India Sports

Formula One

Formula One, also referred to as Formula 1 or F1 and officially known as the FIA Formula One World Championship is the highest class single seater auto racing event supported by the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA). The F1 season comprises of a series of races known as Grands Prix (meaning "Grand Prize" in English). F1 races are held on purpose built circuits and public roads. The "Formula" in the name refers to a set of rules with which all participants must comply. The results of each race are combined to determine two annual world championships, one for the driver, and one for constructors with the racing driver, constructor team track officials. Organizers and circuits are required to be holders of valid Super Licenses, the highest class of racing license issued by the FIA.

F1 cars are considered to be the fastest circuit racing cars in the world, because of very high cornering speeds achieved through the generation of large amounts of aerodynamic downfalls. Formula 1 cars race at 800 revolutions per minute. a speed of 360 km/hour with engines that are limited in performance to 1The performance of cars is very dependent on electronics, although traction control and other driving aids have been banned since 2008- on aerodynamics, suspensions and tyres. The formula has seen much evolution and change through the history of the sport. Europe has been the base of the sport and it is where half of each year's races take place, though over the years an increasing number of Grand Prix are held in different countries around the world. Formula One is an immensely popular sport globally and during the 2010 FIA Formula One World Championship had a total TV audience of 527 million.

The F1 Group is the legal holder of all commercial rights, with an annual spending of billions of dollars. The sport has a significant economic effect and being a high profile sport makes it a great commercial environment though since 2000, due to the always increasing expenditure many teams from car makers and those teams with minimum support from the automotive industry have become bankrupt wanting to establish a team within the sport. Buyouts have also been influenced by F1 limiting the number of participant teams.

History of Formula One: The F1 series originated with the Europen Grand Prix Motor Racing of the 1920's and the 1930's. Formula one was a new formula agreed after World War 2 during 1946 with the first non- championship races being held that year. Numerous Grand Prix racing organizations had laid out rules for a world championship before the war but because no racing took place during the war the World Drivers Championship was not formed until 1947.

The first championship race was held at Silverstone in the United Kingdom, during 1950. A championship for constructors came later during 1958. National championships existed in South Africa and the United Kingdom in the 1960's and 1970's. Since then Formula One has grown in leaps and bounds and has come a long ay

Formula One Technology:
  • KERS: This acronym stands for Kinectic Energy Recovery System. This device recovers the kinetic energy that is present in the waste heat created by the cars braking process. It stores that energy and converts it into power that can be used to power acceleration.

  • Steering Wheel: Since F1 drivers have no spare concentration to operate controls, the controls and instrumentation for modern F1 cars have almost entirely migrated to the steering wheel itself- the critical interface between the driver and the car.

  • Downforce: This refers to the downward thrust created by the aerodynamic characteristics of the car. The purpose of down force is to allow the car to travel faster through a corner by increasing the vertical force of the tyres hence creating more grip.

  • Engine/Gearbox: F1 regulations require the use of 2.4 litre V8 engines. Revving to a limited 18,000 RPM, an F1 engine will consume 450 litres of air every second, with race fuel consumption ordinarily around the 751/100 km mark. Advancing at such speeds equates to an accelerative force on the pistons of more than 8000 times gravity.

  • Brakes: F1 cars have disc brakes, made of carbon fire, with rotating discs (attached to the wheels) being squeezed between the two brake pads by the action of a hydraulic calliper. This turns the car's momentum into large amounts of heat and light.

  • Accident Data Recorder: This device is a lot like the black box in an aircraft and records all the speed and deceleration data, which provide the basis for further safety improvements. Since 1999 it has been compulsory for every F1 car to be fitted with an accident data recorder.

  • Formula One Flags: Marshals use flags of different colours to communicate with drivers as they zoom around the race track. Flags are the only means at the official's disposal to communicate with drivers. These days a special device in each driver's cockpit, known as a GPS marshalling system, also lights up with the relevant flag. Here is a list of flags used to communicate with drivers:

  • Chequered Flag: When this flag is displayed it means that the race is over. This flag is shown to the winner first and then to the every race car that crosses the line behind them.

  • Black Flag: Displayed with the car number, this flag indicates that the driver must go to the pits as he has broken rules and is disqualified.

  • Black Orange Flag: Shown with a car number, this flag indicated that the car has a mechanical problem and the driver must return to his pit immediately.

  • Blue Flag: This flag is shown to a driver to indicate that there is a faster car behind him trying to overtake. This flag is shown both to lapped cars and to those racing.

  • Black and White Diagonal Flag: Displayed with the car number, this flag means that the driver has displayed unsportsmanlike behaviour. A black flag may follow this.

  • Green Flag: This signifies that a hazard has been cleared and cars can proceed at racing speed.

  • Red Flag: This flag means that the race has been stopped, usually because a car is lying in a dangerous position after an accident or because conditions are too poor for racing to be safe.

  • Red and Yellow Stripes Flag: This flag means that the track is slippery and warns of oil or water on the track.

  • White Flag: This flag warns of a slow moving vehicle on the track, like a tow truck or safety car.

  • Yellow Flag: This flag indicated danger ahead. A single waved yellow flag means slow down, a double waved yellow flag means warns that the driver must be prepared to stop if necessary.

  • Racing Gear of a Formula One Driver: What a driver wears during a race is imperative to his safety. Here is what calls for safe racing:

  • Helmets: A F1 driver's helmet is made of carbon fiber, polyethylene and fire resistant aramide and consists of several layers. Though the helmet is very lights and weighs only 1250 grams, it is very strong. The lighter the helmet, the better it is for the driver.

  • Clothing: The race suit worn by the drivers is made out of fire resistant, light weight artificial fiber which undergoes thermal testing in labs.

  • Boots, Gloves and Other Accessories: Gloves are made out of the same fire-resistant, lightweight artificial fibre. They are trimmed with leather so that they do not lose their grip over the steering wheel. The soles of the boots are very thin and are made of rubber.

Last Updated on 10/22/2012