A Beginners Guide to Formula 1


F1 is a truly thrilling and fun sport to watch. (Courtesy of Twitter)

What is Formula 1 (F1)? To some, it’s just a bunch of colorful race cars driving at crazy speeds around oddly shaped tracks. Others may not know what F1 is at all. Those who’ve been fans for years will automatically answer that it is one of the best sports in the world.
F1, in very simple terms, is the highest level of international auto racing. In 1950, the first ever F1 race (or Grand Prix) was held at Britain’s Silverstone Circuit. In that first season, there were only seven races. In the 2022 season, 10 teams will compete in 22 races.

In F1, both teams and individual drivers are aiming to win their respective championship titles.

Drivers work towards the World Drivers’ Championship (WDC). If they finish a race in one of the top 10 places, they earn points, which are then added to their end-of-season total. This accumulation of points is what decides who wins the WDC and is crowned world champion. Teams win the World Constructors’ Championship (WCC) for engineering and building the best cars. The team with the highest number of combined points from their two drivers wins the WCC, seeing as those cars made it possible for their drivers to win the most races.
F1 cars are engineering marvels that consist of two main components: the chassis and the engine. The chassis is the car’s main structure. It has the engine (behind the driver), gearbox, suspension and outer body panels mounted onto it. A 1000 horsepower, 1.6 liter, V6 turbocharged engine is the approved engine for this season. These things, along with many other components, allow F1 cars to achieve speeds of up to 235 mph (275 kph). But who are these incredible drivers achieving such high speeds?

Here’s a list of the 10 teams/20 drivers currently competing in the 2022 season:
1) Scuderia Ferrari with Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz
2) Mercedes-AMG Petronas with Sir Lewis Hamilton and George Russell
3) Red Bull Racing with Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez
4) McLaren with Daniel Ricciardo and Lando Norris
5) Alpine F1 Team with Esteban Ocon and Fernando Alonso
6) Scuderia AlphaTauri with Pierre Gasly and Yuki Tsunoda
7)Cognizant Aston Martin with Sebastian Vettel and Lance Stroll
8) Williams with Nicholas Latifi and Alexander Albon
9) Alfa Romeo Orlen Racing with Valtteri Bottas and Guanyu Zhou
10) Haas F1 with Mick Schumacher and Kevin Magnussen.

From March to November (with a short break in August), drivers go head to head from Friday through Sunday every race weekend. A typical weekend schedule starts on Friday with two practice sessions, where drivers familiarize themselves with the track and analyze fuel consumption and what types of tires are best for that race. On Saturday, there is a third practice session and the qualifying phases (Q1, Q2 and Q3). During qualifying, drivers work towards the fastest lap times to start as close to the front as possible. In Q1, all 20 drivers compete and the slowest five are eliminated. In Q2, the last five are also eliminated. Q3 decides the grid positions for the remaining 10 drivers.

This is the most intense of the three qualifying sessions because all 10 drivers are fighting to get pole position (first place).

Sunday is race day! After one formation lap to fire up fans, drivers roll up to the starting line, then the red lights go out and away they go. Diehard fans line the stands, waving banners and holding signs in support of their favorite teams and drivers. In 2022, 1.4 million viewers will watch from home, pacing across their living rooms.

Whether they’ve been watching for years or are new to the fanbase, every fan will agree, F1 is a highly addictive sport.

If you want to learn more than just these basic facts about F1 and become one of the millions of enthusiastic fans, “Formula 1: Drive to Survive,” a dramatic docu series about F1 on Netflix is a great place to start for new fans.