Formula One, abbreviated to F1, is the highest class and most popular form of open wheeled auto racing defined by the Federation Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA), motorsport’s world governing body. The ‘formula’ in the name stands for a set of rules and regulations that are set by the FIA. The rules are regarding a specified format for the types of engine to be used, tyres, aerodynamics components, weight specification and the other rules which are to be followed by all the teams and drivers during a grand prix.
Dejargoned F1 for those who don’t watch F1…
The F1 world championship season consists of a series of races, known as Grand Prix, held usually on purpose-built circuits, and in a few cases on closed city streets. The results of each race are combined to determine two annual World Championships, one for drivers and one for constructors.
The cars race at high speeds being able to travel at up to 360 km/h (225 mph), and are capable of pulling up to 5g in some corners. The performance of the cars is highly dependent on electronics, aerodynamics, suspension and tyres. The formula has seen many evolutions and changes through the history of the sport.
The Formula One series has its roots in the European Grand Prix Motor Racing of the 1920s and 1930s. Formula One was a new formula agreed after World War II in 1946, with the first non-championship races being held that year and the World Drivers’ Championship being formalised in 1947. The first world championship race was held at Silverstone, United Kingdom in 1950. A championship for constructors followed in 1958.
The first Formula One World Championship was won by Italian Giuseppe Farina in his Alfa Romeo in 1950, barely defeating his Argentine teammate Juan Manuel Fangio.
Fangio, however, is remembered for dominating Formula One’s first decade and has long been considered the “grand master” of Formula One.
Although Formula 1 Grand Prix races always take place on a Sunday, there is a lot more activity than that surrounding a race and extending a week around the event. From the arrival of the motor homes and cars and garage equipment to the arrival of the drivers themselves, there’s a lot more to it than an hour and a half on Sunday afternoon. Race engineers work all time on every minute detail to help their drivers maneuver their way to the top under all the rules implied.
Modern Formula One cars are mid-engined open cockpit, open wheel single-seaters. The chassis is made largely of carbon fibre composites, rendering it light but extremely stiff and strong. The whole car, including engine, fluids and driver, weighs only 600kg. In fact this is the minimum weight set by the regulations – the cars are so light that they often have to be ballasted up to this minimum weight. The race teams take advantage of this by placing this ballast at the extreme bottom of the chassis, thereby locating the centre of gravity as low as possible in order to improve handling and weight transfer.
Engines are mandated as 2.4 litre naturally aspirated V8s, with many other constraints on their design and the materials that may be used. A wide variety of technologies – including active suspension, ground effect aerodynamics and turbochargers – are banned under the current regulations. Despite this the 2006 generation of cars can reach speeds of up to 350 km/h (around 220 mph) at some circuits. The downforce means that the cars can achieve a lateral force of up to five times the force of gravity (5 “g”) in cornering. Consequently in corners the driver’s head is pulled sideways with a force equivalent to 20kg. Such high lateral forces are enough to make breathing difficult and the drivers need supreme concentration and fitness to maintain their focus for the one to two hours that it takes to cover 305km.
In March 2007 F1 Racing published its annual estimates of spending by Formula One teams. The total spending of all eleven teams in 2006 was estimated at $2.9 billion. This was broken down as follows; Toyota $418.5 million, Ferrari $406.5 m, McLaren $402 m, Honda $380.5 m, BMW Sauber $355 m, Renault $324 m, Red Bull $252 m, Williams $195.5 m, Midland F1/Spyker-MF1 $120 m, Toro Rosso $75 m, and Super Aguri $57 million. The FIA is responsible for making rules to combat the spiralling costs of Formula One racing (which affects the smaller teams the most) and for ensuring the sport remains as safe as possible.
In the interest of making the sport truer to its designation as a World Championship, FOM president Bernie Ecclestone has initiated and organised a number of Grands Prix in new countries and continues to discuss new future races.
F1 DRIVER LINEUP 2008
Force India F1 is a Formula One motor racing team. The team was formed in October 2007, when a consortium led by Vijay Mallya and Michiel Mol bought the Spyker F1 team for € 88 million.
Force India F1 represents increased Indian participation within Formula One, with Delhi set to host the first ever Indian Grand Prix in 2010. The FIA confirmed the change in name from Spyker to Force India on 24th October 2007.
Although created in 2007, the team’s roots can be traced back to 1991, when it was founded as Jordan Grand Prix. The Silverstone-based squad and facilities were bought by the Midland group in 2005 and re-named Midland F1 in 2006, before being sold to Spyker Cars towards the end of the 2006 season. However, the running costs of a small Formula One team once again caused the sale of the team this time to the Orange India Holdings group, with Dr. Vijay Mallya and Michiel Mol taking over the ownership of the team.
VJM-01 was launched with a white, gold and tungsten colored livery at the Gateway of India, in Mumbai, India, on February 7th 2008. The car was named after Force India F1’s co-owner Dr. Vijay Mallya. team will be using customer Ferrari engines in 2008, with the team’s existing deal with Ferrari running to 2010. The team will also be using the Indian flag in its team logo from 2008. The two drivers racing for Forcr India in 2008 are Italian Giancarlo Fisichella and German Adrian Sutil with Vitantonio Liuzzi and former Spyker test drivers Roldan Rodriguez and Giedo van der Garde as Force India’s test drivers.
- Michael Schumacher holds the record for the most number of Career Points, Fastest Laps, Pole Positions, Podium Finishes, Wins and World Championships with 1369 Career Points, 76 Fastest Laps, 68 Pole Positions, 154 Podium Finishes, 91 Wins and 7 World Championships out of 250 race entries.
- Mike Thackwell is the youngest driver to start a race at 19 years and 182 days in the 1980 Canadian Grand Prix.
- Fernando Alonso is the youngest driver to win the World Championship at the age of 24 years and 59 days in the year 2005. He drove for Renault and also won the Championship in the following year, again for Renault.
- Ayrton Senna holds the record for most number of race wins with the lead during the entire race. He achieved this feat 19 times.
- Ferrari have the highest number of race wins and Constructor’s Championships numbering to 205 and 15, respectively.
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