racing. Race inspired hats, jerseys, t-shirts as well as posters and other memorabilia are available to the truly devoted fans-for a price. The main producers of the products are sports car companies. These are the same companies whose own reputations have spurned the popularity of F1 racing. Besides the popularity of F1 racing itself, many of the drivers of F1 cars have become many celebrities in their own right. They have sporty uniforms to wear and even sportier cars that are made by the best auto manufacturers in the world. European drivers have historically dominated the championship levels of the sport. That fact may contribute to the lesser popularity of F1 racing in America. The popularity of F1 racing drivers is more apparent in countries besides America. Although Formula One racing had its formal debut in Europe, Americans are quickly catching on to the appeal. No longer are traditional races completely overshadowing the draw F1 races. The popularity of F1 racing can be noticed by the number of races that are now taking place in America. As of 2005, there were 19 official races in the United States for Formula One. That fact, and the fact that countries as far flung as Malaysia, Hungary and Japan to name a few, are participating to prove the growing popularity of F1 racing is a force with momentum. The Basics of Formula One Racing Formula One racing is a weekend event with two practice sessions on Friday, a practice session and qualifying on Saturday, and the race on Sunday. The practice sessions are used for drivers to familiarize themselves with the track and for the crew to make any necessary adjustments to the car. The qualifying is used to determine the way the cars will start in the race. Formula One qualifying works a little differently that some people would think. Qualifying is broken down into three segments with 7-minute breaks in between. In the first segment, all 22 cars run the qualifying lap. The slowest 6 cars are placed in the 17-22 staring positions. In the second segment, the remaining 16 cars run the qualifying lap. The slowest 6 cars are placed in the 11-16 starting positions. In the final segment, the final 10 cars are racing to be on the pole position, the position that puts the fastest car on the track in the number one starting position. In short, to be in the pole position for a Formula One race you first must be 16th or faster, then 10th of faster, and in the final session, you must be the fastest car on the track. Thirty minutes prior to race time on Sunday afternoon, the drivers are able to make as many warm up laps that they choose during this thirty minute period. The general rule for the length of the races is set but the smallest number of complete laps over 305km, though there are a few exceptions. Once five sets of lights go green and the set of red lights go off the race begins. With the cars averaging 2 kilometers per liter of fuel, they make many pit stops curing a race. During these pit stops, they will also get fresh tires and the crew can make minor adjustments to the car as needed. The timing and placement of pit stops can be crucial to a Formula Once racecar driver. At the end of the race the First, Second, and Third place drivers are put on a podium and the National Anthem of the winner home country is played. A post race press conference follows. The current points system that was put into place in 2003 allows points for the top 8 spots. The winner receives 10 points, second place 8 points, third place 6 points, fourth place 5 points, fifth place 4 points, six place 3 points, seventh place 2 points, and eighth place 1 point. The driver that earns the most points in a season earns the spot of the World Champion. The number of Formula One races in a season varies but generally falls somewhere around 18 a year. The season for Formula One racing is 8 months long and runs from the beginning of March to the middle or end of October depending on the number of races. There is much more to learn about Formula Once racing. This was just a little bit of background of the race weekend, pit stops, points system, and the racing season. Understanding Formula One Racing Formula One racing is the most popular motor sport in the world. The rules governing Formula One racing are complex but it is not necessary to know or understand every detail of the regulations to enjoy the sport. Formula One racing as it is today evolved from European Grand Prix racing of the early 1900s. Although it is still considered a European sport, more of each season's World Championship events are held at locations outside of Europe than in Europe itself. The top Formula One racing teams do have European home bases. Formula One racing is the most regulated in all of auto racing. Restrictions are placed on every component of the vehicles. Constructors must be innovative in order to build a vehicle that will out-perform the other Formula One racing cars and yet meet all the FIA (International Automobile Federation) guidelines. The dangerous conditions of high speed racing led FIA to institute detailed safety regulations that impact every aspect from vehicle construction to the type of fabric used to create the driver's clothing. Each race is held at a different location. Some locations have traditionally always been part of Formula One racing. Monte Carlo is the perfect example. The Monaco Grand Prix held at Monte Carlo has become synonymous with Formula One racing because it is always part of the series. Originally Formula One racing Grand Prix were held on closed public streets and the Monaco Grand Prix continues to follow this tradition. Newer venues around the world, like the one at Bahrain, are held on tracks that have been designed specifically to meet the needs of Formula One racing. Teams must transport their vehicles, equipment and spare parts to each race. A Formula One racing team may enter up to two drivers and cars into each race. FIA has written guidelines regarding how the cars are painted. Both of a team's cars are similar in appearance but distinguishable. The World Championship season in Formula One racing lasts from early spring through fall each year. Races are three-day events with qualifying and testing run on Friday and Saturday. Qualification runs are timed sessions. Starting position is based on performance during these qualification sessions. A race day in Formula One racing is a loud, fast-paced, high-energy time for drivers, teams and spectators. The race consists of multiple laps around the circuit. This is true whether the race is held on public streets or on a racetrack. A special area alongside of the track is designated as the pit area. The pits are where teams perform work on their cars. Every car will need fuel added and tires replaced during the race. Additional parts will also need to be repaired or replaced. Pit crews are well known for their speed. Formula One racing marshals use flags to communicate to drivers during a race. In addition to the flags, a GPS system in each car indicates any current flag waving for the section of track the car is on at the time. Formula One racing awards a World Championship title on one driver and one team each season. At the end of each race the top drivers are awarded points based on their final ranking. Teams earn points for each of the two cars they have entered in the race. At the end of the season the driver and team with the most points are declared World Champions. Top Teams and Drivers in Formula One Today Formula One racing is a challenging sport for both teams and drivers. The International Automobile Federation (FIA) sets demanding standards for this motor sport. These rules make it the most challenging and safest racing competition in the world. In the past Formula One racing consisted of both private teams and corporate teams. The increasing cost of meeting the strict FIA rules combined with the dominance of teams owned by leading automobile manufacturers has forced most of the private racing teams to withdraw from Formula One racing. The only new teams to join the Formula One racing program in recent years have all been owned by automotive manufacturers. Today four teams dominate Formula One racing: McLaren-Mercedes, Ferrari, BMW and Renault. The McLaren-Mercedes team is based in Woking, UK. The team has been competing since 1966 and has won eight Formula One World Championships. The McLaren-Mercedes racecars feature a Mercedes-Benz FO 108T engine. Driving for McLaren-Mercedes are Lewis Hamilton and Fernado Alonso. Lewis Hamilton, from England, has entered a total of seven Grand Prix. He has not yet won a World Championship for Formula One racing. Spanish driver Fernado Alonso has entered over 95 Grand Prix races and has won two World Championships. Based in Maranello, Italy, team Ferrari has been competing in Formula One racing since 1950. Ferrari has won fourteen World Championships. Ferrari utilizes a 056 engine in the team's 2007 racecars. Brazilian native Felipe Massa has entered a total of 78 Formula One racing Grand Prix but has not yet won a World Championship. The 2006 Formula One racing season was Massa's first with Ferrari. He is considered a rising star in the Formula One racing circuit. Massa's teammate driver is Kimi Raikkonen of Finland. 2007 is Raikkonen's first season with Ferrari but he has entered 112 Grand Prix during his Formula One racing career. His failure to win a World Championship is blamed on equipment performance rather than his driving ability. Team BMW Sauber has dual home bases in Munich, Germany and Hinwil, Switzerland. Former team principal Peter Sauber stepped down after the team takeover by BMW in 2006. The team, which has been competing in Formula One racing since 1993 has not won a World Championship. For the 2007 Formula One racing season the team's cars are equipped with a BMW P86/7 engine. Neither Nick Heidfeld nor Robert Kubica, the team's two drivers, have ever won a World Championship. Heidfeld, a German, is more experienced, having entered 124 Grand Prix. Kubica is the first Polish driver to compete in Formula One racing. While he is an experienced test driver, Kubica has only entered 12 Grand Prix during his career. Enstone, England is the home base for the Renault team. Renault has won two World Championships since it began competing in Formula One racing in 1977. For 2007 Renault is using the RS27 engine for Formula One racing competition. Finnish driver Heikki Kovalainen is a relative newcomer in Formula One racing having entered only 7 Grand Prix. His more experienced teammate, Italian Giancarlo Fisichella, brings the experience of 186 Grand Prix to the 2007 season but neither has won a Formula One World Championship. Of the remaining seven Formula One racing teams for the 2007 season, only Williams-Toyota, Toyota and Red Bull-Renault are considered serious competition Winning a World Championship in Formula One racing is dependent upon the right mixture of excellent equipment and skillful drivers. The competition is fierce. Finding the right combination is the difference between a win and second place. These teams are ready to go. Formula One Racing Grand Prix Circuits Formula One racing evolved from early European Grand Prix racing. These early races here held on public streets and some of the current Grand Prix races continue to be held on them. Due to safety concerns associated with street racing, most Formula One racing events are held on circuits designed to meet the specific high performance demands of Formula One racecars. The number of Grand Prix held each year can vary. Most of the traditional venue locations remain on the schedule year after year. However, new circuits are built and added to the schedule each year, allowing Formula One racing to expand into new international markets. As a result, the season takes drivers on a tour of well-known circuits as well as exciting new locations. At the start of Formula One racing all of the races, except for the one race in the United States, were held in Europe. Over the years the popularity of the sport has led to the addition of circuits located around the world. In 1953 the first South American Grand Prix was held. It was followed by the addition of the African World Championship race in 1958. The 2007 season consists of 17 races, only 8 of which will be held in Europe. Formula One racing Grand Prix are now held in Europe, Asia, Australia, North American and South America. The best know and most loved of all Grand Prix circuits is the Monaco Grand Prix in Monte Carlo. World Championship Formula One racing has been at home on the Monte Carlo circuit since 1955. The Monte Carlo circuit has changed very little over the years. The most major change occurred in 2004 when a new pit complex was added and changes were made to increase the number of spectators that could be accommodated. The Monaco Grand Prix is the race that all Formula One racing drivers hope to win. The Monte Carlo circuit demands the best from each driver. It is a challenging and dangerous circuit. The Monaco Grand Prix separates the good from the great in Formula One racing and winners are considered among the best in Formula One racing history. In the United States, Formula One racing is held at the Indianapolis International Speedway, nicknamed The Brickyard. Between 1950 and 1960 the Indy 500 was a World Championship round in Formula One racing. After 1960 the event was no longer part of the championship series but Formula One racers continued to participate. Indianapolis again became host of a Formula One World Championship circuit in 2000 after a new infield racing course was built. Formula One racing is growing in popularity in the United States and the circuit at Indianapolis International Speedway has contributed to the fan growth. Many of the newer Formula One racing circuits have been designed by Hermann Tilke. The designs developed for newer circuits meet a higher safety standard than older circuits while providing access to larger audiences. Critics argue that the circuits have lost some of the character and challenges that made them popular but concede that safety is a top priority. No matter where in the world they are located, Formula One racing Grand Prix are exciting events that test the skills of the drivers and the quality of the equipment engineering. All About Formula One Racing Drivers During the early days of Formula One racing it was not unusual for drivers to be over forty years old. As the demands of the sport have changed so have the drivers. Today's Formula One racing drivers are younger. They also are more physically fit than drivers in the past. Training begins at a young age and the career of a Formula One racing driver is usually over by his mid-30s. Most Formula One racing drivers begin their careers driving in other European racing sports. In the past the Formula 3000 series was considered the final stepping-stone before entering Formula One racing. Recently, however, the champions in the new GP2 series have moved on to Formula One racing. Additionally, former British F3 drivers are also commonly found in Formula One racing. Working as a test driver for a Formula One racing team is considered the perfect training ground for drivers new to Formula One racing. Test drivers have the opportunity to drive during Friday on Formula One racing weekends. Considering the quantity of testing that is performed with Formula One racing vehicles, it is not uncommon for test drivers to complete a season with more drive time than the official team drivers. Formula One racing is a physically demanding sport that requires stamina and endurance. Formula One racing drivers are among the most conditioned athletes in the world. The aerodynamic design of a Formula One racecar allows it to create g-force up to 3.5. Drivers must be exceptionally strong to endure that amount of force for the length of a Formula One race. The heat centered in the cockpit of a Formula One racing vehicle can cause a driver to sweat up off up to six pounds of their body weight during a Formula One racing event. In order to successfully deal with the physical demands of Formula One racing, drivers workout using intensive cardio-vascular sports such as running and swimming. Special devices are used to strengthen neck and chest muscles. Strengthening these muscles is especially important considering the force exerted on the helmet and head while cornering. Strong arm muscles are required to control the high-speed Formula One cars. Formula One racing drivers follow a carefully regulated diet that controls the amounts of protein and carbohydrates their body absorbs. Like long-distance runners, Formula One racing drivers eat large quantities of pasta and other high-carb food for energy and stamina during race weekends. They must also make certain they consume large quantities of water prior to a race to prevent dehydration. The extreme demands of Formula One racing force most drivers from competition by their mid-30s. After retiring from Formula One racing many drivers continue to race in less demanding motor sports. Some former drivers choose to compete in DTM while others choose to move to America and compete in the IndyCar or NASCAR series. The Grand Prix Masters, a new series begun in 2005, requires that all drivers be retired Grand Prix drivers over 40 who have been retired at least two years. The Grand Prix Masters should be a common series to spot former Formula One racing drivers in the future. All About Flags Used in Formula One Racing Spectators at Formula One racing events notice race marshals using flags to send messages to the drivers. The marshals, positioned around the track, each have ten different flags. Today the flags serve an information source for spectators. Modern Formula One racing speeds make it difficult for drivers to be aware of the flags and react in a timely manner. Technological innovations now allow each Formula One racing cockpit to be equipped with a GPS marshalling system that displays the flag color when the driver is passing the relevant track location. Formula One racing flags follow a pattern. Many of the flags are common to most auto racing events and familiar to the general public. Others are specific to Formula One racing. The black and white checkered flag is perhaps the best known of all racing flags. The checkered flag indicates the finish of a session or race. During qualifying and practice sessions the flag is waved when the allotted time has elapsed. At the end of a Formula One racing event the checkered flag is waved first at the winner and then at all following cars so that they understand that the race has been completed. The red flag is also used to indicate the end of a Formula One racing session. The waving of a red flag indicates that the session has ended early, generally as a result of poor track conditions or because of an accident. The yellow and red striped flag informs drivers of adverse track conditions, such as oil or water on the track. It also may indicate debris on the track. Marshals may wave either one or two solid yellow flags in Formula One racing. A single yellow flag warns drivers to slow down. Overtaking is not permitted. The yellow flag indicates a problem ahead, often a stranded car. Two yellow flags are waved at once to indicate an even greater danger ahead and that vehicles may be required to stop. A single yellow flag along with the SC sign indicates to drivers that the safety car will be entering the track. When a slow moving vehicle has entered the track in Formula One racing the marshals wave a white flag, indicating that a reduction in speed is necessary. The green flag is waved as a message that the track has been cleared and the race may resume full speed. In Formula One racing the blue flag serves as a warning signal to a driver that a faster car is approaching. The driver is required to allow the faster car to pass. A driver that fails to allow the faster car to pass after passing three blue flags may be penalized. Formula One racing also uses flags to communicate to drivers regarding their status. A half black, half white flag is used in conjunction with a sign indicating a specific car number. Formula One racing uses this signal to inform a driver that his behavior is unacceptable. If the behavior continues the driver will be disqualified. A solid black flag accompanied by a car number sign notifies a driver that he has been disqualified and must return to his pit within the next lap. The final flag used by Formula One racing marshals is a black flag with an orange circle in the center. This flag is waved to tell a driver that a vehicle mechanical problem has been detected. The driver must return the car to the pit. Flags allow Formula One racing spectators to easily follow the flow of a Formula One racing event. All About Formula One Racing Event Weekends The Formula One racing World Championship season is held annually from early spring through fall. Races are held at locations around the world but each race weekend follows the same pattern. Each Formula One racing event is a three-day event held on a Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The exception to this is at the Monaco Grand Prix. In Monte Carlo Friday practices are moved to Thursday. Each driver is allowed two practices on Friday and one on Saturday. A team may use three drivers on Friday but only two cars. Friday and Saturday mornings are designated as practice times in Formula One racing. The Practice sessions are held prior to the start of qualifying sessions. Following the practice session a qualifying session is held. The Formula One racing qualifying sessions are used to determine starting positions for the race. Multiple sessions are run using a knockout system. Each round eliminates the slowest six drivers. The first six eliminated are the final six in the starting line-up. The six eliminated in the next round are the second to final six and so on. On race day the cars enter the track for a warm-up formation lap. Drivers use this lap to place their car in the correct starting line-up position. If a driver is delayed because of equipment issues he may start the race from the pit re-entry lane but only after all the other cars have passed. In Formula One racing the race is started using a light grid installed about the starting line. The race itself is just over 190 miles long. The number of laps required for a race varies by venue based on the length of the track. A race may last for a maximum of two hours in Formula One racing. The average race is usually only about ninety minutes long. During the race drivers will return to the pit area for tire changes, re-fueling and equipment maintenance as needed. Spectators are not allowed in the pit areas. Work is fast and furious while cars are in the pits and safety is a top priority. Spectators at Formula One racing events will notice the race marshals communicating with drivers using flags. Drivers know the meaning of each flag. Some are used to indicate a safety issue on the track, others warn a driver of unacceptable behavior. Most well known is the checkered flag that is waved when a race is completed. At the conclusion of a race the top eight drivers and their teams receive points. In Formula One racing the number of points received ranges from 10 to 1. The top driver and his team each receive 10 points, the number two driver and his team each receive 8 points. Because each Formula One racing team is able to enter two cars in a race, a team may earn points from two winning drivers. The top point earning driver and the top point earning team are recognized at World Champions at the end of the Formula One racing season. The points won at each Formula One racing weekend are important to the overall season results. Formula One racing weekends are a fun-filled and exciting time for teams and spectators alike. Understanding Formula One Racing Formula One racing is the most popular motor sport in the world. The rules governing Formula One racing are complex but it is not necessary to know or understand every detail of the regulations to enjoy the sport. Formula One racing as it is today evolved from European Grand Prix racing of the early 1900s. Although it is still considered a European sport, more of each season's World Championship events are held at locations outside of Europe than in Europe itself. The top Formula One racing teams do have European home bases. Formula One racing is the most regulated in all of auto racing. Restrictions are placed on every component of the vehicles. Constructors must be innovative in order to build a vehicle that will out-perform the other Formula One racing cars and yet meet all the FIA (International Automobile Federation) guidelines. The dangerous conditions of high speed racing led FIA to institute detailed safety regulations that impact every aspect from vehicle construction to the type of fabric used to create the driver's clothing. Each race is held at a different location. Some locations have traditionally always been part of Formula One racing. Monte Carlo is the perfect example. The Monaco Grand Prix held at Monte Carlo has become synonymous with Formula One racing because it is always part of the series. Originally Formula One racing Grand Prix were held on closed public streets and the Monaco Grand Prix continues to follow this tradition. Newer venues around the world, like the one at Bahrain, are held on tracks that have been designed specifically to meet the needs of Formula One racing. Teams must transport their vehicles, equipment and spare parts to each race. A Formula One racing team may enter up to two drivers and cars into each race. FIA has written guidelines regarding how the cars are painted. Both of a team's cars are similar in appearance but distinguishable. The World Championship season in Formula One racing lasts from early spring through fall each year. Races are three-day events with qualifying and testing run on Friday and Saturday. Qualification runs are timed sessions. Starting position is based on performance during these qualification sessions. A race day in Formula One racing is a loud, fast-paced, high-energy time for drivers, teams and spectators. The race consists of multiple laps around the circuit. This is true whether the race is held on public streets or on a racetrack. A special area alongside of the track is designated as the pit area. The pits are where teams perform work on their cars. Every car will need fuel added and tires replaced during the race. Additional parts will also need to be repaired or replaced. Pit crews are well known for their speed. Formula One racing marshals use flags to communicate to drivers during a race. In addition to the flags, a GPS system in each car indicates any current flag waving for the section of track the car is on at the time. Formula One racing awards a World Championship title on one driver and one team each season. At the end of each race the top drivers are awarded points based on their final ranking. Teams earn points for each of the two cars they have entered in the race. At the end of the season the driver and team with the most points are declared World Champions. Formula One Racing Cars Have Wings Aerodynamic design is as important to Formula One racing vehicles as it is to airplanes. You might not expect a racecar to have wings but Formula One racing cars do. An airplane is designed with wings to help it lift off the ground. The wings of an airplane are an important part of the aerodynamic design that helps it to fly. Airplane wings direct airflow around the wings and give the airplane the lift it needs to leave the ground. Formula One racing vehicles rely on aerodynamic design to increase speeds. Millions of dollars are spent on the research and development of better aerodynamic features for the racecars. Aerodynamic design in Formula One racing focuses on developing a design that will decrease the amount of drag the car creates and while creating a downforce that keeps the car's tires on the track. Downforce aerodynamics also influence cornering ability on the track. The first wings showed up in Formula One racing near the end of the 1960s. Early wings used in Formula One racing were movable and had high mountings. Although these wings did improve the aerodynamics of the racecar, they also contributed to major accidents. By the 1970 Formula One racing season FIA instituted regulations regarding wings for safety purposes. During the mid-1970s engineers experimented with methods to use the low-pressure area under the car as a "ground effect" downforce. FIA rules were changed and adapted to limit the benefits of this downforce. The aerodynamic force created by today's Formula One racing vehicles can be as great as three and one half times it's own weight. Theoretically, Formula One racing cars could drive upside down thanks to the downforce they create. Formula One racing engineers continue to explore opportunities to create greater downforce without increasing drag. Today wings configuration is customized for each specific Grand Prix location. On a street race course like Monaco the team uses aggressive design and placing of wings to create maximum downforce. Success on this type of course depends on a downforce to increase the vehicle's ability to stick to the road, especially while cornering. On high-speed Formula One racing circuits the aerodynamic need is to reduce drag on the long straights. As a result nearly the entire wing is stripped from the racecar for these races. The overall aerodynamics of a Formula One racing car are as important to winning as the wing design. Every feature of the racecar is tested in wind tunnels to determine the amount of drag and then analyzed. This allows for new designs that reduce air turbulence that slows the car. Even helmet design is based on aerodynamics. Because Formula One racing vehicles feature an open cockpit the driver's helmet creates air turbulence that slows the car. Today's helmet designers focus as much on aerodynamics as they do on safety. The final factor in the Formula One racing aerodynamic puzzle is that engineers must make certain that the cars are not too aerodynamic. A Formula One racing engine runs at very hot temperatures. Airflow must be designed to remove the heat from around the engine and reduce heat build-up. FIA continues to monitor the use of aerodynamic design features and wings by Formula One racing teams. Followers of Formula One racing can expect FIA to continue to make changes and additions to the regulars regarding these features as scientific advancements occur to ensure the safety of Formula One racing drivers.
Dangers in F1 racing There are inherent dangers in F1 racing that are worsened by the sport itself. It's obvious that speeding around a track over 100 mph is dangerous, but the design of the car and expectations of wealthy team owners can be just as dangerous. Being a cautious driver in F1 racing isn't as important as being a winning driver. Since safety isn't always the number one priority, the dangers in F1 racing might be ignored. The FIA, Formula One racing's official safety organization, have therefore, imposed a lot of the safety regulations that are in place today. Ever since the sport of Formula One began in the 1950's, peril has been infused into every part of F1 racing. The main difference between F1 racing and other professional races are the tracks. Most other tracks are simple oval designs that allow gradual turns. The dangerous part of F1 racing is the sharp left and right turns that drivers must make. Also, even those the tracks are closed-circuit, if a driver hasn't practiced sufficiently, the differences of a new track could mean disaster. Many measures have been put into place to offset the dangers in F1 racing. The earlier of those measures added has been the addition of the helmet for drivers. In the 1970's and 80's, F1 racing helmets started to be designed for drivers. This accessory is necessary considering the lack of protection of the open cockpit. Another helpful safety invention has been head and neck supports. The head and neck support system was put in place to prevent whiplash, which is one of the most common F1 racing injuries. The cockpit, or monocoque of the car, has also been strengthened in recent years to withstand a serious accident. These compartments are made of strong carbon fibre. A very real danger in F1 racing is on track hazards. Stalled cars, accidents and debris can all mean disaster if a driver is unaware of their existence. Different colored flags are waved during F1 races to indicate certain things. A yellow flag being waved indicates that a car will need to slow down. The driver is also not allowed to overtake another car after seeing this flag. A red flag signifies the premature end of the race, whether temporarily or for good. Finally, a red and yellow striped flag being waved can indicate slippery conditions on a track. There are many other colored flags that guide and warn drivers of the dangers in F1 races. The safety car has been added to the sport of F1 racing as well. This car keeps the pace of the race going by leading the drivers around the track. This is usually necessary when a hazard has been detected on the track or if a car becomes disabled. Many technological advances have been made as of late to ensure the safety of F1 drivers. The dangers in F1 racing are always going to exist and persist, so it's important for the industry to respond to those dangers. Safety in Formula One can be easy to attain; even while maintaining the exciting edge of speed and maneuvering. Transportation of Formula One Racing Equipment Much of the work surrounding successful Formula One racing teams is done behind the scenes. Spectators seldom wonder how the cars and all of their accompanying equipment arrive at the Grand Prix circuit or what is involved in getting them there. Transportation is a key component of Formula One racing although it is seldom considered. The transport department of a Formula One racing team is responsible for making certain that every aspect of moving the team and equipment from one location to the other is handled smoothly. The transport department must excel at handling small details perfectly. They coordinate couriers and deliveries as well as making certain every necessary travel arrangement is completed. Transportation to European Formula One racing locations is primarily handled with by truck. The individual truck convoys are operated by each Formula One racing team. Teams also bring along motor homes and kitchens for the comfort of team members present at the race. Moving a Formula One racing team from one circuit to another is not an easy task but becomes more complicated when the races are held on different continents. With races scattered around the globe teams must efficiently transport nearly tons of gear. When the Formula One racing series moves to Grand Prix locations outside of Europe the overall transportation needs are organized by Formula One Management (FOM). Equipment is transported in chartered jumbo jets. Formula One racing teams based in England depart from London and those from the continent depart from Milan. The expense to transport everything needed for a Formula One race is expensive. Like airline passengers who must observe luggage weight requirements, Formula One racing teams are limited to ten tons of free freight. Fees are charged to teams for all weight above the limit. The Concorde Agreement governs Formula One racing. The Concorde Agreement contains a formula that allows teams to receive a transportation subsidy based on performance at the end of the season. Competition for transportation subsidy funds is another incentive to keep Formula One racing teams pushing their cars to the limit. The list of equipment a Formula One racing team must transport to a race is overwhelming. The Formula One racing cars are transported in specially designed frames to prevent damage. Special containers are used to transport fuel and oil that meet FIA regulations. FOM must coordinate the transportation of the TV broadcasting equipment totaling over 50 tons. In addition, the testing equipment that FIA needs at each race must be transported and rebuilt at each Formula One racing venue. While FOM handles the overall logistics for transportation of the Formula One racing team equipment, each team's transport department is responsible for the details that make travel successful. They verify that travel tickets have been arranged and worry about passport issues. The logistics team is part travel agency and part deliver service. When races are scheduled just a week apart the Formula One racing team's logistic specialists make sure that the equipment is moved and reassembled at the new location in less than 72 hours. While they work behind the scenes and are seldom recognized, the efforts of Formula One racing's transport departments are key to a winning season. Design Features of Formula One Racing Cars Formula One racing is among the most popular motor sports in the world. What sets Formula One racing above all others is Formula One's strict rules. Most regulations pertain to the construction of the racecar and failure to follow the rules will result in elimination. Construction of a Formula One racing vehicle must allow for the fastest possible speed and the best handling capability combined with effective safety features. Today's Formula One cars push these to the limit. To gain maximum speed and fuel efficiency the car builders, or constructors, rely on aerodynamic design. These cars have has much aerodynamic design as a jet fighter. Unlike an airplane, however, Formula One racing constructors must find ways to create downforce. This force is needed to keep the tires on the track at high speeds and improve handling on corners. At the same time the design needs to allow air to flow freely around the car to eliminate any drag that would decrease speed or fuel efficiency. Today a Formula One racecar is designed to create such an aerodynamic downforce that theoretically they can drive upside down. The high speeds demanded by Formula One racing require an effective method to slow down or stop the racecars. The brakes used on Formula One cars are similar to the brakes used on standard street cars. Formula One cars have disc brakes. The major difference between the brakes used for Formula One racing and that of road vehicles is that the Formula One vehicles use carbon fiber composite brake discs to reduce weight and increase durability at higher temperatures. They are used in combination with specially compounded brake pads and work well at extremely high temperatures. The main body of a Formula One racing car is the monocoque. This section holds the cockpit and functions as the central part of the chassis. Both the engine and the front suspension are mounted onto the monocoque. Because it operates at the cockpit as well as the main structure of the car strength is important. Most of the monocoque structure is composed of carbon fiber. The cockpit, also called the survival cell, is designed with multiple safety features. A powerful but lightweight engine is key to Formula One racing success. FIA regulations now require that an engine last for more than one race weekend. This requires constructors to develop engines that will be durable as well as high performance. Engine failure is the leading cause of early race termination in Formula One racing. Equally stressed during Grand Prix is the transmission system of the race car. Formula One racing rules do not allow for automatic transmissions in the racecars. The transmissions used today are highly automated and easy for the driver to manipulate but they remain a manual transmission. Also important to Formula One racecar design is the suspension system. Passenger vehicles rely on suspension for comfort. Formula One cars are not designed with driver comfort in mind. The suspension systems in these cars must successfully combine the engine power, downforce and tire grip to create a faster car. The suspension systems are manually adjustable and are tuned to meet the needs of each circuit. The final key to a successful racecar is the tires. In 2007 only one tire supplier is approved for Formula One racing. Formula One racing tires use a special air mixture high in nitrogen to maintain uniform and longer lasting tire pressure. Constructors of Formula One cars must pay special attention to every detail to get the best performance possible from their car. Driver Safety in Formula One Racing The high speeds and challenging courses of Formula One racing make it a dangerous sport for drivers. Many of the rules in Formula One racing are designed with driver safety in mind and constructors are always looking at new design features to enhance driver safety. Formula One racing rules require that a driver must be able to get out of the racecar quickly. The exit must be accomplished in less than five seconds with the removal of nothing more than the steering wheel. According to FIA rules the steering wheel must also be able to be re-installed within five seconds to allow for quick removal of a car from the track to insure the safety of other Formula One racing drivers. The cockpit area of a Formula One racing car is referred to as the survival cell. In Formula One racing, the survival cell is equipped with a rollover protection hoop as well as front and rear crash protection features. Recent changes have focused on making side walls taller and stronger to protect the driver's head from flying debris. Formula One racing cars are put through crash tests to determine their ability to safely protect the driver. Although fires are rare in Formula One racing today, fire safety precautions are still an important part of driver safety. The clothing worn by race drivers are made from fireproof materials designed to protect the driver in case of fire until it can be extinguished. Design of the clothing must also take into account the extreme conditions that Formula One racing drivers face during a race. During a race drivers must endure extremely high temperatures inside the care and must wear items that allow sweat to escape to avoid overheating. Specially designed fabric that meets both the fireproof and wear-ability factors is used for everything, including the thread and sponsor patches on the uniform as well as the underwear worn by the driver. The shoulders on overalls worn by Formula One racing drivers have to large safety handles. Because FIA rules require that a driver be removed quickly from his car while strapped into the seat they are held in place with only two standardized bolts that can be removed with a tool carried by every rescue team. The long and strong straps make it possible to remove both driver and seat together. Helmets play a key role in Formula One racing safety. It is important that helmets be as lightweight as possible since added weight increases the severity of whiplash during a crash. Today's Formula One racing helmets weigh just under three pounds. The helmet is comprised of layers made of carbon fiber, a plastic like that used in bulletproof vests, a softer plastic and a covering of flameproof material. Visors are composed of a polycarbonate. The leading causes of death in auto racing accidents are skull and neck fractures resulting from rapid deceleration during accidents. The Head and Neck Support system (HANS) was designed to reduce these whiplash effects. The system consists of a collar that is attached to the safety belt and strapped to the helmet to hold the helmet in place during an accident. HANS usage became mandatory in Formula One racing in 2003. Injuries and accidents are unavoidable. Formula One racing sets high standards for medical care at each Grand Prix. Trained medical and extraction teams are in place at each race, each circuit has a fully equipped medical center and local hospitals are on standby during races. FIA strives to make Formula One racing as safe as possible though on-going innovations and rule changes. Formula One Records Show Changes in Sport's History The changes and history of Formula One racing are apparent when you look at the records that have been recorded since the sport's inception. For example, Mike Thackwell, 19, holds the record as the youngest Formula One racing driver. The 1980 Dutch Grand Prix was his first Formula One race. At the other end of the age record spectrum is Louis Chiron who entered the 1958 Monaco Grand Prix at 58 years old. A study of the oldest and youngest Formula One racing competitors shows that all of the oldest record holders entered races during the 1950s. Today the sport is so physically challenging that drivers begin Formula One racing at a younger age and retire by their mid-30s. Another change in Formula One racing is apparent in the statistics surrounding the most wins in a season. The record holder for the most wins in a Formula One racing season is Michael Schumacher with 13 wins in the 2004 season. Schumacher also holds the most wins record for 2002, 2001, 2000, 1995 and 1994. His 1994 record was for winning eight of the 16 races he entered which gives him a winning percentage of 50% In contrast, Alberto Ascari holds the Formula One racing record for the highest percentage of wins in a season. In the 1952 season Ascari won only six races. Those six wins, however, earn him a winning percentage of 75% for the Formula One racing events that he entered. Of the top ten record holders for highest percentage of wins in a Formula One racing season, seven of those drivers won six or less races in a season. All seven of those are for pre-1970 Formula One racing seasons. The comparison of these statistics indicates a change in Formula One racing seasons. Early Formula One racing drivers entered fewer races than drivers today because fewer Grand Prix were part of the racing season. Formula One racing has always relied on a point system for determining the title of World Champion at the end of a season. The point system has gone through changes over the years and that becomes most apparent in the statistics for the most championship points earned during a season. In the early years of Formula One racing points were awarded only to the top five finishers and the maximum point value was eight (with one bonus point awards for the fastest lap). By contrast, today's point system allows for a maximum of ten points and points are awarded to the top eight teams. The changes to the point systems, especially when combined with the increased number of Grand Prix per season are reflected in the statistics for the drivers with the most points accumulated during a season. In tenth place for this record is Nigel Mansell with 108 points earned during the 1992 season. The remaining top ten record holders have all been from Formula One racing seasons since 2000. Michael Schumacher currently holds first place in this category with 148 points earned during the 2004 season. The current point systems makes it impossible for early Formula One racing drivers to win a top spot in this category. Changes are necessary in most sports as they evolve but Formula One racing has had many changes through the years. These changes are necessary to keep the sport competitive and the impact of the changes are shown in the records of Formula One racing. Formula One Racing Terms You Need to Know Formula One racing is a sport defined by rules and regulations. It is also a sport with a long history. Like any sport with this background, Formula One racing has developed terms that are confusing or not understood by new fans. The information below highlights some of the more misunderstood terms used in Formula One racings. In Formula One racing "clean air" does not refer to fresh or filtered air. Clean air is the term used to refer to the air encountered by the head car in a race. The turbulence caused by the cars has not yet touched this air. It offers the best aerodynamic conditions for the drivers. Clean air is a benefit of leading the race. Near the end of a race a driver may realize he does not have enough fuel to complete the race. The driver will then "splash and dash". A splash and dash simply means that the driver enters the pits and the pit crew put only the small amount of gasoline needed to finish the race in his tank rather than to fill the tank. The driver gets a splash of gas and then dashes off for the finish. In Formula One racing a driver may be given a "stop-go penalty". This penalty requires the driver to stop at his pit area for ten seconds and then return to the race. The vehicle may not receive fuel or tires during this stop. It is a time-out penalty with the time spent in the pit. An alternative to the stop-go is the "drive-through penalty". The drive-through penalty differs from the stop-go in that the driver need not stop in the pit area but simply drive through the pits at the appropriate speed. "Stewards" are the three highest-ranking officials at a Formula One racing Grand Prix. They are responsible for making decisions about the race and the drivers. The "marshals" are the officials in charge of making certain the race is run safely. They are responsible for spectator safety, helping with disabled cars, dealing with fires. Formula One racing marshals are most often visible waving signal flags at the drivers. During a Formula One racing weekend teams keep their motor homes and transporters in an area referred to as the "paddock". This area is off limits to the public. Another restricted area is the "parc ferme". Parc Ferme refers to a special fenced-off area where cars are required to be once they complete qualifying and the race. Team members are not allowed to touch the cars to prevent any changes. During a race the Formula One racing team and their equipment are located in the "pits". Drivers pull their cars into their team's area of the pit for refueling, tire changes or any other type of repair that needs to be done to the vehicle. The "pit wall" area of the Formula One racing track provides a place for team managers, owners and engineers to monitor the race. The "chicane" may be unfamiliar to new Formula One racing fans. Chicane refers to a section of track that is designed to slow cars down using a series of corners that alternate directions. The chicane is an import safety design feature of Formula One racing tracks. Terms used in Formula One racing are not commonly understood. An introduction to the terms and their meaning will help you understand the sport of Formula One racing. F1 Engines In order to win races and keep a competitive edge, F1 engines must be uniquely designed to provide maximum performance with greatest longevity. Historically, engines that were built for F1 racing were not built to last much longer than a single race. Today, FIA regulations stipulations require engines to not fall apart never to be used again. However, even with all the technology available to racing teams, engine failure is the most common reason cars are sidelined. The specifications as well as the standards for F1 engines have changed many times since F1 races first began. One hundred bhp per litre was the expected output of a F1 engine over fifty years ago. Some fluctuations in output occurred since then. Now, the standard output is closer to 300 bhp per litre using a 2.4 litre V8 engine. Engines today can use 650 litres of air per second. In a race, the modern engine will use about 75 litres for each 100 kilometers. It's tempting to think that regular car engines bare any resemblance to the modern day F1 engine. Unfortunately, regular cars aren't capable of the same speed with typical car engines. Since reducing drag is a very important part of this sport, engines are built much smaller than normal car engines. Formula one engines also take up less space. Gearboxes are another feature attached to F1 engines. The gears are typically housed behind the steering wheel to make driving a lot less taxing for the driver in terms of his attention. Seven speed gearboxes are most common now. Transmissions on an F1 engine are connected straight to the engine and utilize electronic controls. The type of energy, or fuel, that's put into an engine isn't really an important factor for F1 engines. In fact, normal gasoline is used on the track to refuel cars. The gasoline is similar to that bought at a local gas station. The only time fuel really becomes an important part of an F1 engines' life is during diagnostics. Mechanics on a team look in the leftover fuel and oil left in the engine to see what metals appear there. This demonstrates the rate of which the engine is being worn. The FIA, standing for Federation of International Automobiles, in an effort to curb illegal rigging of F1 engines, has put in place penalties for those who create expensive, wear and tare engines. Since 2005, the FIA has will give a penalty of ten places in a race if a teams' engine fails to make it through two grand prix. The modern F1 engine is an amazing piece of machinery. With almost 5,000 parts composing the whole engine, it's not hard to see how expensive one really is. The speed and power that race cars are able to achieve are due in part to the 20,000 revolutions that the engine can make every minute. Formula one engines have come a long way and with their continuing evolutions, so too will evolve the sport closed track racing. The Teams of Formula One Behind every great driver, there is a great racing team. These teams consist of many people that make the whole Formula One operation work. There are pit crews, crew chiefs, owners, and sponsors just to name of few involved in a single team. Team McLaren has been with Formula One since 1966 when it premiered at the Grand Prix of Monaco. Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton are the current drivers of this team that is headed by Ron Dennis, the team principal. Team McLaren was founded by Bruce McLaren in 1963. The BMW Sauber team has been on and off the Formula One Circuit since its foundation in 1916. The drivers are Nick Heidfeld and Robert Kubica and the team principal is Mario Theissen. Felipe Massa and Kimi Raikkonen are the drivers for team Ferrari that was founded by Enzo Ferarri. Ferrari has been with Formula One is the beginning of the circuit and is now headed by team president Luca Di Montezemolo. Nick Fry is the team principal for Honda Racing. The current drivers are Jensen Button and Rubens Barrichello for the Formula One team that entered the circuit at the Grand Prix of Germany in 1964. Christian Horner is the team principal for Red Bull Racing that was founded in 2005 by Dietrich Mateschitz. David Coulthard and Mark Webber are the drivers for this team. In 1898, the Renault team was established yet did not break into the formula One circuit until 1977. Lead by team principal Flavio Briatore are drivers Giancarlo Fisichella and Heikki Kovalainen. A young entry into Formula One is the Spyker team. Since 2006, the team is lead by managing director Colin Kolles and was founded by Spyker Cars. Christijan Albers and Adrian Sutil are the drivers for the Spyker team. Takuma Sato and Anthony Davidson drive for the Super Alguri Formula One team. Established in 2005 its team principal and founder is Aguri Suzuki. Team principal Franz Tost heads the Toro Rosso Formula One team that was founded by Dietrich Mateschitz. Vitantonio Liuzzi and Scott Speed are the drivers for this team that debuted at Grand Prix of Bahrain in 2006. The Toyota racing team debuted at the Grand Prix of Australia in 2002. Team principal Tsutomu Tomita heads drivers Ralf Schumacher and Jarno Trulli. The Toyota team was founded by Hiroshi Okuda in 1999. At Great Britain in 1972, the Williams Formula One race team broke into the sport. The team was founded by Frank Williams who is also the team Principal Frank Williams heads drivers Nico Rosberg and Alexander Wurz. This was just a brief rundown of the teams that are seen on the Formula One circuit today, a brief history of their debut into Formula One racing, their team leaders, and their drivers. There are many more important people behind the scenes such as the designers, engine builders, and the crews that stay behind at the shops. It takes many people to make a great Formula One racing team. The History of Formula One Racing Formula One racing began in 1946, although it is said to have roots in the racing circuits as early as the 1890's in France. In 1946 Formula One racing was set as the premier single seat racing circuit worldwide by the Commission Sportive Internationale a division of the Federation Internationale de l'Automobile's or in abbreviation form the CSI of the FIA. The first World Championship for Formula One drivers was held in 1950. Giuseppe ("Nino") Farina, who drove an Alfa Romeo 158, won the first Formula One Championship by just 3 points. In the early years of Formula One racing, the Italian made cars were dominating the field. The Alfa Romeo, Ferrari, and Maserati were burning up the tracks with countless wins across the world. In 1954 and 1955, Mercedes were running the circuit, until a horrible accident at the end of the season in 1955. The accident killed 83 people and Mercedes withdrew from racing for nearly forty years. The car manufacturer Lancia also withdrew their cars from the Formula One racing after a driver was killed. It was never determined if Alberto Ascari's death was a direct result of his crash on the track that lead to his death four days later. Through the years the Formula One engine have with gone many changes, from things like fuel type changes to the size of the engine. The engine sizes had grown from a 2 liter to a 2.5 liter before they were downsized in 1961 to a non turbo 1.5 liter in order to slow the cars down. This engine was used for the next five years. They speed was returned in 1966 with Formula One engines increasing to the 1.5 liter turbo charged and a 3.0 liter engine. In 1968, Formula One racing saw 2 major changes that are still seen today. The use of non automobile related sponsorship was started and first used one a Lotus Formula One team. In May of that year they sported the colors of Imperial Tobacco's Gold Leaf brand, red, gold, and white. The wing that still appears on the car today was also introduced to Formula One that same year. Through the next ten years changes to the cars came and went. New things were tried but nothing that stuck until 1977. The ground effects which has be revealed a year early as an experiment were taking hold in the Formula One world. These ground effects made for a better down force which created a better grip for the cars and higher speeds. It was also in 1977 that Renault had introduced their RS01. This brought the 1.5 liter turbo charges engines and Michelin tires to Formula One. McLaren introduced the carbon fiber chassis in 1981. The carbon fiber was not only lighter but stiffer allowing for better grip and higher cornering speeds. The use of turbo engines grew through out the early 1980's until fuel consumption for the turbos were restricted. Then in 1984 refueling of the cars was banned, a blow to the high consuming turbo engines. After the reappearance of the atmospheric engines to Formula One in 1987, turbo engines were banned in 1989. In the years that followed FIA the rules and regulations have been changed for Formula One. As the fan base and popularity grows and new technology comes about the rules will continue to grow and change as Formula One does. The History of Formula One Racing - 2 Formula One racing developed as the premier motor sport over the past century. The early history of Formula One racing has roots in European Grand Prix racing. Formula One racing has evolved to become a global sport with fans in over 200 countries and racing circuits around the world. During the early years of auto racing in Europe, rules (formulas) were instituted to create standards for cars and drivers. These rules challenged the racecar builders, known as constructors, to develop safer and better performing cars. Prior to World War II plans had been set for a World Championship among Grand Prix organizations. Because racing was suspended during the war, the first Formula One World Championship was not held until 1950. Giuseppe Farina won the first Formula One World Championship at Silverstone, England. During the first years the championship title was given only to drivers. Since 1958 an additional championship title has been awarded to a constructor. The award for the drive and the award for the constructor are awarded independently. The World Champion title for Formula One racing is determined by a point system. The eight top drivers and their teams in each Grand Prix race are given points based on their finishing position. The top winner and his team each receive 10 points. The remaining seven winners and their teams receive 8, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2 or 1 point. Because most teams have two cars in each race a team may receive points for each car if they both finish in the top eight. The driver and the team with the most points each are declared the World Champion. In case of a point tie, the driver or team with the most number of Grand Prix wins during the season wins the award. Today Formula One racing and World Championship racing are interchangeable terms. World Championship races have always followed Formula One regulations. Prior to 1984, however, there were Formula One races that did not count toward the World Championship. As the expense of participating in Formula One racing increased it became more difficult to compete in non-world championship events. The final non-championship event was held in 1983. Technical advances in recent years have caused a dramatic increase in the cost of Formula One racing competition. Additionally, all Formula One racing World Champions since 1984 have been sponsored by major auto manufacturers. Independent racing teams struggle to afford the technical advances without major funding. Formula One racing has lost 28 teams and continuing financial stresses are likely to eliminate additional teams. Formula One racing is an expensive and exclusive sport and has evolved into a big business marketing competition as well as a competitive sport. Recently new teams owned by auto manufacturers have begun to join Formula One racing, taking the place of the independent teams. The International Automobile Federation (FIA) regulates Formula One racing today. The Formula One racing season lasts from early spring through fall. Races are held at circuits in Europe and around the world in places like China, Australia and Brazil. The 2007 Formula One racing schedule lists 17 races around the world. Formula One racing continues to reach a wider audience. New Grand Prix locations are planned. The future of Formula One racing looks as solid as the past. Famous Formula One Drivers Through the Years There are many things that make drivers a legend. From a diverse and faithful fan base to an uncanny driving ability that no other possesses, little things can make a driver a legend in their own rights. The legends are the drivers that are talked about long after their career is over and that are names that pop into your head when Formula One racing is talked about. Michael Schumacher is a seven time Formula One World Champion and according to the official Formula One website is statistically the greatest driver the sport has ever seen. He is known for his controversial driving. Michael Schumacher won two Formula One World Championships with Benetton and five more with Ferrari. He holds many reconds that are waiting to be broken with Formula One. Some of these titles are race victories, pole positons, and fastest laps. Juan Manuel Fangio began racing long before the start of Formula One. He was racing on the deadly Argentine tracks that seemed more concerned with thrilling the fans than the start of the drivers. Juan Manuel Fangio went to Europe to begin his Formula One career in 1947. He won two Formula One World Championships in 1951 and 1955 before his career to a downward turn when he was indirectly involved in the accident that killed 83 spectators. He went on to live to 1995 but his career had never recovered. Ayrton Senna Monaco made his way into the Formula One racing world in 1984. He held the record for most pole positions until 12 years after his death in 1994. Ayrton Monaco was the formula One World Champion in 1988, 1990, and 1991. He was killed in an accident as he was leading the race at the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix in Imola, Italy. Stirling Moss is a Formula One racing pioneer that never won a championship in his 14 year career. From 1948 until 1962 he was creating an excellent effort with numerous wins and pole positions but new quite was able to seal the deal. Aside from his Formula One racing career he was Knighted in 2000 as Sir Stirling Moss. Nigel Mansell's Formula One racing career began in 1980 and lasted until 1992 when he took a brat to run in the CART Indycar World Series. He returned to Formula One for a brief 2 year return in 1994 and 1995 for a total of six races. Nigel Mansell was the Formula One World Champion in 1992 and finished second in 1986, 1987, and 1991. Jackie Stewart is a Scottish Formula One driver that was nicknamed The Flying Scot. This now Formula One team owner had won three World Championships from 1965 to 1973. After receiving Rookie of the Year Honors in 1966 he won the Formula One World Championship in 1969, 1971, and 1973. With commentator and consultant for Ford Motor Company also under his career belt, Jackie Stewart also appeared in a UPS commercial to get Dale Jarrett "to drive the Big Brown Truck" in 2002 and 2003. This just touches base on a few of the great names of Formula One. As you can see it is not necessarily about how many championships they won, but also on how they played the game. The High Cost of Formula One Racing Formula One racing is among the most expensive of competitive sports. As a result corporate sponsorship is vital to keep a team competitive. Formula One racing team annual budgets are estimated to range from $66 million to $400 million. When the costs necessary to design and support a winning team are considered these estimates appear accurate. Successful Formula One racing requires specially designed vehicles. A Formula One racing team includes engineers and designers who create innovative ways to improve racecar design, safety and speed. These engineers and designers require computers and testing equipment. In addition, new design ideas must be custom created prior to vehicle testing. Vehicles must be track tested to determine whether a new design feature will work. Aerodynamic design features require wind tunnel testing which adds an additional expense to the design-testing program. Safety concerns and FIA regulations require specially formulated fabrics to be used in the making of Formula One racing overalls, helmets and portions of the racecar. The maintenance and repair of the two Formula One racing vehicles is also an expensive part of racing. Racecar engines are required to last for an entire race weekend but are replaced before each weekend. Each racecar will require multiple tire replacements during a race. Specially formulated fuel is required to operate the racecars. Multiple replacement parts for every portion of the Formula One racing vehicle need to be on hand at each circuit to prepare the car for the race. Because Formula One World Championship races are held at circuits around the world travel and transportation budgets are high for Formula One racing teams. At European races allow the team to transport their cars, equipment, motor homes and kitchen equipment by truck convoy. Circuits outside of Europe require that most of the same items be transported by jumbo jet with fees charged for excess weight. Formula One racing teams must also pay transportation, food and lodging expenses for all the necessary teams members who participate in the race. A Formula One racing team also consists of many behind the scenes employees who coordinate travel, handle publicity and perform other vital tasks. The number of team members required to operate a winning Formula One racing team results in an expensive payroll budget. A new team considering joining Formula One racing has another expense to consider. A $47 million up-front payment to FIA is required from any new team that wishes to enter the Formula One World Championship. This deposit is repaid to the team throughout the race season. During the 1990s technological advances caused a sharp increase in the cost of Formula One racing competition. Teams funded by large auto manufacturers had the advantage of deeper pockets as well as corporately supplied parts. As a result most independent teams were unable to maintain a competitive edge. Twenty-eight teams have left Formula One racing since 1990 as a result of the inability to match the financial resources for corporately funded teams. The popularity of Formula One racing creates interest from corporate sponsors looking for a high-profile sport with plenty of merchandising opportunities. Sponsorships work as an income source that Formula One racing teams can use to offset their increasing expenses. Continued popularity of the sport is certain to result in additional sponsorships in the future. As the cost of Formula One racing continues to increase teams will look for new and innovative sources of income. The Race Tracks of Formula One Racing With tracks placed around the world, Formula One is truly an international sport. The Albert Park Grand Prix Circuit is located in Melbourne, Australia and has been a part of the Formula One circuit from 1998. Michael Schumacher holds the titles for the fastest Pole Position time and the fastest lap time both set in 2004. The Sepang International circuit is located in Malaysia. Since 2000, it has been in the Formula One circuit. Michael Schumacher holds the fastest Pole Position title and Juan Pablo Montoya the fastest lap. The Bahrain International Circuit / Sakhir Grand Prix Circuit in Bahrain is new to Formula One. The first race was held there in 2006, the year in which Michael Schumacher got the fastest Pole Position and Nico Rosberg the fastest lap. The Circuit De Catalunya in Spain has been part of Formula One since 1991. The length of the track has changes through the years resetting all positions help. Circuit de Monaco was a part of Formula One history for 51 years. The last race was help there is 2006. During the last race there, Fernando Alonso started in the Pole Position and won the race. Since 1978, Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal, Canada has been a part of Formula One. Ralf Schumacher holds the fastest Pole Position and Rubens Barrichello the fastest lap, both set in 2004. The Indianapolis Motor Speedway was a part of Formula One from 2000-2007. Rubens Barrichello set both the fastest Pole Position and fastest lap these in 2004. Circuit de Nevers - Magny-Cours in France has been a part of Formula One since 1991. In 2004, Fernando Alonso set the record for fastest pole position and Michael Schumacher for fastest lap. Since 1950, Formula One has been racing at the Silverstone Circuit in Great Britain. Kimi Raikkonen holds the title for fastest Pole Position and Michael Schumacher for fastest lap, both set in 2004. Also set in 2004, Michael Schumacher holds the titles for fastest lap and Pole Positions at Nurburgring in Germany. Formula One has been racing there since 1951. Racing started in Hungaroring, Hungary in 1986 for Formula One. Michael Schumacher holds both the fastest lap and Pole Position titles there. Otodrom Istanbul Park in Turkey has only been home to one Formula One Race. The race was dominated by Felipe Massa who started on the pole and won the race. Michael Schumacher set fastest lap time. Autodromo Nazionale Di Monza in Italy has been a part of Formula One since 1950. Rubens Barrichello set both the fastest lap and Pole Position there in 2004. Circuit de Spa Francorchamps in Belgium was part of formula One racing for 22 years from 1983 to 2005. Michael Schumacher set the fastest Pole Position in 2002 and Kimi Raikkonen the fastest lap in 2004. Michael Schumacher and Rubens Barrichello dominated the Shanghai International Circuit in China in the three races that were raced there from 2004 to 2006. Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace in Brazil hosted seven Formula One races between 2000 and 2006. The fastest Pole Position was set by Rubens Barrichello and fastest lap by Juan Pablo Montoya both in 2004.
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