Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Creating the cars, then and now

By the end of the 1950s Grand Prix racing had ceased to be dominated by the big car-producing factories and instead had been taken over by specialist race car producers. Ferrari was one of these – at the time it made road-going cars only as special commissions – but the British constructors such as Cooper and Lotus took the concept one step further. They didn’t make their own engines, just bought them in, along with gearboxes, steering, and other components, and assembled everything together. Soon these funny little cars –which incidentally had their engines in the back, overturning the convention of half a century of racing cars – were running rings around everyone else. The factories began to return to Formula One in the 1980s and have stayed ever since.

But usually they tend to be represented as engine suppliers only, going into partnerships with established specialist teams. Hence McLaren-Mercedes, BMW-Williams and BAR-Honda. The only exception to this rule is Toyota, which has bravely decided to go it alone, producing the whole car, including chassis, engine, and transmission in a purpose-built factory in Cologne, Germany.

Famous eras in Formula One history

With the perspective of time, it’s possible to distinguish the critical moments in the sport’s history and its evolution into the fantastic high-tech, highentertainment, high-drama show of today.

Where it began
The first Grand Prix race was held at Le Mans, France in 1906. The French initiated the event as a way around the three-car entry restriction imposed on each nation by the previous premier motor racing competition, the Gordon Bennett Cup. At the time, France was far and away the leading car producer in the world (times change, eh?) and took exception to being limited to just three cars. So with characteristic chauvinism (maybe times don’t change), the French devised their own competition – the Grand Prix – in which no such restriction existed and where honours would be fought out not between countries, but between manufacturers. It’s a lineage that continues to this day.

How it grew
Following France’s lead, other countries soon began staging their own Grands Prix, and the sport’s governing body devised a common set of rules that would be applied to all such races.
By the late 1940s, there were so many Grands Prix – some of them small-time events unworthy of the label – that the governing body specified a handful of “premier” Grands Prix that could be considered major national events.

The birth of a championship
Once the governing body of Formula One identified the major events, the sport was just one step away from combining the results of each of these races, via a points system, to determine a world champion. This system – and the World Championship – came into being in 1950.
Before 1950, there had been a European Championship in the 1930s. The new World Championship was very much like the European Championship, as each of its six Grands Prix were held on European soil. The championship lamely justified its “world” status by including the results of the American Indianapolis 500 race, a race for “Champ Cars”, a completely different breed from the Formula One cars of Europe, and fought out by a different set of competitors. This statistical anomaly remained until the late 1950s when the World Championship had ventured out of Europe and had even included a genuine American Grand Prix.

F1 as National pride

Countries have often been converted to Formula One after one of their countrymen has succeeded in the sport. This was certainly the case with Finland, which for decades had been interested only in rallying (a sport of road-based cars racing against the clock, rather than wheel-to-wheel, through forest tracks and closed roads). The Finns became alerted to Formula One’s existence when Keke Rosberg won the 1982 World Championship.

By the time Rosberg’s protégé Mika Hakkinen won his two world titles in 1998 and 1999, the Finns were fervent followers, trailing their national flags to circuits around the world. Since Hakkinen’s retirement they now have a new hero in the form of Kimi Raikkonen. Fernando Alonso has turned Spain onto F1 in a big way and Michael Schumacher’s success transformed F1 in Germany from a minority interest sport to something that virtually every man in the street is aware of.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Racing in national colours

Before the advent of commercial sponsorship in the late 1960s, Formula One cars used to race in their national colours. This tradition dated back to the turn of the twentieth century and a competition called the Gordon Bennett Cup, the direct forebear of Grand Prix racing. In this competition, teams represented each of the five participating countries in a sort of inter-nations cup event. For easy identification, each country was allocated a colour. Italy was represented by red (still seen today in the Ferrari team’s livery), France by blue, Britain by green, Germany by white, and Belgium by yellow. These colours remained an intrinsic part of the sport until corporate liveries rendered them redundant.

The Glamourous F1

Impossibly fast cars driven by brave and handsome young men of all nationalities in a variety of exotic backdrops throughout the world, with beautiful women looking on adoringly. Of course it’s glamorous. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise – unless it’s a mechanic who just completed an all-nighter fixing a damaged Formula One car while the guy who crashed it took a supermodel out for dinner.

How TV coverage on F1 grew?

In the early 1970s, Formula One mogul Bernie Ecclestone was the first to see the potential of the sport in terms of TV audiences. Commercial sponsorship had become the key to success for the teams. What better way of generating more sponsorship than by securing commercial TV deals that would beam images of the sponsors’ liveries all over the world? The result was a nearly perfect symbiotic relationship: The TV coverage increased the sport’s popularity, which in turn made advertisers willing to pay the stations better rates to have their adverts placed within the Formula One screening. As TV stations profited by selling TV time to advertisers, the price Formula One charged the TV companies escalated.

TV stations were often first attracted to covering the sport when one of their home heroes was doing well. In this way, Emerson Fittipaldi paved the way for Brazilian TV, James Hunt for British TV, and Alan Jones for Australian TV. Once exposed to the excitement of Formula One, those audiences still wanted to watch Formula One, even after their local heroes had retired or fallen from prominence.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Racist abuse toward Lewis Hamilton is just an isolated incident

The racism abuse suffered by Lewis Hamilton is just an isolated incident, said FIA chairman, Bernie Ecclestone; he further added that anti-racism campaign by FIA is unnecessary. The abuse occurred during a practice session, when a group of people show up with blackened face.

That would give those people attention that they actually want, he said to BBC. Hamilton is targeted by Spanish F1 fans due to his rivalry with the former McLaren team-mate Fernando Alonso. FIA has threatened to cancel the Barcelona race altogether when this incident is repeated.

A man constructs a life size F1 car with 956,000 matchsticks

After a rigorous work of 6 years and 1,686 glue tube, finally a man from German Michael Arndt completed his real size formula one car. The model is made in 45 modules that can be disassembled for transportation.

This project cost £ 4,500 and Ardnt even went so far trimming and coloring individual matchstick to ensure they have correct color and shape.

Ralf Schumacher to join Mercedes DTM team

Mercedes announced that Ralf Schumacher will race with them in this season’s German Touring Car (DTM) championship. Ralf himself seems eager to join this race. His career began when he become the test driver for Mercedes F1 car back in 1996, he then joined Jordan in 1997 as F1 driver.

Norbet Haug expects that Ralf would create positive image both for Mercedes team and DTM as a whole.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Danger in Formula One

Racing a 200 mph missile loaded with fuel is never going to be an intrinsically safe activity. For many, this inherent danger is part of the sport’s appeal. The sport has suffered its inevitable tragedies over the years and this only emphasises the courage of those who continue to fight it out on the tracks of the world, accepting the stakes.

Ayrton Senna, one of the greatest drivers of all time, was killed on a black day for motor racing in 1994, just one day after F1 rookie Roland Ratzenberger perished at the same Imola track. It illustrated starkly that the grim hand of chance can reach out to claim any, regardless of reputation. Some have been narrowly spared, yet still the sport has drawn them straight back.

The most dramatic example of this was Niki Lauda who, after crashing in the 1976 German Grand Prix, was given the Last Rites in hospital, not expected to make a recovery from critical lung damage. Yet, just six weeks later, he was behind the wheel of his Ferrari, facially scarred, but indomitable. He finished fourth and later went on to win a further two world championship crowns. The sport’s governing body, the FIA, has imposed fantastically rigorous safety legislation on Formula One. These regulations cover both the construction and crash testing of the cars before they are allowed onto the track.

Star drivers of Formula One

Michael Schumacher stands as the most successful Formula One driver of all time. A whole new generation of hard chargers has arrived in the last couple of years, several of whom are tipped to step into Schumacher’s shoes. Drivers such as Juan Pablo Montoya and Kimi Raikkonen have lost no time in putting Schumacher on the receiving end of the tough treatment he’s been used to dishing out. Each era of F1 has its stars and challengers and it’s one of the more fascinating aspects of the sport to see which of the pretenders is going to step forward and take the champion’s crown. Schumacher did it in the past to Ayrton Senna who in turn had done it to Alain Prost in the 1980s.

Prost had emerged as the number one after proving quicker than team-mate and triple champion Niki Lauda at McLaren in 1984–5. A decade earlier, Lauda had proved the natural heir after the retirement of triple champion Jackie Stewart at the end of 1973. It has been this way ever since the sport began. Every leading driver – champion or challenger – has a huge fan base, sometimes linked to their nationalities but not always. Colombian Montoya has won over millions of fans throughout the world with his brand of audacious racing, for example. Spaniard Fernando Alonso has brought F1 to life in his home country but is gaining ever-more admirers from all nations and many see him as Schumacher’s biggest long-term threat.

Schumacher’s younger brother, Ralf, has not had the same meteoric F1 career as Michael but can be devastatingly quick and in 2003 emerged as a genuine world championship contender. The personalities of the drivers, their perceived strengths and weaknesses and their past histories in battle colour the fans’ view of the races unfolding in front of them, drawing them into a “storyline” that has no end, just ever-more chapters. Michael Schumacher is ruthless, a spellbinding winning machine. Montoya is the inspired Latin who can sometimes get under Schuey’s skin.

Raikkonen is the “Ice Man” who seems never to feel pressure or emotion. Alonso is the brave, impassioned but hard-as-nails new boy. On the other hand, it’s been said that Michael Schumacher cracks when anyone is able to put him under real pressure, that Ralf is not aggressive enough, that Rubens Barrichello is too subservient to team-mate Schumacher, that for every great Montoya move there’s a corresponding mistake. All these things, whether true or not, add to the drama for those who follow the sport closely.

The drivers who make it to the top of the ladder and graduate to Formula One are invariably champions in the feeder categories (see the section “The feeder formulas” earlier in this chapter for information about the feeder series). Their winning credentials have usually been established all the way from kart racing. But the turnover of driver talent in Formula One is high because those with any question marks alongside their Formula One performances tend to be quickly replaced.

Wheel-to-wheel racing in Formula One

Truth be told, there’s not enough wheel-to-wheel racing in Formula One because the cars are too fast and the designers too clever for the sport’s own good. Huge aerodynamic downforce and super-efficient carbon-fibre brakes mean that braking distances are incredibly short, which limits passing opportunities. On the right tracks, of course, cars can still pass one another, but overall, passing is rare.

Some folks maintain that because passing is such a rare thing, it’s lent extra spice when it does occur. These people are called Formula One apologists. The act of overtaking encapsulates the combat of the whole sport; it is one driver pitting his skill against the other in a split-second of opportunity and either succeeding or failing in his move. It also forms a natural dynamic in the story of the race, without which the event can simply appear as a succession of cars being driven very fast.
The format of some circuits makes overtaking more feasible than at others. These “passing” circuits tend to be the favourites of both drivers and spectators.

Most drivers enjoy the combative element of overtaking but the huge braking and cornering grip of the cars makes it an exceptionally difficult thing to do. It tends to happen when two cars are braking for a corner. In cars that decelerate from 200 mph to 40 mph in around three-seconds, and in a space little longer than a cricket pitch, the driver doing the overtaking has just a tiny window of opportunity to position his car and brake later than the guy in front.

Get it a little bit wrong and a collision is a near-certainty. With a rival close behind him, the driver in front must try to ensure he is not vulnerable into the braking areas. He needs to ensure he is not slow down the preceding straight and to do this he needs to ensure he gets a good exit from the corner leading onto that straight. But sometimes this is impossible to do for more than a few successive corners because the driver behind, if he’s clever, can force him into taking a defensive line into a corner that prevents him being passed there but which makes him slow coming out and therefore vulnerable to attack into the next turn. It can be a game of brains as well as bravery and skill.

There’s a tingle of anticipation when a driver is closing down on the leader in the race’s closing stages on a track where overtaking is feasible. Never was this better demonstrated than in the 2000 Belgian Grand Prix where Mika Hakkinen closed down on Michael Schumacher. That he then passed him in a fantastic gladiatorial way with just a couple of laps remaining brought the race to a climactic end.

Changes have been made to make more of this sort of thing possible, such as the circuit redesign at the Nurburgring in 2002 and the imposition of the one blocking move rule in the 1990s. But more radical changes to both cars and circuits are probably still necessary; overtaking is arguably too much on the impossible side of ‘‘difficult’’ on too many tracks at the moment.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Comparing Formula One and other types of racing

Racing in America for a time overlapped in its development with European racing; then it veered off in the direction of oval track racing.

CART and IRL racing in America
Formula racing in America became Indy Car racing, spawning the CART and IRL series of today. These cars look like Formula One cars to a casual onlooker, but a Formula One car is lighter, more agile, and more powerful. Another difference is that Formula One cars never race on ovals; instead they race on purposebuilt road racing tracks or street circuits. Furthermore, each Formula One team designs and builds its own cars rather than buy them off the shelf from a specialist producer.

NASCAR and Touring Car racing
Non-formula, road car-based racing spawned NASCAR in America and Touring Car racing in the rest of the world. Both are for cars that from the outside look like showroom roadgoing models but which underneath the skin are very different. NASCAR tailors for American production models and races mainly –though not exclusively – on ovals. Touring cars are based on European or Australian road cars and, like F1 cars, race on road racing or street tracks.

The feeder formulas
In Europe, feeder formulas to Formula One – where drivers, team owners, designers, and engineers can all hone their craft on the way to Formula One –developed. Today these are classed as Formula 3000 and Formula 3. The names and numbers have changed over the years but Formula One remains what it has always been – the pinnacle. F3 is currently for single-seater cars with engines based on roadgoing production cars not exceeding 2-litre capacity. F3000 is for single seaters powered by a specific 3-litre racing engine defined by the governing body.
The structure and hierarchy of motor racing is extremely complex and not very logical. All you really need to know is that, in global terms, Formula One is at the top of the pyramid.

Other formula racing

The reason why the sport is called “Formula” One is rooted in history. Pioneer motor racing placed no limitations on the size or power of the competing cars. With technological advances, this free-for-all quickly made for ludicrously dangerous conditions – especially as the early races were fought out on public roads. As a result, the governing body of the sport at the time began imposing key limitations on the format of the cars in terms of power, weight, and size. Only cars complying with this “formula” of rules could compete.
The rules of Grand Prix racing have adapted to the technology and needs of the times. The rules formulated for racing immediately after World War II were given the tag of “Formula One”, a name that has stuck ever since. Formula Two was invented shortly afterwards as a junior category, with a smaller engine capacity. Not long after that, Formula Three came into being for even smaller single-seaters. The Formula Two name was dropped in the mid-1980s and replaced by Formula 3000, denoting the cubic centimetre capacity of the engines. Formula Three remains. If illogical and inconsistent labelling bugs you, motor racing is not for you.

Why F1 become the most important racing in the world?

Formula One stands at the technological pinnacle of all motorsport. It’s also the richest, most intense, most difficult, most political, and most international racing championship in the world. Most of the world’s best drivers are either there or aspire to be there, and the same goes for the best designers, engineers, engine builders, and so on. It’s a sport that takes no prisoners.

Under-achievers are spat out with ruthless lack of ceremony. Formula One takes its position at the top of the motorsport tree very seriously. Formula One traces its lineage directly back to the very beginnings of motor racing itself, at the end of the nineteenth century, when public roads were the venues. All other racing series have sprung up in its wake. Unlike most racing categories, Formula One isn’t just about competition between the drivers. It’s about rivalry between the cars, too. The technology battle between teams is always an ongoing part of Formula One.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Getting the lowdown

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.
Although a few decades ago it was almost impossible to find out the latest goings on at the races – television did not cover it, newspapers were not really interested in it, and the Internet was not invented.

Nowadays you’re hard pressed not to suffer something of an information overload. You can find hundreds of Web sites that give the latest Formula One news, numerous television programmes that analyse the races and profile the stars, and newspapers that cover the latest gossip amongst the Formula One fraternity. Finding your way through this minefield of information can be a bit intimidating unless you take some advice from the experts.

A “rich man’s playground”

In the early 1900s, Formula One racing was purely the domain of rich gentlemen who found no better way to spend their money than to go racing at weekends. This scenario didn’t change for several decades, although teams began to realize that they could actually pay drivers for their talent, not just because they were paying for the racing seat.
The growth of sponsorship in the 1960s, allied to greater media and public awareness of sport, helped lift Formula One until it really exploded in popularity in the 1980s – thanks to widespread television coverage. Now there is almost no holding it back.

The Right Stuff for Business

Formula One is not a sport for those without money. It is not like football, where you and your mates can buy a ball, use some jumpers for goalposts and then play to your heart’s content for hour after hour. No, Formula One eats money. The massive development costs, the use of space-age technology, plus the expertise required to create a winning car, means that a single lap of a track effectively costs more than £3,000. And before you start digging into your savings thinking you could afford a few laps – the insurance is probably many times that again.

With such a high cost, only the very best teams in the world are ever successful in Formula One. In the old days, a rich team owner was able to fund a season himself; cars and engines lasted the whole season and drivers’ wages weren’t that much. But nowadays, cars and engines are modified for every race, and drivers’ salaries cost many, many millions of pounds.

Luckily, the growing expense of the sport has been matched by the huge following it has around the world, which means sponsors are only too willing to pay teams a lot of money in order to get their logos onto the sides of cars. Without sponsors and the money they bring to the sport, Formula One as we know it wouldn’t exist. In fact, a team’s success on the track very much depends on how well it can attract sponsors off it. It is no wonder that modern day Formula One teams employ sponsorship and advertising experts to help them find this much needed money.

Of course, sponsors don’t just hand over the money in exchange for a few wellplaced stickers on the car. To make the most of every pound they spend, the sponsors create huge marketing campaigns, schedule big promotional events, and produce television adverts and billboard signs, all taking advantage of their relationship as a Formula One sponsor. So important and time-consuming are these sponsor-driven events that some say Formula One is a sport between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. on a Sunday and a business every other minute.

Up and Down and All Around: The Tracks

Every race provides a new challenge for the teams and drivers – and that is because each track on the calendar is unique. Circuit designs have evolved dramatically over the years although Formula One has traditionally not taken place on ovals – even if the Indianapolis 500 was part of the World Championship from 1950 to 1960.
Some venues have been on the calendar since the 1950s, like Silverstone and Monza, with their track designs and facilities being upgraded over the years, whereas new venues have appeared recently – like Malaysia and Melbourne. Every track has different characteristics, with different top speeds, unique corners and very different layouts.

Prepping the car for maximum 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 testing each 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 can’t just decide to sit in the grandstand and see what their driver can do. Strategy decisions must be made, radio advice must be given to the driver, and vital refuelling pit stops must be attended to.

Key elements in formula one car design

Following are some of the elements and characteristics that make up a Formula One car and give it a completely different appearance to other types of racing cars
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 superlightweight and, therefore, very fast.
  • 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.
  • 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.
In general terms, a Formula One car is the ultimate single-seater, open-wheel, racing car. You can find similar looking machinery in Champ Cars, the Indy Racing League, Formula 3000, and Formula Three. But while these other cars look the same as Formula One cars, none of them is as fast over a single lap as a Formula One car is – even though some cars, like top-level dragsters, can accelerate faster and reach higher top speeds for a short period of time.

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.

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:
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 huge prizes for success in Formula One, which include the prospect of earning millions of pounds in extra sponsorship backing or television rights money, mean that team bosses also have to deal with an incredible amount of politics within the sport. There are often arguments revolving around money, the changing of rules and even the threat of protests against rival teams. There are agreements in place to make sure there is no foul play – and rule books to be followed (or to try and get around) in a bid to make Formula One an even contest.


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. Some aces claim that winning gives them the best rush of excitement they have ever experienced in their lives – but you can make up your own mind by looking at Chapter 11, which explains what happens after a win and how winning a race doesn’t signal the end of the driver’s day.

People in Formula 1 Team

Like most hugely successful sports, Formula One is jammed pack full with superstar names. Just like David Beckham in soccer or Tiger Woods in golf, the big name drivers in Formula One have millions of fans around the world worshipping their every move and hoping that their man can triumph each time out.

But the drivers aren’t the only big names in Formula One. Many of the team bosses are personalities in themselves. Some – like Renault boss Flavio Briatore – are almost as well known for their appearances in celebrity gossip columns as they are for the great work they’ve done for their teams. But it is not just the drivers and team bosses who are famous – because even the bosses of the series have their own slice of fame. Bernie Ecclestone, who runs the commercial side of Formula One, is a well-known figure in most households and is well renowned for being one of the richest men in Britain. Max Mosley, president of motor racing’s governing body, the FIA, is also widely known.


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