Formula One Racing, also known by F1 or Formula 1, is the highest class of single-seat auto racing and is sanctioned by the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA). Since its inaugural season in 1950, the FIA Formula One World Championship has remained the leading brand of auto racing. The “formula” refers to stringent rules that each participant must obey.
In 1946, and after World War II, the new formula for Formula One was agreed upon, and the very first non-championship races were held. Prior to the war, racing was suspended due to the battle conflict, and the rules could not be formalized until 1947. It was not until 1950, in the United Kingdom at Silverstone, that the first ever world championship race was held. Since 1984, “Formula One race” and “World Championship race” have been synonymous, with every World Championship race being held to Formula One regulations, and every Formula One race being tallied towards an official FIA World Championship. Throughout the modern day F1 season, there are races known as “Grands Prix” (French for “great prizes”), held all over the world on designated public roads and specifically designed F1 circuit courses.
Drivers are required to hold a valid Super License, the absolute highest class of racing license issued by the FIA. In addition, the tracks where races are held must be graded at grade 1, the highest grade designated by the FIA. Each race is evaluated by a points system that ultimately determines two annual World Championships. One Championship is for constructors, and the other is for drivers.
Formula One cars are known to be the quickest road course racing cars found anywhere in the world, achieving speeds of up to 220mph through production of massive aerodynamic downforce. The overall performance of the cars relies on the inner workings of the electronic components, tyres, suspension, and aerodynamics. The sport has continued to evolve over the years, radically changing the sport and its history. Certain driving aids like traction control and ground-effects aerodynamics have been banned, while electronic driver aids began to be developed in the 1980’s.
Throughout history, practice sessions have been similar to qualifying sessions, and drivers had the opportunity to set their fastest time via one or more sessions. The best single lap for each driver would determine the grid order, normally between 26 cars, and the fastest time would earn the pole position. In the late 1990’s, the format for qualifying began to change, where the FIA considered limiting the number of laps was considered by the FIA. Cumulative time would be determined over two sessions, not just one, and each driver would only be allowed one qualifying lap.
During an actual race, drivers are encouraged to maximize the potential of their car by making pit stops to have the tyres changed and repair any damage that may have been sustained to the car. There are two compounds for the tyres that offer different adhesion qualities and durability, and the driver must use both compounds throughout the race, making at least one stop to satisfy this rule. Under normal circumstances, three stops are made but more stops may occur if the weather changes or any unexpected damage occurs to the car. If weather conditions do change, and rain tyres become necessary, the driver is no longer under an obligation to use the two different types of tires used on a dry course. Ultimately, the winner of the race is the first driver to cross the finish line after completing a set number of laps, without any disqualifications.
With a traditional base located in Europe, where half of the races for each year are held, the fan base for the sport has considerably and consistently spread out to other continents. Such growth in popularity is evidenced by the 425 million television viewer audience that tuned in to watch the races during the 2014 season. With this high number of viewers and fans, merchandising has also increased, resulting in hundreds of millions of dollars from investing sponsors and high budgets for the constructors. For more videos please visit F1 YouTube channel.
All of this technology, inventory, and staff come at an extremely high cost. The building and designing of a mid-tier car can reach a cost of $120 million, causing smaller teams to bankruptcy while the top teams have the ability and funding to continue on and earn more sponsorships and more prize money. Formula One drivers are the highest paid drivers in auto racing, surpassing the salary of any NASCAR or IndyCar driver, with the highest paid F1 driver earning a $40 million salary from Ferrari back in 2010.