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Formula One
F1 logo.svg
Category Single seaters
Country or region International
Inaugural season 1950[1]
Drivers 24
Teams 12
Engine suppliers Cosworth, Ferrari, Mercedes, Renault
Drivers' champion United Kingdom Jenson Button
Constructors' champion United Kingdom Brawn GP
Official website www.formula1.com
Motorsport current event.svg Current season
Formula One
Current season summary
2010 Formula One season
Related articles

History of Formula One
Formula One regulations
Formula One cars
Formula One racing
Future of Formula One

Lists
Drivers Constructors Seasons · Grands Prix · Circuits

Pointscoring systems
Engines · Tyres · National colors

Sponsorship liveries

Racing flags · TV broadcasters
People · Fatal accidents
Drivers who never qualified
Red-flagged Grands Prix

Records

Drivers (Wins) (Poles)
Constructors (Wins)
Engines · Tyres · Races

See also

Formula One, also known as Formula 1 or F1, and currently officially referred to as the FIA Formula One World Championship,[2] is the highest class of auto racing sanctioned by the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA). The "formula" in the name refers to a set of rules to which all participants' cars must comply[3] The F1 season consists of a series of races, known as Grands Prix, held on purpose-built circuits, and to a lesser extent, former public roads and closed city streets. The results of each race are combined to determine two annual World Championships, one for the drivers and one for the constructors, with racing drivers, constructor teams, track officials, organizers, and circuits required to be holders of valid Super Licences,[4] the highest class racing licence issued by the FIA.[5]

Formula One cars race at high speeds, up to 360 km/h (220 mph) with engines revving up to a formula imposed limit of 18,000 rpm. The cars are capable of pulling in excess of 5 g on some corners. The performance of the cars is highly dependent on electronics (although traction control and driving aids have been banned since 2008), aerodynamics, suspension, and tyres. The formula has seen many evolutions and changes through the history of the sport.

Europe is Formula One's traditional centre, where all of the teams are based, and where around half of the races take place. However, the sport's scope has expanded significantly in recent years and Grands Prix are held all over the world. Events in Europe and the Americas have been dropped in favour of races in Asia and the Far East—of the seventeen races in 2009, eight were held outside Europe.

Formula One is a massive television event, with an aggregate global audience of 600 million people per race.[6] The Formula One Group is the legal holder of the commercial rights.[7] As the world's most expensive sport,[8] its economic effect is significant, and its financial and political battles are widely covered. Its high profile and popularity make it an obvious merchandising environment, which leads to very high investments from sponsors, translating into extremely high budgets for the constructors. However, mostly since 2000, due to the always increasing expenditures, several teams, including works teams from car makers and those teams with minimal support from the automotive industry, have gone bankrupt or been bought out by companies wanting to establish a team within the sport; these buyouts are also influenced by Formula One limiting the number of participant teams.

Contents

History

The Formula One series has its roots in the European Grand Prix Motor Racing (q.v. for pre-1947 history) of the 1920s and 1930s. The "formula" is a set of rules which all participants and cars must meet. Formula One was a new formula agreed after World War II in 1946, with the first non-championship races being held that year. A number of Grand Prix racing organisations had laid out rules for a World Championship before the war, but due to the suspension of racing during the conflict, the World Drivers' Championship was not formalised until 1947. The first world championship race was held at Silverstone, United Kingdom in 1950. A championship for constructors followed in 1958. National championships existed in South Africa and the UK in the 1960s and 1970s. Non-championship Formula One events were held for many years but, due to the rising cost of competition, the last of these occurred in 1983.[9]

The sport's title, Formula One, indicates it is intended to be the most advanced and most competitive of the FIA's racing formulae.[10]

Return of racing

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. However Fangio won the title in 1951, 1954, 1955, 1956 & 1957 (His record of five World Championship titles stood for 45 years until German driver Michael Schumacher took his sixth title in 2003), his streak interrupted (after an injury) by two-time champion Alberto Ascari of Ferrari. Although the UK's Stirling Moss was able to compete regularly, he was never able to win the World Championship, and is now widely considered to be the greatest driver never to have won the title.[11][12] Fangio, however, is remembered for dominating Formula One's first decade and has long been considered the "grand master" of Formula One.

The period was highlighted by teams run by road car manufacturers—Alfa Romeo, Ferrari, Mercedes Benz and Maserati—all of whom had competed before the war. The first seasons were run using pre-war cars like Alfa's 158. They were front engined, with narrow tyres and 1.5 litre supercharged or 4.5 litre normally aspirated engines. The 1952 and 1953 world championships were run to Formula Two regulations, for smaller, less powerful cars, due to concerns over the paucity of Formula One cars available.[13] When a new Formula One, for engines limited to 2.5 litres, was reinstated to the world championship in 1954, Mercedes-Benz introduced the advanced W196, which featured innovations such as desmodromic valves and fuel injection as well as enclosed streamlined bodywork. Mercedes drivers won the championship for two years, before the team withdrew from all motorsport in the wake of the 1955 Le Mans disaster.[14]

The Garagistes

The first major technological development, Cooper's re-introduction of mid-engined cars (following Ferdinand Porsche's pioneering Auto Unions of the 1930s), which evolved from the company's successful Formula 3 designs, occurred in the 1950s. Australian Jack Brabham, World Champion in 1959, 1960, and 1966, soon proved the new design's superiority. By 1961, all regular competitors had switched to mid-engined cars.[15]

The first British World Champion was Mike Hawthorn, who drove a Ferrari to the title in 1958. However, when Colin Chapman entered F1 as a chassis designer and later founder of Team Lotus, British racing green came to dominate the field for the next decade. Between Brabham, Jim Clark, Jackie Stewart, John Surtees, Graham Hill, and Denny Hulme, British teams and Commonwealth drivers won twelve world championships between 1962 and 1973.

In 1962, Lotus introduced a car with an aluminium sheet monocoque chassis instead of the traditional space frame design. This proved to be the greatest technological breakthrough since the introduction of mid-engined cars. In 1968, Lotus painted Imperial Tobacco livery on their cars, thus introducing sponsorship to the sport.[16][17]

Aerodynamic downforce slowly gained importance in car design from the appearance of aerofoils in the late 1960s. In the late 1970s, Lotus introduced ground effect aerodynamics that provided enormous downforce and greatly increased cornering speeds (previously used on Jim Hall's Chaparral 2J in 1970). So great were the aerodynamic forces pressing the cars to the track (up to 5 times the car's weight), extremely stiff springs were needed to maintain a constant ride height, leaving the suspension virtually solid, depending entirely on the tyres for any small amount of cushioning of the car and driver from irregularities in the road surface.[18]

Big business

Damon Hill's Williams FW18 from 1996. The FW18 was one of the most successful cars of the era

Beginning in the 1970s, Bernie Ecclestone rearranged the management of Formula One's commercial rights; he is widely credited with transforming the sport into the billion-dollar business it is today.[19][20] When Ecclestone bought the Brabham team in 1971 he gained a seat on the Formula One Constructors' Association and in 1978 became its President. Previously the circuit owners controlled the income of the teams and negotiated with each individually, however Ecclestone persuaded the teams to "hunt as a pack" through FOCA.[20] He offered Formula One to circuit owners as a package which they could take or leave. In return for the package almost all are required to surrender trackside advertising.[19]

The formation of the Fédération Internationale du Sport Automobile (FISA) in 1979 set off the FISA-FOCA war, during which FISA and its president Jean-Marie Balestre clashed repeatedly with FOCA over television revenues and technical regulations.[21] The Guardian said of FOCA that Ecclestone and Max Mosley "used it to wage a guerrilla war with a very long-term aim in view." FOCA threatened to set up a rival series, boycotted a Grand Prix and FISA withdrew its sanction from races.[19] The result was the 1981 Concorde Agreement, which guaranteed technical stability, as teams were to be given reasonable notice of new regulations.[22] Although FISA asserted its right to the TV revenues, it handed the administration of those rights to FOCA.[citation needed]

FISA imposed a ban on ground effect aerodynamics in 1983.[23] By then, however, turbocharged engines, which Renault had pioneered in 1977, were producing over 700 bhp (520 kW) and were essential to be competitive. By 1986, a BMW turbocharged engine achieved a flash reading of 5.5 bar pressure, estimated to be over 1,300 bhp (970 kW) in qualifying for the Italian Grand Prix. The following year power in race trim reached around 1,100 bhp (820 kW), with boost pressure limited to only 4.0 bar.[24] These cars were the most powerful open-wheel circuit racing cars ever. To reduce engine power output and thus speeds, the FIA limited fuel tank capacity in 1984 and boost pressures in 1988 before banning turbocharged engines completely in 1989.[25]

The development of electronic driver aids began in the 1980s. Lotus began to develop a system of active suspension which first appeared in 1982 on the F1 Lotus 91 and Lotus Esprit road car. By 1987, this system had been perfected and was driven to victory by Ayrton Senna in the Monaco Grand Prix that year. In the early 1990s, other teams followed suit and semi-automatic gearboxes and traction control were a natural progression. The FIA, due to complaints that technology was determining the outcome of races more than driver skill, banned many such aids for 1994. This led to cars that were previously dependent on electronic aids becoming very "twitchy" and difficult to drive (notably the Williams FW16), and many observers felt the ban on driver aids was in name only as they "have proved difficult to police effectively".[26]

The teams signed a second Concorde Agreement in 1992 and a third in 1997, which expired on the last day of 2007.[27]

On the track, the McLaren and Williams teams dominated the 1980s and 1990s, with Brabham also being competitive in the early part of the 1980s, winning two drivers' championships with Nelson Piquet. Powered by Porsche, Honda, and Mercedes-Benz, McLaren won sixteen championships (seven constructors', nine drivers') in that period, while Williams used engines from Ford, Honda, and Renault to also win sixteen titles (nine constructors', seven drivers'). The rivalry between racing legends Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost became F1's central focus in 1988, and continued until Prost retired at the end of 1993. Senna died at the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix after crashing into a wall on the exit of the notorious curve Tamburello, having taken over Prost's lead drive at Williams that year. The FIA worked to improve the sport's safety standards since that weekend, during which Roland Ratzenberger also lost his life in an accident during Saturday qualifying. No driver has died on the track at the wheel of a Formula One car since, though two track marshals have lost their lives, one at the 2000 Italian Grand Prix,[28] and the other at the 2001 Australian Grand Prix.[28]

Since the deaths of Ayrton Senna and Roland Ratzenberger, the FIA has used safety as a reason to impose rule changes which otherwise, under the Concorde Agreement, would have had to be agreed upon by all the teams — most notably the changes introduced for 1998. This so called 'narrow track' era resulted in cars with smaller rear tyres, a narrower track overall and the introduction of 'grooved' tyres to reduce mechanical grip. There would be four grooves, on the front and rear — although initially three on the front tyres in the first year — that ran through the entire circumference of the tyre. The objective was to reduce cornering speeds and to produce racing similar to rain conditions by enforcing a smaller contact patch between tyre and track. This, according to the FIA, was to promote driver skill and provide a better spectacle.[citation needed]

Results have been mixed as the lack of mechanical grip has resulted in the more ingenious designers clawing back the deficit with aerodynamic grip — pushing more force onto the tyres through wings, aerodynamic devices etc — which in turn has resulted in less overtaking as these devices tend to make the wake behind the car 'dirty' (turbulent), preventing other cars from following closely, due to their dependence on 'clean' air to make the car stick to the track. The grooved tyres also had the unfortunate side effect of initially being of a harder compound, to be able to hold the groove tread blocks, which resulted in spectacular accidents in times of aerodynamic grip failure (e.g., rear wing failures), as the harder compound could not grip the track as well.

Drivers from McLaren, Williams, Renault (formerly Benetton) and Ferrari, dubbed the "Big Four", have won every World Championship from 1984 to 2008. Due to the technological advances of the 1990s, the cost of competing in Formula One rose dramatically. This increased financial burden, combined with four teams' dominance (largely funded by big car manufacturers such as Mercedes-Benz), caused the poorer independent teams to struggle not only to remain competitive, but to stay in business. Financial troubles forced several teams to withdraw. Since 1990, twenty-eight teams have pulled out of Formula One. This has prompted former Jordan owner Eddie Jordan to say the days of competitive privateers are over.[29]

Manufacturers' return

Michael Schumacher won five consecutive titles with Ferrari

Michael Schumacher and Ferrari won an unprecedented five consecutive drivers’ championships and six consecutive constructors’ championships between 1999 and 2004. Schumacher set many new records, including those for Grand Prix wins (91), wins in a season (13 of 18), and most drivers' championships (7).[30] Schumacher's championship streak ended on September 25, 2005 when Renault driver Fernando Alonso became Formula One’s youngest champion at that time. In 2006, Renault and Alonso won both titles again. Schumacher retired at the end of 2006 after sixteen years in Formula One, but came out of retirement for the 2010 season, racing for the newly-formed Mercedes GP.

During this period the championship rules were frequently changed by the FIA with the intention of improving the on-track action and cutting costs.[31] Team orders, legal since the championship started in 1950, were banned in 2002 after several incidents in which teams openly manipulated race results, generating negative publicity, most famously by Ferrari at the 2002 Austrian Grand Prix. Other changes included the qualifying format, the points scoring system, the technical regulations, and rules specifying how long engines and tyres must last. A 'tyre war' between suppliers Michelin and Bridgestone saw lap times fall, although at the 2005 United States Grand Prix at Indianapolis seven out of ten teams did not race when their Michelin tyres were deemed unsafe for use. During 2006, Max Mosley outlined a ‘green’ future for Formula One, in which efficient use of energy would become an important factor.[32] And the tyre war ended, as Bridgestone became the sole tyre supplier to Formula One for the 2007 season.

Since 1983, Formula One had been dominated by specialist race teams like Williams, McLaren, and Benetton, using engines supplied by large car manufacturers like Mercedes-Benz, Honda, Renault, and Ford. Starting in 2000, with Ford’s creation of the largely unsuccessful Jaguar team, new manufacturer-owned teams entered Formula One for the first time since the departure of Alfa Romeo and Renault at the end of 1985. By 2006, the manufacturer teams–Renault, BMW, Toyota, Honda, and Ferrari–dominated the championship, taking five of the first six places in the constructors' championship. The sole exception was McLaren, which is part-owned by Mercedes Benz. Through the Grand Prix Manufacturers Association (GPMA) they negotiated a larger share of Formula One’s commercial profit and a greater say in the running of the sport.[citation needed]

Manufacturers' decline and return of the privateers

In 2008 and 2009 Honda, BMW, and Toyota all pulled out of Formula 1 within the space of a year, blaming the economic recession. This led to the end of manufacturer dominance within the sport. The 2010 season will, however, see Mercedes Benz re-enter the sport as a manufacturer after its purchase of Brawn GP and split with McLaren after 15 seasons with the team. This will leave Mercedes, Renault, and Ferrari as the only car manufacturers in the sport and the only engine suppliers. AT&T Williams however confirmed towards the end of 2009 their new engine deal with Cosworth. The company will also supply the wave of new teams USF1, Virgin Racing, Hispania Racing F1, and the newly formed Lotus F1 team. The exit of car manufacturers has also paved the way for teams representing their countries, with some having the financial backing of their respective national governments (such as Lotus), something not seen since the 1930s. These "nationality teams" include Force India, USF1 (the first team in recent years to be based outside Europe), and Lotus, representing India, the United States of America, and Malaysia respectively.

Possible breakaway

As a result of the ongoing governance crisis in Formula One, the eight remaining teams of the Formula One Teams Association (FOTA) announced 18 June 2009 that they had no choice but to form a breakaway championship series.[33] The crisis originally formed around the proposed implementation of several radical changes to the 2010 regulations, most importantly the introduction of a £30 million budget cap (later revised to £40 million),[34] approved by the World Motor Sport Council (WMSC) on March 17.[33]

Under the proposed technical regulations, teams operating with the budget cap would be granted greater technical freedom, which included adjustable front and rear wings and an engine not subject to a rev limiter.[34] FOTA believed allowing some teams to have such technical freedom would have created a ‘two-tier’ championship, and thus requested urgent talks with the FIA. Talks broke down resulting in four of teams, Ferrari, Renault, Red Bull and Toro Rosso threatening not to sign on for the 2010 championship unless the rules were revised.[33]

FOTA and FIA again met for talks which again broke down, causing Ferrari to launch legal action to prevent the regulations from being applied, claiming a previously signed contract between themselves and the FIA gave them right to veto any new rules, a clause which they believe the FIA ignored. The injunction was rejected in French courts.[33]

Bernie Ecclestone, known as the "F1 Supremo" and CEO of FOM and FOA

25 May, Williams broke ranks with FOTA, submitting an entry for the 2010 season and were subsequently suspended indefinitely by FOTA, which brought the number of active teams to nine.[33]

29 May, the remaining FOTA teams submitted a joint, conditional entry which they state is only to be accepted if the proposed rules were amended to their preference. Seven days later, Force India revealed they followed Williams and submitted an unconditional entry for the 2010 season and were also suspended.[33]

FIA released the list of competing teams for the 2010 season 12 June 2009. USGPE, Manor Grand Prix, and Campos Grand Prix were added. FIA recognized the conditional nature of five of the FOTA teams, while automatically accepting the entries of Ferrari, Red Bull, and Toro Rosso. The remaining conditional teams were given a week to submit unconditional entries.[35]

A day before the final submission deadline, FOTA announced that they were unified in creating a breakaway championship series due to the apparently irreconcilable differences between their views and those of FIA.[33]

FIA threatened legal action against the FOTA teams, claiming they, and Ferrari in particular, had broken a signed contract to compete. It was estimated the proposed lawsuit could be for as much as $1 billion.[36]

21 June, Max Mosley decided FIA would not sue, insisting instead reconciliation was close.[37] Flavio Briatore denied the next day that a deal was close, insisting that FOTA was pressing on with their breakaway championship.[38]

24 June, an agreement was reached between Formula One's governing body and the teams to prevent a breakaway series. It was agreed teams must cut spending to the level of the early 1990s within two years; exact figures were not specified.[39]

However, shortly after this peace deal was reached on Wednesday, Mosley was reported as being 'furious' over remarks made by Luca Cordero di Montezemolo, who described Mosley as a dictator, also mentioning he had been forced out of office with Michel Boeri taking his place until a new leader was elected in October. Mosley described these statements as false as well as 'grossly insulting to the 26 members of the World Motor Sport Council who have discussed and voted all the rules and procedures of Formula One since the 1980s, not to mention the representatives of the FIA's 122 countries who have democratically endorsed everything I and my World Motor Sport Council colleagues have done during the last 18 years'.[40] Mosely told the media he would 'leave his options open'.[41] No apology was issued by FOTA or di Montezemolo, sparking speculation Mosley will seek re-election in October which would plunge Formula One back into crisis. Mosley's agreement to step down at the conclusion of his term was one of the major factors resulting in the reconciliation of FOTA with Formula One.

On 8 July, FOTA issued a press release stating they had been informed they were not entered for the 2010 season.[42] An FIA press release, published on the same date and regarding the same meeting, said the FOTA representatives had walked out of the meeting.[43] On 1 August, it was announced FIA and FOTA had signed a new Concorde Agreement, bringing an end to the crisis and securing the sport's future until 2012.[44]

Outside the World Championship

Currently, the terms "Formula One race" and "World Championship race" are effectively synonymous; since 1984, every Formula One race has counted towards an Official FIA World Championship, and every World Championship race has been to Formula One regulations. This has not always been the case, and in the earlier history of Formula One many races took place outside the world championship.

European non-championship racing

In the early years of Formula One, before the world championship was established, there were around twenty races held from late Spring to early Autumn in Europe, although not all of these were considered significant. Most competitive cars came from Italy, particularly Alfa Romeo. After the start of the world championship, these non-championship races continued. In the 1950s and 1960s, there were many Formula One races which did not count for the World Championship (e.g., in 1950, a total of twenty-two Formula One races were held, of which only six counted towards the World Championship). In 1952 and 1953, when the world championship was run for Formula Two cars, a full season of non-championship Formula One racing took place. Some races, particularly in the UK, including the Race of Champions, Oulton Park International Gold Cup and International Trophy, were attended by the majority of the world championship contenders. These became less common through the 1970s and 1983 saw the last non-championship Formula One race: The 1983 Race of Champions at Brands Hatch, won by reigning World Champion Keke Rosberg in a Williams-Cosworth in a close fight with American Danny Sullivan.[9]

South African Formula One championship

South Africa's flourishing domestic Formula One championship ran from 1960 through to 1975. The frontrunning cars in the series were recently retired from the world championship although there was also a healthy selection of locally built or modified machines. Frontrunning drivers from the series usually contested their local World Championship Grand Prix, as well as occasional European events, although they had little success at that level.[citation needed]

British Formula One Series

The DFV helped make the UK domestic Formula One series possible between 1978 and 1980. As in South Africa a generation before, second hand cars from manufacturers like Lotus and Fittipaldi Automotive were the order of the day, although some, such as the March 781, were built specifically for the series. In 1980, the series saw South African Desiré Wilson become the only woman to win a Formula One race when she triumphed at Brands Hatch in a Wolf WR3.[45]

Racing and strategy

A Formula One Grand Prix event spans a weekend. Currently, it begins with two free practice sessions on Friday (except in Monaco, where Friday practices are moved to Thursday), and one free practice on Saturday. Additional drivers (commonly known as third drivers) are allowed to run on Fridays, but only two cars may be used per team, requiring a race driver to give up their seat. A Qualifying session is held after the last free practice session. This session determines the starting order for the race.[46][47]

Qualifying

A typical pitwall control centre, from which the team managers and strategists communicate with their drivers and engineers over the course of a testing session or a race weekend.

For much of the sport's history, qualifying sessions differed little from practice sessions; drivers would have an entire session in which to attempt to set their fastest time, sometimes within a limited number of attempts, with the grid order determined by each driver's best single lap, fastest (on pole position) to slowest. Grids were limited to the fastest 26 cars and drivers had to lap within 107% of the pole sitter's time to qualify for the race. Other formats have included Friday pre-qualifying, and sessions in which each driver was allowed only one qualifying lap, run separately in a predetermined order.

The current qualifying system was adopted for the 2006 season. Known as "knock-out" qualifying, it is split into three periods (or rounds). In each period, drivers run qualifying laps to attempt to advance to the next period, running as many laps as they wish, with the slowest drivers being "knocked out" at the end of the period and their grid positions set, based on their best lap times. Cars are eliminated in this manner until 10 cars remain eligible to attempt to qualify for pole position in the third and final period. For each period, all previous times are reset, and only a driver's fastest lap in that period (barring infractions) counts. Under current rules, for all periods, any timed lap started before the chequered flag falls signalling the end of that period may be completed, and will count toward that driver's placement, even if they cross the finish line after the period has ended.[46][48] In the first two periods, cars may run any fuel load they wish, and drivers eliminated in these periods are allowed to refuel prior to the race. Cars taking part in the final period, however, must start the race with the fuel load left at the end of qualifying, meaning they must run the final period with their desired initial race fuel load in addition to fuel sufficient to complete the qualifying period itself. With refuelling banned during races from 2010 and onwards, the final session is run with low-fuel configuration, and the cars are to be refuelled after qualifying.

For example, for a 20-car grid, all 20 cars are permitted to take part in the first period. At the end of the period, the slowest five cars are eliminated and take up the last five grid positions (16 to 20). In the second period, the remaining fifteen cars take part, with five more cars eliminated at the end, taking the next five lowest grid positions (11 to 15). In the third and final period, the remaining 10 cars compete for pole position, and fill grid positions 1 through 10.

The knock-out format has received minor updates since its inception, such as adjustments to the number of drivers eliminated in each period as the total number of cars entered has changed.[49]

The race

The race begins with a warm-up lap, after which the cars assemble on the starting grid in the order they qualified. This lap is often referred to as the formation lap, as the cars lap in formation with no overtaking (although a driver who makes a mistake may regain lost ground provided he has not fallen to the back of the field). The warm-up lap allows drivers to check the condition of the track and their car, gives the tyres a chance to get some heat in them to get some much needed traction, and allows the pit crews to clear themselves and their equipment from the grid.

Once all the cars have formed on the grid, a light system above the track indicates the start of the race. Five red lights are illuminated one-by-one. The five lights are then extinguished simultaneously (instead of showing a green light), after a computer generated random time (typically less than 3 seconds) to signal the start of the race. The start procedure may be abandoned if a driver stalls on the grid, signalled by flashing amber lights. If this happens the procedure will restart and a new formation lap will begin and the offending car removed from the grid. The race may also be restarted in the event of a serious accident or dangerous conditions, with the original start voided. The race may also be started from behind the Safety Car if officials feel a racing start would be excessively dangerous, such as if the track is wet. There is no formation lap when races start behind the Safety Car.

The winner of the race is the first driver to cross the finish line having completed a set number of laps, which added together should give a distance of approximately 305 km (190 mi) (or 260 km (160 mi) for Monaco), or if race officials end the race (putting out a red flag) due to unsafe conditions, such as rain. Races are limited to two hours, although only tend to last this long in the case of extreme weather. Drivers may overtake one another for position over the course of the race and are 'Classified' in the order they finished the race. If a leader comes across a back marker (slower car) who has completed fewer laps than him, the back marker is shown a blue flag[50] telling him he is obliged to allow the leader to overtake him. The slower car is said to be 'lapped' and once the leader finishes the race is classified as finishing the race 'one lap down'. A driver can be lapped numerous times, by any car in front of him. A driver who fails to finish a race, through mechanical problems, accident, or any other reason is said to have retired from the race and is 'Not Classified' in the results.

When required, the safety car (above, driven by Bernd Mayländer) will lead the field around the circuit at reduced speed, until race officials deem the race safe to continue.

Throughout the race, drivers may make pit stops in order to refuel or change tyres (however, beginning with the 2010 season, refuelling is banned). Different teams and drivers employ different pit stop strategies in order to maximise their car's potential. There are two tyre compounds, with different durability and adhesion characteristics, made available to drivers. Over the course of a race, drivers must use both. One compound will have a performance advantage over the other and choosing when to use which compound is a key tactical decision to make. The softer of the available tyre compounds are marked with a green stripe on the tyre's sidewall to help spectators to understand the strategies. Under wet conditions drivers may switch to one of two specialised wet weather tyres with additional grooves (one "intermediate", for mild wet conditions, such as after recent rain, one "full wet", for racing in or immediately after rain). If rain tyres are used, drivers are no longer obliged to use both types of dry tyres. Typically, a driver will make between one and three scheduled stops, although he may have to make further stops to fix damage or if weather conditions change.

Race director
The current race director in Formula One is Charlie Whiting. This role involves him generally managing the logistics of each F1 Grand Prix, inspecting cars in Parc fermé before a race, enforcing FIA rules and controlling the lights which start each race. As the head of the race officials, he also plays a large role in sorting disputes amongst teams and drivers. Penalties, such as drive-through penalties (and stop-and-go penalties), demotions on a pre-race start grid, race disqualifications and fines can all be handed out should parties break regulations.
Safety car
In the event of an incident that risks the safety of competitors or trackside race marshalls, race officials may choose to deploy the safety car. This in effect neutralizes the race, with drivers following the safety car around the track in race order and at reduced speeds with overtaking not permitted. The safety car circulates until the danger is cleared when the race will restart with a 'rolling start'. Pit stops are permitted under the safety car. Mercedes-Benz currently supplies Mercedes-AMG models to Formula One to use as the safety cars. Since 2000[51], the main safety car driver has been German ex-racing driver Bernd Mayländer.
Red flag
In the event of a major incident or unsafe weather conditions, the race may be red flagged. Depending on the race distance covered at the time of the red flag, this can have several meanings:
  • If under 3 laps have been completed, the race is restarted from original grid positions. All drivers may take the restart, provided their car is in a fit state to do so.
  • If between 3 laps and 75% of the race distance have been completed, the race may be restarted once it is safe to do so using the race order at the time of the red flag. The two hour time limit still applies and the clock does not stop.
  • If more than 75% of the race distance has been completed then the race is finished and the race result counted back to the second last completed lap before the red flag.

The format of the race has changed little through Formula One's history. The main changes have revolved around what changes are allowed at pit stops. In the early days of Grand Prix racing, a driver would be allowed to continue a race in his teammate's car should his develop a problem; cars are now so carefully fitted to drivers, this is now impossible. In recent years, the focus has been on refuelling and tyre changes. From the 2010 season, refuelling will be banned to encourage less tactical racing, having only been re-introduced in 1994 following safety fears. The rule requiring both compounds of tyre to be used during the race was only introduced in 2007, again to encourage racing on the track. The safety car is another relatively recent innovation that meant fewer red flags were required, allowing races to be completed on time for a growing international live television audience.

Points system

Points awarded for finishing
Position Points
1st 25
2nd 18
3rd 15
4th 12
5th 10
6th 8
7th 6
8th 4
9th 2
10th 1

Various systems for awarding championship points have been used since 1950. In 2010, the top ten cars will be awarded points, the winner receiving 25 points. The total number of points won at each race are added together and the driver and constructor with the most points at the end of the season are World Champions. If both a team's cars finish in the points, they both receive Constructors Championship points, meaning the Drivers and Constructors Championships often have different results.

To receive points, a driver must be Classified. Strictly speaking in order to be Classified a driver need not finish the race, but complete at least 90% of the winner's race distance. Therefore, it is possible for a driver to receive some points even though he retired before the end of the race.

In the event that less than 75% of the race laps are completed, only half points are awarded to the drivers and constructors. This has happened on only five occasions in the history of the championship, with the last occurrence at the 2009 Malaysian Grand Prix when the race was called off after 31 laps due to torrential rain,[52] and decided the championship winner on at least one occasion.

A driver can switch teams during the season and keep any points gained at the previous team.

In 2010, Formula 1 modified its points system, giving points to the first ten drivers instead of eight or six in previous years.

Constructors

Since 1981,[53] Formula One teams have been required to build the chassis in which they compete, and consequently the terms "team" and "constructor" became more or less interchangeable. This requirement distinguishes the sport from series such as the IndyCar Series which allows teams to purchase chassis, and "spec series" such as GP2, which require all cars be kept to an identical specification. It also effectively prohibits privateers, which were common even in Formula One well into the 1970s.

McLaren won all but one race in 1988 with engine partner Honda, and remains a championship contender in the present day

The sport's debut season, 1950, saw eighteen teams compete, but due to high costs many dropped out quickly. In fact, such was the scarcity of competitive cars for much of the first decade of Formula One that Formula Two cars were admitted to fill the grids. Ferrari is the only still-active team which competed in 1950.

Early manufacturer involvement came in the form of a "factory team" or "works team" (that is, one owned and staffed by a major car company), such as those of Alfa Romeo, Ferrari, or Renault. After having virtually disappeared by the early 1980s, factory teams made a comeback in the 1990s and 2000s and formed up to half the grid with Ferrari, Jaguar BMW, Renault, Toyota, and Honda either setting up their own teams or buying out existing ones. Mercedes-Benz owned 40% of the McLaren team and manufactures the team's engines. Factory teams currently make up the top competitive teams; in 2008 wholly owned factory teams took four of the top five positions in the Constructors' Championship, and McLaren the other. Ferrari holds the record for having won the most Constructors' Championships (fifteen). However by the end of the 2000s factory teams were once again on the decline with only Ferrari, Mercedes-Benz and Renault lodging entries to the 2010 championship.

Ferrari have competed in every season, and hold the record for most titles

Companies such as Climax, Repco, Cosworth, Hart, Judd and Supertec, which had no direct team affiliation, often sold engines to teams that could not afford to manufacture them. In the early years, independently owned Formula One teams sometimes also built their engines, though this became less common with the increased involvement of major car manufacturers such as BMW, Ferrari, Honda, Mercedes-Benz, Renault, and Toyota, whose large budgets rendered privately built engines less competitive. Cosworth was the last independent engine supplier, but lost its last customers after the 2006 season. Beginning in 2007, the manufacturers' deep pockets and engineering ability took over, eliminating the last of the independent engine manufacturers. It is estimated the major teams spend between €100 and €200 million ($125–$250 million) per year per manufacturer on engines alone.[54][55]

In the 2007 season, for the first time since the 1984 rule, two teams used chassis built by other teams. Super Aguri started the season using a modified Honda Racing RA106 chassis (used by Honda in the 2006 season), while Scuderia Toro Rosso used a modified Red Bull Racing RB3 chassis (same as the one used by Red Bull in the 2007 season). Such a decision did not come as a surprise because of spiralling costs and the fact Super Aguri is partially owned by Honda and Toro Rosso half owned by Red Bull. Formula One team Spyker raised a complaint against this decision, and other teams such as McLaren and Ferrari have officially confirmed they support the campaign. Because of this use of other teams' chassis, the 2006 season could have been the last one in which the terms "team" and "constructor" were truly interchangeable. This attracted the Prodrive team to F1 to the 2008 season, where it intended to run a customer car. After not being able to secure a package from McLaren, Prodrive's intention to enter the 2008 season was dropped after Williams threatened legal action against them. Now, it seems customer cars will be formally banned in 2010.[56]

Although teams rarely disclose information about their budgets, it is estimated they range from US$66 million to US$400 million each.[57]

Entering a new team in the Formula One World Championship requires a £25 million (about US$47 million) up-front payment to the FIA, which is then repaid to the team over the course of the season. As a consequence, constructors desiring to enter Formula One often prefer to buy an existing team: B.A.R.'s purchase of Tyrrell and Midland's purchase of Jordan allowed both of these teams to sidestep the large deposit and secure the benefits the team already had, such as TV revenue.

Time line showing the history of each current (as of 2010) constructor's involvement in F1, under various names (current iterations in bold)
1950s 1960s 1970s 1980s 1990s 2000s 2010s
0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0
Ferrari
McLaren
Tyrrell BAR Honda Brawn Mercedes
Williams
Toleman Benetton Renault
Minardi Toro Rosso
Jordan Midland Spyker Force India
Sauber BMW Sauber BMW Sauber††
Stewart Jaguar Red Bull
Lotus
Hispania
Virgin
† Although Brawn GP was formed following the takeover of the Honda team, it is officially considered to have been a brand new entrant in the 2009 season

†† Sauber enter in Toyota's vacated entry slot, rather than BMW Sauber's and therefore act as a new entry in the 2010 season, however the team entered with the name BMW Sauber and are yet to change their name

Drivers

Jenson Button, the current World Champion
The Formula One Drivers' Trophy

Modern drivers are contracted to a team for at least the duration of the season, but drivers are often fired or even swapped during the course of a season. Although most drivers earn their seat on ability, commercial considerations also come into play with teams having to satisfy sponsors and suppliers. Most teams also have a spare driver, whom they bring to race weekends, in case of injury or illness to a main driver. All competitors must be in possession of a FIA Super Licence.

Each driver is assigned a number. The previous season's champion is designated number 1, with his team-mate given number 2. Numbers are then assigned in order according to each team's position in the previous season's constructors' championship. The number 13 is not used.

There have been exceptions to this rule, such as in 1993 and 1994, when the current World Drivers' Champion (Nigel Mansell and Alain Prost, respectively) was no longer competing in Formula One. In this case the drivers for the team of the previous year's champion are given numbers 0 (Damon Hill, on both occasions) and 2 (Prost himself and Ayrton Senna—replaced after his death by David Coulthard and occasionally Nigel Mansell–respectively). The number 13 has not been used since 1976, before which it was occasionally assigned at the discretion of individual race organisers. Before 1996, only the world championship winning driver and his team generally swapped numbers with the previous champion–the remainder held their numbers from prior years, as they had been originally set at the start of the 1974 season. For many years, for example, Ferrari held numbers 27 and 28, regardless of their finishing position in the world championship.

Jochen Rindt is the only posthumous World Champion after his points total was not overhauled despite his fatal accident at the 1970 Italian Grand Prix.

Michael Schumacher holds the record for having won the most Drivers' Championships, with seven.

Feeder series

GP2, the main F1 feeder series

Most F1 drivers start in kart racing competitions, and then come up through traditional European single seater series like Formula Ford and Formula Renault to Formula 3, and finally the GP2 Series. GP2 started in 2005, replacing Formula 3000, which itself had replaced Formula Two as the last major "stepping stone" into F1. Most champions from this level graduate into F1, but 2006 GP2 champion Lewis Hamilton became the first F2, F3000 or GP2 champion to win the Formula One driver's title in 2008.[58] Drivers are not required to have competed at this level before entering Formula One. British F3 has supplied many F1 drivers, with champions including Nigel Mansell, Ayrton Senna and Mika Häkkinen having moved straight from that series to Formula One. More rarely a driver may be picked from an even lower level, as was the case with 2007 World Champion Kimi Räikkönen, who went straight from Formula Renault to F1.

American Championship Car Racing has also contributed to the Formula One grid with mixed results. CART Champions Mario Andretti and Jacques Villeneuve became F1 World Champions. Other CART or ChampCar Champions, like Michael Andretti and Cristiano da Matta won no races in F1. Other drivers have taken different paths to F1; Damon Hill raced motorbikes, and Michael Schumacher raced in sports cars, albeit after climbing through the junior single seater ranks. To race, however, the driver must hold an FIA Super Licence–ensuring that the driver has the requisite skills, and will not therefore be a danger to others. Some drivers have not had the license when first signed to a F1 team; Räikkönen received the license despite having only 23 car races to his credit.

Beyond F1

DTM has become a popular destination for retired F1 drivers

Most F1 drivers retire in their mid to late 30s; however, many keep racing in disciplines which are less physically demanding. The German touring car championship, the DTM, is a popular category involving ex-drivers such as two-times F1 champion Mika Häkkinen, Ralf Schumacher and Jean Alesi, and some F1 drivers have left to race in America—Nigel Mansell and Emerson Fittipaldi duelled for the 1993 CART title, Juan Pablo Montoya, Nelson Piquet Jr and Scott Speed have moved to NASCAR. Some drivers, such as Vitantonio Liuzzi, Narain Karthikeyan and Jos Verstappen went on to race in A1 Grand Prix, and some, such as Gerhard Berger and Alain Prost, returned to F1 as team owners. Since its inaugural season in 2008, Superleague Formula has attracted such ex-Formula One drivers as Sébastien Bourdais, Antônio Pizzonia and Giorgio Pantano. A series for former Formula One drivers, called Grand Prix Masters, ran briefly in 2005 and 2006.[59] Others have become pundits for TV coverage such as Martin Brundle for ITV (and subsequently BBC) and Jean Alesi for Italian national network RAI and David Coulthard for the BBC. Others, such as Damon Hill and Jackie Stewart take active roles in motorsport in their own countries.

Grands Prix

The number of Grands Prix held in a season has varied over the years. Only seven races comprised the inaugural 1950 world championship season; over the years the calendar has almost tripled in size. Though the number of races had stayed at sixteen or seventeen since the 1980s, it reached nineteen in 2005.

Six of the original seven races took place in Europe; the only non-European race that counted towards the World Championship in 1950 was the Indianapolis 500, which, due to lack of participation by F1 teams, since it required cars with different specifications from the other races, was later replaced by the United States Grand Prix. The F1 championship gradually expanded to other non-European countries as well. Argentina hosted the first South American grand prix in 1953, and Morocco hosted the first African World Championship race in 1958. Asia (Japan in 1976) and Oceania (Australia in 1985) followed. The current nineteen races are spread over the continents of Europe, Asia, Oceania, North America and South America.

Cars wind through the infield section of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway at the 2003 United States Grand Prix.

Traditionally each nation has hosted a single Grand Prix, which carries the name of the country. If a single country hosts multiple Grands Prix in a year they receive different names. For instance, a European country (such as Britain, Germany or Spain) which has hosted two Grands Prix has the second one known as the European Grand Prix, while Italy's second grand prix was named after nearby republic of San Marino. Similarly, as two races were scheduled in Japan in 1994/1995, the second event was known as the Pacific Grand Prix. In 1982, the United States hosted three Grands Prix.

The Grands Prix, some of which have a history that pre-dates the Formula One World Championship, are not always held on the same circuit every year. The British Grand Prix, for example, though held every year since 1950, alternated between Brands Hatch and Silverstone from 1963 to 1986. The only other race to have been included in every season is the Italian Grand Prix. The World Championship event has taken place exclusively at Monza with just one exception: in 1980, it was held at Imola, host to the San Marino Grand Prix until 2006.

One of the newer races on the Grand Prix calendar, held in Bahrain, represents Formula One's first foray into the Middle East with a high-tech purpose-built desert track. The Bahrain Grand Prix, and other new races in China and Turkey, present new opportunities for the growth and evolution of the Formula One Grand Prix franchise while new facilities also raise the bar for other Formula One racing venues around the world. In order to make room on the schedule for the newer races, older or less successful events in Europe and the Americas have been dropped from the calendar, such as these in Argentina, Austria, Mexico, France, San Marino, and the United States.

Even more recent additions to the calendar include the Valencia Street Circuit, which became the host of the European Grand Prix in 2008, giving Spain two Grands Prix.[60] In September 2008, the Singapore Grand Prix, hosted the first night race ever held in Formula One, in order to be held at a time better suited to the sport's core European audience.[61] The most recent addition to the calendar is the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, which hosted the final race of the 2009 season, becoming the first day-to-night race. New circuits scheduled to join the calendar in the near future include the Korean Grand Prix, which will be held for the first time in October 2010, and the Indian Grand Prix which will be held in Delhi, India in 2011.[62]

Circuits

The Autodromo Nazionale Monza, home to the Italian Grand Prix, is one of the oldest circuits still in use in Formula One

A typical circuit usually features a stretch of straight road on which the starting grid is situated. The pit lane, where the drivers stop for fuel and tyres during the race, and where the teams work on the cars before the race, is normally located next to the starting grid. The layout of the rest of the circuit varies widely, although in most cases the circuit runs in a clockwise direction. Those few circuits that run anticlockwise (and therefore have predominantly left-handed corners) can cause drivers neck problems due to the enormous lateral forces generated by F1 cars pulling their heads in the opposite direction to normal.

Most of the circuits currently in use are specially constructed for competition. The current street circuits are Monaco, Melbourne, Valencia, and Singapore, although races in other urban locations come and go (Las Vegas and Detroit, for example) and proposals for such races are often discussed–most recently London and Paris. Several other circuits are also completely or partially laid out on public roads, such as Spa-Francorchamps. The glamour and history of the Monaco race are the primary reasons why the circuit is still in use, since it is thought not to meet the strict safety requirements imposed on other tracks. Three-time World champion Nelson Piquet famously described racing in Monaco as "like riding a bicycle around your living room"[citation needed].

Circuit design to protect the safety of drivers is becoming increasingly sophisticated, as exemplified by the new Bahrain International Circuit, added in 2004 and designed—like most of F1's new circuits—by Hermann Tilke. Several of the new circuits in F1, especially those designed by Tilke, have been criticised as lacking the "flow" of such classics as Spa-Francorchamps and Imola. His redesign of the Hockenheim circuit in Germany for example, while providing more capacity for grandstands and eliminating extremely long and dangerous straights, has been frowned upon by many who argue that part of the character of the Hockenheim circuits was the long and blinding straights into dark forest sections. These newer circuits, however, are generally agreed to meet the safety standards of modern Formula One better than the older ones.

The most recent additions to the F1 calendar are Valencia[60] , Singapore[63] and Abu Dhabi.[64] A Formula 1 Grand Prix will be held in India for the first time in 2011.[65]

A single race requires hotel rooms to accommodate at least 5000 visitors. [5]

Cars and technology

A birdseye view of the rear of a 2006 McLaren MP4-21

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 605 kg (1334 lb)—the minimum weight set by the regulations. The construction of the cars is typically lighter than the minimum and so they are ballasted up to the 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.[66]

The cornering speed of Formula One cars is largely determined by the aerodynamic downforce that they generate, which pushes the car down onto the track. This is provided by "wings" mounted at the front and rear of the vehicle, and by ground effect created by low pressure air under the flat bottom of the car. The aerodynamic design of the cars is very heavily constrained to limit performance and the current generation of cars sport a large number of small winglets, "barge boards" and turning vanes designed to closely control the flow of the air over, under and around the car.

The other major factor controlling the cornering speed of the cars is the design of the tyres. From 1998 to 2008, the tyres in Formula One were not "slicks" (tyres with no tread pattern) as in most other circuit racing series. Instead, each tyre had four large circumferential grooves on its surface designed to limit the cornering speed of the cars.[67] Slick tyres returned to Formula One in the 2009 season. Suspension is double wishbone or multilink all round with pushrod operated springs and dampers on the chassis. The only exception being on that of the 2009 specification Red Bull Racing car (RB5) which uses pullrod suspension at the rear, the first car in over 20 years to do so.[68]

Carbon-Carbon disc brakes are used for reduced weight and increased frictional performance. These provide a very high level of braking performance and are usually the element which provokes the greatest reaction from drivers new to the formula.

A BMW Sauber P86 V8 engine, which powered their 2006 F1.06.

Engines must be 2.4 litre normally aspirated V8s, with many other constraints on their design and the materials that may be used. Engines run on unleaded fuel closely resembling publicly available petrol.[69] The oil which lubricates and protects the engine from overheating is very similar in viscosity to water. The 2006 generation of engines spun up to 20,000 RPM and produced up to 780 bhp (580 kW).[70] For 2007 engines were restricted to 19,000 RPM with limited development areas allowed, following the engine specification freeze from the end of 2006.[71] For the 2009 Formula One season the engines have been further restricted to 18,000 RPM.[72]

A wide variety of technologies — including active suspension, ground effect, and turbochargers — are banned under the current regulations. Despite this the current generation of cars can reach speeds up to 350 km/h (220 mph) at some circuits.[73] A Honda Formula One car, running with minimum downforce on a runway in the Mojave desert achieved a top speed of 415 km/h (258 mph) in 2006. According to Honda, the car fully met the FIA Formula One regulations.[74] Even with the limitations on aerodynamics, at 160 km/h (99 mph) aerodynamically generated downforce is equal to the weight of the car, and the oft-repeated claim that Formula One cars create enough downforce to "drive on the ceiling", while possible in principle, has never been put to the test. Downforce of 2.5 times the car's weight can be achieved at full speed. The downforce means that the cars can achieve a lateral force with a magnitude of up to 3.5 times that of the force of gravity (3.5g) in cornering.[75] Consequently, the driver's head is pulled sideways with a force equivalent to the weight of 20 kg in corners. 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 complete the race. A high-performance road car like the Ferrari Enzo only achieves around 1g. [76]

Revenue and profits

Estimated budget split of a Formula One team based on the 2006 season.

Formula 1 is profitable for most parties involved—TV channels make profits from broadcasting the races, and teams get a slice of the money from the sale of broadcasting rights and from the sponsor's logos on their cars.

The cost of building a brand new permanent circuit like that in Shanghai, China can be up to hundreds of millions of dollars, while the cost of converting a public road, such as Albert Park, into a temporary circuit is much less. Permanent circuits, however, can generate revenue all year round from leasing the track for private races and other races, such as MotoGP. The Shanghai circuit cost over $300 million.[77] The owners are hoping to break-even by 2014. The Istanbul Park circuit cost $150 million to build.[78]

Not all circuits make profits—Albert Park, for example, lost $32 million in 2007.[79]

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 US. 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.

Costs vary greatly from team to team. Honda, Toyota, McLaren-Mercedes, and Ferrari are estimated to have spent approximately $200 million on engines in 2006, Renault spent approximately $125 million and Cosworth's 2006 V8 was developed for $15 million.[80] In contrast to the 2006 season on which these figures are based, the 2007 sporting regulations ban all performance related engine development.[81]

Future

Formula One went through a difficult period in the early 2000s. Viewing figures dropped, and fans expressed their loss of interest due to the dominance of Michael Schumacher and Scuderia Ferrari.[82] Viewing figures are seeing some signs of recovery due to the varied seasons since 2005. Ferrari's and Schumacher's 5 year domination ended in 2005 as Renault became the top team in Formula One, with Fernando Alonso becoming the new (and youngest ever at the time) World Champion. There has since been a resurgence of interest in the sport, especially in Alonso's home country of Spain, and Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button's home country of the United Kingdom. In 2006, twenty-two teams applied for the final twelfth team spot available for the 2008 season. The spot was eventually awarded to former B.A.R. and Benetton team principal David Richards' Prodrive organization, but the team pulled out of the 2008 season in November 2007.

A sign displaying that the safety car (SC) is deployed. Safety is of paramount concern in modern F1.

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, especially in the wake of the deaths of Roland Ratzenberger and Ayrton Senna in 1994. To this end the FIA have instituted a number of rule changes, including new tyre restrictions, multi-race engines, and reductions on downforce. Safety and cost have traditionally been paramount in all rule-change discussions. More recently the FIA has added efficiency to its priorities. Currently the FIA and manufacturers are discussing adding bio-fuel engines and regenerative braking for the 2011 season. Former FIA President Max Mosley believes F1 must focus on efficiency to stay technologically relevant in the automotive industry as well as keep the public excited about F1 technology.

In the interest of making the sport truer to its role 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. The sport's rapid expansion into new areas of the globe also leaves some question as to which races will be cut.

Television

Formula One can be seen live or tape delayed in almost every country and territory around the world and attracts one of the largest global television audiences. The 2008 season attracted a global audience of 600 million people per race.[6] It is a massive television event; the cumulative television audience was calculated to be 54 billion for the 2001 season, broadcast to two hundred countries.[83]

Track photographers at the 2007 British Grand Prix.

During the early 2000s, Formula One Group created a number of trademarks, an official logo, and an official website for the sport in an attempt to give it a corporate identity. Ecclestone experimented with a digital television package (known colloquially as Bernievision) which was launched at the 1996 German Grand Prix in cooperation with German digital television service "DF1", thirty years after the first GP colour TV broadcast, the 1967 German Grand Prix. This service offered the viewer several simultaneous feeds (such as super signal, onboard, top of field, backfield, highlights, pit lane, timing) which were produced with cameras, technical equipment and staff different from those used for the conventional coverage. It was introduced in many countries over the years, but was shut down after the 2002 season for financial reasons.

TV stations all take what is known as the "World Feed", either produced by the FOM (Formula One Management) or occasionally, the "host broadcaster". The only station that originally differed from this was "Premiere"—a German channel which offers all sessions live and interactive, with features such as the onboard channel. This service was more widely available around Europe until the end of 2002, when the cost of a whole different feed for the digital interactive services was thought too much. This was in large part because of the failure of the "F1 Digital +" Channel launched through Sky Digital in the United Kingdom. Prices were too high for viewers, considering they could watch both the qualifying and the races themselves free on ITV.

2003–2008 Official FOM still from the pre-race opening sequence.

However, upon the commencement of its coverage for the 2009 season, the BBC reintroduced complementary features such as the "red button" in-car camera angles, multiple soundtracks (broadcast commentary, CBBC commentary for children, or ambient sound only) and a rolling highlights package. Different combinations of these features are available across the various digital platforms (Freeview, Freesat, Sky Digital, Virgin Media cable and the BBC F1 web site) prior to, during, and after the race weekend. Not all services are available across all the various platforms due to technical constraints. The BBC also broadcasts a post-race programme called "F1 Forum" on the digital terrestrial platforms' "red button" interactive services.

Bernie Ecclestone had announced that F1 would adopt the HD format near the end of the 2007 season. A subsequent announcement in early 2008 claimed that the BBC would be broadcasting F1 for five years starting in 2009, regaining the rights from ITV who had been broadcasting it since 1997.[84] However, on 31 December 2008, Roger Mosey, Director of BBC Sport announced that F1 would not be broadcast on BBC HD[85] because "no HD world feed is available".[86]

Other media

Formula 1 has an extensive web following, with most major TV companies covering it such as the BBC. The Formula 1 website is the official website for Formula One, and has a live timing Java applet that can be used during the race to keep up with the leaderboard in real time. Recently an official application has been made available in the iTunes App Store that allows iPhone / iPod Touch users to see a real time feed of driver positions,[87] timing and commentary.

Distinction between Formula One and World Championship races

Currently the terms "Formula One race" and "World Championship race" are effectively synonymous; since 1984, every Formula One race has counted towards the World Championship, and every World Championship race has been to Formula One regulations. But the two terms are not interchangeable. Consider that:

  • the first Formula One race was held in 1947, whereas the World Championship did not start until 1950.
  • in the 1950s and 1960s there were many Formula One races which did not count for the World Championship (e.g., in 1950, a total of twenty-two Formula One races were held, of which only six counted towards the World Championship). The number of non-championship Formula One events decreased throughout the 1970s and 1980s, to the point where the last non-championship Formula One race was held in 1983.
  • the World Championship was not always exclusively composed of Formula One events:
    • The World Championship was originally established as the "World Championship for Drivers", i.e., without the term "Formula One" in the title. It only officially became the Formula One World Championship in 1981.
    • From 1950 to 1960, the Indianapolis 500 counted towards the World Championship. This race was run to AAA/USAC regulations, rather than to Formula One regulations. Only one of the world championship regulars, Alberto Ascari in 1952, competed at Indianapolis during this period.
    • From 1952 to 1953, all races counting towards the World Championship (except the Indianapolis 500) were run to Formula Two regulations. Formula One was not "changed to Formula Two" during this period; the Formula One regulations remained the same, and numerous Formula One races were staged during this time.

The distinction is most relevant when considering career summaries and "all time lists". For example, in the List of Formula One drivers, Clemente Biondetti is shown with 1 race against his name. Biondetti actually competed in four Formula One races in 1950, but only one of these counted for the World Championship. Similarly, several Indy 500 winners technically won their first world championship race, though most record books choose to ignore this and instead only record regular participants.

The most recent example of a "Formula One race" not being a "World Championship race" very nearly occurred at the 2005 United States Grand Prix. 14 of the 20 drivers ended up not racing due to problems with their Michelin tyres, and Max Mosley's refusal to find a suitable solution to the problem left 9 of the ten teams in agreement about hosting a non championship race. It was only because of Ferrari's refusal to go with these plans that this alternative failed to take place, although it was stated that Mosley had informed Mr Martin, the FIA's most senior representative in the USA, that if any kind of non-championship race was run, or any alteration made to the circuit, the US Grand Prix, and indeed, all FIA-regulated motorsport in the US, would be under threat".[citation needed] On the same day that Stoddart's version of events was published, the FIA issued a statement denying that Mosley had made the reported threat or that any such conversation had taken place.

See also

References

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Further reading

  • Arron, Simon & Hughes, Mark (2003). The Complete Book of Formula One. Motorbooks International. ISBN 0-7603-1688-0.
  • "FIA Archive". (2004). Federation Internationale de l'Automobile. Retrieved 25 October 2004.
  • "Formula One Regulations". (2004). Federation Internationale de l'Automobile. Retrieved 23 October 2004.
  • Gross, Nigel et al. (1999). "Grand Prix Motor Racing". In, 100 Years of Change: Speed and Power (pp. 55–84). Parragon.
  • Hayhoe, David & Holland, David (2006). Grand Prix Data Book (4th edition). Haynes, Sparkford, UK. ISBN 1-84425-223-X.
  • Higham, Peter (2003). The international motor racing guide. David Bull, Phoenix, AZ, USA. ISBN 1-893618-20-X.
  • "Insight". (2004). The Official Formula 1 Website. Retrieved 25 October 2004.
  • Jones, Bruce (1997). The Ultimate Encyclopedia of Formula One. Hodder & Stoughton.
  • Jones, Bruce (1998). Formula One: The Complete Stats and Records of Grand Prix Racing. Parragon.
  • Jones, Bruce (2003). The Official ITV Sport Guide: Formula One Grand Prix 2003. Carlton. Includes foreword by Martin Brundle. ISBN 1-84222-813-7.
  • Jones, Bruce (2005). The Guide to 2005 FIA Formula One World Championship : The World's Bestselling Grand Prix Guide]. Carlton. ISBN 1-84442-508-8.
  • Lang, Mike (1981–1992). Grand Prix! volumes 1–4. Haynes, Sparkford, UK.
  • Menard, Pierre (2006). The Great Encyclopedia of Formula 1, 5th edition. Chronosport, Switzerland. ISBN 2-84707-051-6
  • Miltner, Harry (2007). Race Travel Guide 2007. egoth: Vienna, Austria. ISBN 978-3-902480-34-7
  • Small, Steve (2000). Grand Prix Who's Who (3rd edition). Travel Publishing, UK. ISBN 1-902007-46-8.
  • Tremayne, David & Hughes, Mark (1999). The Concise Encyclopedia of Formula One. Parragon
  • Twite, Mike. "Formula Regulations: Categories for International Racing" in Northey, Tom, ed. The World Of Automobiles, Volume 6, pp. 701–3. London: Phoebus, 1978.

External links


Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

This article is a travel topic.

Destinations

The Formula One racing season changes yearly, but the following Formula One tracks are currently in use:

Bahrain

Barcelona, Spain

The circuit is about one hour from the city by train.

Budapest, Hungary

Francorchamps, Belgium

Hockenheim, Germany

Indianapolis, United States

As of 2007, the F1 race in Indianpolis has been canceled.

Istanbul, Turkey

It takes place in IstanbulPark [1], which is located near Akfirat town, which is located about 20 km east of downtown Istanbul, in Asian Side. It's very near Sabiha Gokcen Airport (SAW) [2], which is generally used by low-cost airlines. City's public transport authority (IETT [3]) also provides public buses from city's central parts during races.

Melbourne, Australia

Monaco

The highlight of the Formula One Season provides a great opportunity for fans to get close to the action at a reasonable price.

There is a large general admission area called Sector Rocher from which you can see about half of the track, and the large screen on the other side of the harbor; as there is no reserved seating, places fill up early.

After the cars have finished racing, it is possible to walk around the circuit.

Unlike at other circuits, the Formula One racing takes place on Thursday, Saturday and Sunday.

Montreal, Canada

The Grand Prix takes place at Circuit-Gilles Villeneuve. This circuit is at Parc Jean-Drapeau on Île Notre-Dame island right across downtown Montreal. The island is connected by a metro line and taking the metro is defenitely the way to go.

Monza, Italy

Monza during GP days it's connected with several special trains from Milan and in that period cars are not allowed to enter in the city (except for inhabitants) but have to be left in special parking areas connected with the circuit by free shuttle.The special train stops at Biassono-Lesmo station.

The circuit is inside a huge enclosed park, the Parco di Monza, which is also a natural reserve, so please avoid causing damages inside it. Every year there are many of complaints because of pickpoketing and illegal tickets selling in crowded areas near the circuit's gates, so pay attention to that.

There's no way to see the whole track from a single point, so you'd better find a place near to one of the many large screen. Monza circuit is open to public during non-race days and you can also get on the track with your car, so many motorsports fans gather on those days to test their cars or motorcycles.

Nevers-Magny-Cours, France

Nürburg, Germany

Sao Paulo, Brazil

San Marino

Silverstone, United Kingdom

Shanghai, China

Suzuka, Japan

Sepang, Malaysia

(near Kuala Lumpur)


Wiktionary

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

Contents

English

Alternative spellings

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Wikipedia has an article on:

Wikipedia

Proper noun

Formula One

  1. The highest class of motor racing sanctioned by the FIA.

Translations


Simple English

File:Alonso (Renault) qualifying at USGP
Fernando Alonso qualifying in a Renault Formula One car at the 2005 United States Grand Prix

Formula One, or F1, is a type of race-car driving. Teams compete in a series of Grand Prix races, held in different countries around the world. Some of the most popular races are held in Monaco, Japan, Italy and Britain. The cars are very fast, reaching speeds of up to 370 kilometers per hour. The championship has been won many times by different teams- Mclaren, Ferrari and Williams. Teams can consist of as many as 600 people, who all come together every race weekend, and using each of their individual expertise try to obtain the maximum result - a victory. The winning driver and team each gain twenty-five points towards the drivers and constructor's championship. Teams consist of drivers, test drivers, a team principal, mechanics, engineers, designers and aerodynamicists to name a few of the team personnel. Winning a race takes a good qualifying position, flawless strategy, perfect pitstops and a fast car.

Drivers are paid huge salaries to risk their lives every time they step into the cockpit. Like all types of motoracing, the dangers associated with formula one are great. So much so, that there are many safety measures. Drivers wear 4 layers of flameproof overalls, made of a fire resistant material called Nomex. A drivers helmet must be able to resist an 800 degree celsius flame for at least 45 seconds, as well 100s of Gforces. the helmets can be driven over by trucks with no damage being done to them. Carbon fibre is the ideal material for the bodywork of formula one cars - which are very expensive to build and repair. The design of cars differs from team to team. Each team has two entries into the championship which means two cars to build, plus a spare car. The current tyre suppliers are Bridgestone - making sure every car has the right tyre for the differing weather conditions. Wet weather driving is considered a skill in formula one, as the cars are slowed down considerably.

The body that runs Formula One, the FIA, is based in France. Although Formula One is a 'billion dollar business', a drop in viewership and attendance figures at races has prompted the FIA to make a number of rule changes in recent years. these changes are meant to make the races more interesting, so more people watch.

See also








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