Formula One is considered by many to be the apex of auto racing and motor sports. Highly specialized and designed for top speeds, watching Formula One race cars gliding around circuits is nothing less than thrilling. Formula One, also referred to as Grand Prix and F1, is a million dollar sport, attracting numerous big-name sponsors and massive crowds lining up for their F1 tickets. Enjoyed throughout the world, most people know at least the big names in the sport of F1.
Formula One racing falls under the governing body of the Federation Internationale de l’Automobile or FIA. The FIA sets out a number of rules and regulations for both cars and participants, ensuring safety and fairness in races. Formula One circuits or tracks are scattered throughout the world. During the F1 world championship several races are held at these circuits. By the end of the Grand Prix season all the results are added up. World Championship titles are awarded to the winning driver of the season as well as to the winning constructor. The world of F1 is divided into Formula One teams, typically with two main drivers. These F1 teams establish close relationships with F1 race car manufacturers so as to test and develop the best racing cars. Successful Formula One drivers earn large amounts of money especially through sponsorships. Well-known names such as Michael Schumacher, Mika Hakkinen and Fernando Alonso have shot to Formula One fame.
The history of Formula One racing extends back many years. Road races were held as long ago as the 1890s in France. The original race cars weren’t designed with aerodynamics in mind and were quite heavy. Races took place along public roads and drivers had to bring mechanics along. The first ever Grand Prix was hosted at Le Mans in 1901. World War One brought a brief end to auto racing in Europe. A number of drivers decided to compete in the USA’s Indianapolis 500. Two of the best manufacturers during the 1920s were Bugatti and Fiat. The 1930s were marred by the Great Depression. Reduced money led to a decrease in Grand Prix’s fan base. However, 1933 witnessed a remarkable win by Tazio Nuvolari at Monaco. Germany began to emerge as an F1 leader in 1934 with teams such as Mercedes-Benz and Auto Union. The German’s also brought aerodynamics into the design of Formula One vehicles.
Modern Formula One racing is said to have begun in 1950 with the Pau Grand Prix. For some time British F1 teams dominated the sport, gaining victory in 12 World Championships. Wings were added to F1 cars in 1968 to improve traction through downforce. In 1978 ground effects were also introduced but later banned in 1983. 1977 saw turbo chargers on the track. These too were banned in 1989. Since those times Formula One vehicles have been improved and developed greatly.
Formula One is an extremely popular sport that is set to continue drawing large crowds to F1 circuits and TV sport channels. Broadcast worldwide, Formula One racing and drivers have a global following.