A Guide to Formula 1: UPDATED

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Sunday Driver
Sunday Driver
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Joined: Mon Dec 26, 2011 6:16 pm

A Guide to Formula 1: UPDATED

Post by JH01AA0001 »

A Guide to Formula 1

Speak to any of your friends or family about Formula One, and they’ll definitely have an opinion. Some will claim that it’s far too boring to get interested in because the cars just set off, go around in circles for a few hours, and then the race is finished. Others will say that the sport is far too complicated now – that fuel-strategy, technology, and electronics have removed much of the gladiatorial aspect that once made it so popular. If you speak to someone who knows a little bit about the sport and has followed its ups and downs, you’ll find that there are hundreds of different reasons why people love Formula One racing. Some enjoy following drivers,
some worship the cars, others are fascinated by the battle for technology, and still others just like being there at a race, soaking up the atmosphere.
The more people follow the sport, the more they get hooked into the different aspects. You’ll find that you usually watch your first race (whether on television or at the race circuit itself) purely out of curiosity, to see what all the fuss is about.

This comprehensive guide to Formula 1 will attempt to cover the topics below part by part. Again, please bear with me for any delay. I will try to keep up with two posts a day so that people can follow it easily.

Appendix A: Formula One Jargon

Part I: The Basics
Chapter 1: Just the Formula One Facts
Chapter 2: The Most Popular Sport in the World
Chapter 3: The Big Business of Formula One
Chapter 4: Following the Rule Book

Part II: Teams, Drivers, and Their Cars
Chapter 5: Understanding a Formula One Car
Chapter 6: The Race Team
Chapter 7: Who’s in the Driving Seat?

Part III: What Happens On (And Off) the Track
Chapter 8: Getting in the Race
Chapter 9: Race Day Strategies
Chapter 10: Life in the Pits
Chapter 11: Winning It All
Chapter 12: Safety in Formula One

Part IV: Understanding Formula One Tracks
Chapter 13: Track Basics and Racing Circuits
Chapter 14: Track and Driver
Chapter 15: A Look at Each Circuit
My life is like a Lamborghini. It's going too fast & it is costing too much.
Sunday Driver
Sunday Driver
Posts: 4
Joined: Mon Dec 26, 2011 6:16 pm

A Guide to Formula 1

Post by JH01AA0001 »

Part I: The Basics
Chapter 1: Just the facts

Formula One racing is, as its name suggests, the pinnacle of motor racing around the world. Small children don’t dream about growing up to race in lesser series - above all else, they want to be a winning Formula One driver. These days, the sport is a truly global circus. At almost every race on the calendar, more than 120,000 spectators cram into the grandstands and spectator banking, all vying for a view of the millionaire superstar drivers. At that same time, in 150 countries worldwide, more than 300 million people tune in to watch the fight for glory in the comfort of their front rooms. It is this sort of global following that has attracted huge sponsorship and left television stations around the world falling all over themselves to broadcast the races. The huge marketing drives put on by the sponsors have whipped up even more interest in the sport. nowadays, only the Olympic Games and the football World Cup can boast the kind of viewership, backing, and interest that Formula One has - and those events only take place every four years.

The People Involved

The drivers are, without doubt, the central focus for almost everyone in Formula One. Without the drivers there’d be no racing, and without the great battles, the psychological wars, and the fact that a few of the drivers dislike one another, there’d be no interest in following each twist and turn of a Formula One racing season.
The best-paid drivers these days earn money that many of us can only dream about, but they definitely work hard for it. They not only have to take massive risks in driving Formula One cars at 200 mph, but they also have to work with the team to get the last tenths of a second out of the car, deal with the media, and attend promotional events for their sponsors. For some drivers, the stress of being a successful Formula One star proves too much; they turn their back on the sport and find something a little bit more relaxing to do. For those who can cope with all the pressures and risks - and become the very best by regularly winning races - the rewards can be mighty. Although the money, attention, and the thrill of driving fast cars are ample rewards for being a good Formula One driver, nothing is better than actually winning.

Team bosses
There's a saying that behind every great man lies a great woman. In Formula One that saying still applies, but with a slight rephrasing: Behind every great driver lies a really great team. The team makes sure that the drivers have the right machinery running in the right way. Each driver knows that, without these machines, he wouldn't be able to get anywhere. Regular Formula One racing driver David Coulthard once famously remarked that he would look pretty stupid sitting on the grid with his bum on the floor and no car around him. The leader of the team - the man who pulls the resources and personnel together - is the team boss. There is no perfect job description that covers every team boss in the pit lane because they all have unique ways of running their teams. BAR boss David Richards has been hired by his team's shareholders to run the outfit, while Minardi boss Paul Stoddart owns 100 per cent of the shares in his team. Others have some share in the business. Although a driver can achieve race victories very quickly in the sport, especially if he’s signed to a leading team in his first few years of Formula One, a team boss requires many, many years to turn an outfit into one of the best, a task that requires that he do the following:

1. Recruit the best staff
: If a team is successful then it is obvious that the best staff in the pit lane will want to come to you. Every front-running team in Formula One has the best designers, the best mechanics and the best engineers. The fight for glory is so intense though, that staff often move around - tempted by big money offers - and teams often go through phases of incredible success followed by periods of lacklustre form.

2. Buy the latest computer technology
: Formula One is about high technology, which is why many experts from the aerospace and computer industries have found employment in the sport. Nowadays, entire cars are put together on computer screens and the kind of technology often only used by the military is brought into action. Teams can no longer afford the process of trial and error when it comes to building their new car or improving their current one. Tests must be carried out employing state of the art high-tech systems.

3. Build a car that can take on the very best in the field: No matter how good your staff, or how expensive your computers, a Formula One team is always judged by the speed of their car. There is so little difference between all the cars in the field that the fight for glory is intense - and that is why teams seek out the tiniest advantages in every area of their car. Rules and regulations can be changed, handing certain teams an advantage, and when new technology is found to improve speed teams try and keep what they are doing a secret for as long as possible.

4. Find a way to pay for all of preceding: This is no easy task. In fact, it’s why modern team bosses have to be as good at attracting sponsorship and business backing as they are at running racing cars.

The Top Cats: Ecclestone and Mosley
But the sport’s leaders are not just restricted to those who run the race teams. There is Max Mosley, the president of motor racing’s governing body, the FIA, who looks after regulating Formula One. And then there’s the sport supremo Bernie Ecclestone, who has helped Formula One evolve from a sport that not many knew about in the 1970s to one that’s beamed into almost every household in the world today. Eccelstone’s exploitation of Formula One’s commercial rights has paid dividends for everyone. It’s also made him one of Britain’s richest men.

The Cars they drive
When you ask people what a racing car looks like, a lot of them describe a souped-up road car, with a big engine, massive tyres, and a really good paint scheme. Some of them may even imagine that the doors are sealed shut to increase safety when out on the track. A Formula One car, however, is a very different beast to anything else you see on the road. It is the ultimate prototype machine, featuring design ideas, technology, and materials that many people associate more with a modern day fighter jet than with an automobile. Because they aren’t required to be street legal, Formula One cars have evolved differently than road cars. Their design has been centred on the quest for speed rather than comfort, and they are almost literally rockets on wheels.

Key Elements in their design

1. Open wheels: Unlike the road car sitting in your garage, one of the most obvious elements of a Formula One car is that its wheels aren’t covered. In this way, Formula One cars are similar to the US—based Champ Cars and the cars in the Indy Racing League.

2. Central cockpit: Formula One design teams don’t worry about the comfort of passengers - because they don’t have to. Formula One cars have room for only one driver. The cockpit is mounted in the dead centre of the car, which is vital for a car’s centre of gravity.

3. Agile and lightweight: Believe it or not, a Formula One car weighs a fraction of what a road car weighs. The use of high-tech materials, including carbon fibre, has made modern Formula One cars super lightweight and, therefore, very fast.

4. Lack of bumpers: Formula One is a no-contact sport, which is why you won’t find any safety bumpers at the front or rear of the car to fend off the attention of other cars. Instead of bumpers, you find aerodynamic wings.

5. Aerodynamic wings: The front and rear wings of the Formula One car, which are designed to push the car down onto the ground, are very
exposed - which they have to be if the car is going to be quick. (They also provide perfect billboards for sponsors.) These wings are the result of months of research in high-tech wind tunnels.

Pepping the car for max performance
At this top level of motor racing, each team must use its equipment to the absolute maximum. If the car has just one weak area, all the rival teams will do their best to exploit this weakness for their own advantage and the team is likely to suffer. The cars are made ready for race performances in three ways:

Off-season testing: The intense competition that exists in Formula One racing is the reason that Formula One teams conduct months of testingeach winter to hone and perfect their cars. In these tests, teams and drivers will evaluate new tyres, new car parts and maybe even new design philosophies in a controlled environment where there is no pressure to go for outright lap times. Race meetings have rigidly structured programmes that the teams run through to ensure that their car is absolutely perfect for the race.

Pre-race testing: Teams get to shake down their cars in the week before a race and they can use this time to evaluate new parts or new electronic systems. Some teams also get an extra two hours of testing on Friday morning to try out new components.

Adjustments during the race: When the race is underway, teams cant just decide to sit in the grandstand and see what their driver can do. Strategy decisions must be made on the spot, radio advice must be given to the driver, and vital refueling pit stops must be attended to.

Formula One is one of the world's most exciting and most interesting sports. It can provide you with a lifetime of enjoyment if you make the effort to understand a little bit about it. You can find hundreds of Web sites that give the latest Formula One news & numerous television pro-grammes that analyze the races. Finding your way through this minefield of information can be a bit intimidating unless you take some advice from the experts.So i have decided to do so in a simple way here. If you find this post difficult to follow, please reply so that i can make requisite changes in the next chapter/post. Please reply if you have any problem/advice/suggestion now itself. I will make the changes & then ask mods to remove the intermittent "advice posts" so that this guide can be read continually by anyone.
My life is like a Lamborghini. It's going too fast & it is costing too much.
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