I can still remember the first Formula one race I watched. It was 2020 2nd Austrian Grand Prix where the 7-time F1 world champion Lewis Hamilton with his car ‘The W11’ graciously won the race. Even though I wasn’t the one racing, I could feel the adrenaline coursing through my body. I could feel the roars of millions of fans across the world.
F1 has gained a lot of fans primarily in Europe and Asia since its formation but it skyrocketed worldwide when Netflix released ‘Drive to Survive’, an acclaimed top-grossing sports documentary series. Since its release, the sport gained millions of fans. I would highly recommend you to watch the series with season 4 about to be released on 11th March 2022.
A sport where 20 best drivers in the world race against one another and win the title ‘Champion of the World’, thereby proving that he (or) she is the best amongst the best. F1 is a global phenomenon where billions of dollars are at play while entertaining its passionate fans around the globe.
Big automobile manufacturers like Ferrari, Mclaren, Mercedes take part in the sport not just to show the world that they are the fastest but to show that they are the most technologically advanced as well. Being a part of Formula One also boosts the companies’ image and shows the world that they are worthy of competing in one of the most difficult sports in the world.
This sport shines elegance, pleasure and class in the streets of Monte Carlo. It also shows speed, bravery and sophistication in the prestigious Monza while exhibiting passion, adversary and heritage in the track of Silverstone. Formula one is the sport where business meets pleasure. This is the sport that has it all.
A Glance into the world of Formula One:
For people who don’t know about the sport, this blog will help them understand it better. F1 exists since 1950. Gluseppe Farina won the first F1 championship title narrowly defeating Juan Manuel Fangio. Formula 1 consist of 20 elite drivers who belong to 10 different teams with each team consisting of 2 drivers. Not Everyone with an ordinary license will be allowed to race in F1. Only people with certain points in their ‘Super license’ will be allowed to race in Formula 1.
Fédération Internationale de l’automobile, commonly known as FIA, the governing body of not just F1 but also for a lot of other Motor Sport championships, give out super license to eligible racers.
F1 is called ‘The Circus’ because it moves around to almost all parts of the world except Africa. Just like a moving circus, F1 is always on the move starting from the Middle East, Europe, Asia, North and South America, for the last race of the season in Abu Dhabi they fly back to the Middle East.
Formula One Teams and Drivers:
There are ten teams and twenty drivers in the current Formula One grid. They are,
- Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula one team (Current and defending constructor champions)
- Lewis Hamilton 44 (7-time World Champion) and George Russell 63
- Oracle Redbull Racing Formula one team
- Max Verstappen 1 (2021 Formula 1 World Champion) and Sergio Perez 11
- Scuderia Ferrari
- Charles Leclerc 16 and Carlos Sainz 55
- Mclaren Racing
- Daniel Ricciardo 3 and Lando Norris 4
- BWT Alpine F1 team
- Fernando Alonso 14 (2-time World Champion) and Esteban Ocon 31
- Scuderia Alpha Tauri F1 team
- Pierre Gasly 10 and Yuki Tsunoda 22
- Aston Martin Cognizant Aramco F1 team
- Sebastian Vettel 5 (4-time World Champion) and Lance Stroll 18
- Williams Racing
- Alexander Albon 23 and Nicholas Latifi 6
- Alfa Romeo Orlen F1 team
- Valtteri Bottas 77 and Zhou Guanyu 24
- Haas F1 team
- Mick Schumacher 47 and TBC
These Formula one teams either build or purchase their whole or part of the power unit for their F1 cars. Currently, there are 4 power unit manufacturers in F1. They are,
- Mercedes Powertrains
- Honda Racing E-technology (Redbull Powertrains)
- Ferrari Powertrains
- Renault E-tech
Formula 1 happens only during weekends. F1 builds your anticipation and eagerness throughout the weekend. Thursday is media day where drivers and team principals address the media. But the real deal starts next day.
It starts on Friday where there will be two free practice sessions in which the drivers and engineers get to test their car setups and upgrades. F1 teams fine-tune their cars for each track. The teams won’t just make a car and race it on track. They develop the car throughout a racing season bringing upgrades to the track. An F1 car seldom stays the same since its first race.
Comparing a F1 car from the season premiere and the same car from season finale, it would have undergone massive changes. All the teams keep upgrading the car to make it faster than its competitors. These upgrades will usually be tested during free practices 1 and 2.
On Saturday, free practice 3 and qualifiers will take place. Qualifiers take place in three different sets. It is called Q1, Q2, Q3. During qualifiers, each driver with their car goes onto the track and tries to set the fastest lap (1 complete drive across the track is called a lap).
Keep in mind that the racers won’t race during qualifiers, they only try to set the fastest laps. After the qualifiers, the fastest driver with the fastest lap-time gets to start tomorrow’s race in the first grid position and the driver with the slowest lap-time will start at the back of the grid (20th grid postion). And other drivers will start from their respective grid position that is in accordance with the lap-time chart with the second fastest getting the 2nd grid position and so on.
Now Sunday which is also called the race day is the biggest and the most anticipated day of the weekend. We finally get to watch the fastest cars with elite drivers race one another. Each track has its own layout and distance. This affects how many laps a F1 race should consist. Except for Monaco, each race should be at least 305 kilometers long in total. This rule doesn’t apply to Monaco since it is one of the most heritage-rich venues.
Racers must follow racing regulations set by F1 and FIA. Suitable penalties will be imposed for those who disobey the rules and regulations. Penalties will be handed out by race stewards from race control who are appointed by FIA. For the first three finishes, special guests will honour them by awarding them trophies on the podium which is followed by a champagne celebration.
The Championship points:
Driver who won the race is awarded with 25 points and first place trophy. Driver who finished second is awarded with 18 points and a second-place trophy. Driver who finished third is awarded with 15 points and a trophy. The points gradually decrease until it reaches tenth position which is 1 point. Driver who set the fastest lap-time is awarded with 1 point, if he/she is in the top ten. Drivers outside of the top 10 will not be awarded with any points or trophies. These points are added to the driver’s championship points table.
F1 is a sport that has two championships namely the driver championship and constructor championship. Constructor championship points are points scored by each driver in the team and added together. In layman’s term, constructor points are team points and driver points are individual points for the driver. After the last race, whoever scored the highest point is considered the champion of that season.
Driver championship comes with a trophy which will be awarded in FIA prize-giving gala in Paris each year. Constructor championship also comes with a trophy but it also comes with a lot of cash. All the teams get paid at the end of the season. F1 is responsible for paying the teams that race in the sport.
Many teams, especially small teams, rely solely on the income that comes from the F1 cash award. The team at the top of the constructor points table will receive the largest amount while the team at the bottom of the table will secure the least cash award
Even though F1 does not disclose the amount given out to the team, as of 2017, it is approximately estimated that the winner is awarded with ₹1,132 crores. Drivers won’t be awarded with cash because they are already paid by the terms dictated by the contract which was signed between the driver and his/her respective team. After winning the championship in the last race of Abu Dhabi, F1 goes into winter break. Winter break starts from December to March 1st week. F1 will get back to racing again in the 2nd week of March.
Is Formula One Special?
This sport made me baffle at the sight of sophistication, precision and technology that went into every aspect of the sport. It is beloved for its complexity and the rush for speed from the very beginning. In this sport, just a millisecond could make a huge difference in the race.
I always thought I stood out and doesn’t belong in any normal place and I was fine with it. But I knew from the very first race I watched that I am finally home. I knew that I finally found my tribe, the tribe of racing. I sensed a belonging and a new found passion in F1 like none other. And I wish that more people would come together to experience this euphoric sport.
F1 is complex, technical and overwhelming for people peeping in for the first time. Every sport feels the same when you look at it for the first time. The same reasons for which everyone feels overwhelmed are the reasons that made me head over heels in love with it. Once you get to know about the sport, you won’t be able to take your eyes off of it. F1 is majorly under-rated in our country just like any other sport apart from cricket.
Exploring and expanding your horizon will give you a lot of knowledge and make you more interesting. F1 consist of physics, chemistry, engineering, athleticism and sportsmanship. It is the sport where the legends of science and legends of sport work together.
Since the 2022 season is around the corner and Season 4 of Netflix ‘Driver to survive’ is about to be released, it is a great time to get to know the sport and enjoy the adrenaline rush. Thank you for reading and keep an eye out for the upcoming spectacular F1 season.