F-1 Racing – The New Generation Sport
Formula one race, the very mention of it brings to our mind images of colorful, sleek cars zooming with engines screaming, overtaking one another, taking dangerous turns, sometimes colliding and turning upside down! Exciting and thrilling! Definitely, but a very dangerous sport with a mix of speed and danger. It’s like, if one loves speed and wants to experience it, and then he or she must be ready to kiss danger! A sport meant only for the brave-hearts.
The roots of racing are in Europe which was the traditional centre and Formula- one has its roots in European Grand Prix motor racing of 1920s and I930s.
Formula one (F-1) is the highest class of open wheeled auto racing. The Formula-one in the name is a set of rules to be met by all cars and participants. El indicates that it is the best, most advanced and competitive motor racing.
The F- 1 championship season consists of a series of races, known as Grand Prix held usually on proper circuits (built for racing purpose) in different places and a few on closed city streets. Mostly the circuits are in clock —wise direction. One complete circuit on a race track is called a lap and racers have to complete many laps. The F-1 cars race at high speed greater than 320km/ hr. The races depend a lot on the quality tires, electronics suspension (mechanism by which a vehicle is supported on wheel) and aerodynamics apart from the skill of the drivers. Thus, drivers and manufactures, both make the races worth watching. The results of each race are combined to determine two annual World championships-one for drivers and one for constructors.
During the time of an actual race, first there is a warm-up formation lap (racers take the lap & get back).Then they assemble on the starting grid in the order they qualified for the final race. A light system signals the start of the race. Races are over 305km long and last for 2-3hours. Drivers or teams can change types or fill fuel at specific places (pits).They follow a point system. Top eight drivers and respective teams are awarded points on the basis of 10-8-6-5…. That is the winner gets 10 points, the 1st runner-up gets 8 points. 2nd runner-up gets (points and soon. The winner is the driver and team who have accumulated most points at the end of the season of F-1 races.
The first F- 1 race was held in 1947 and the first world championship race was held at Silverstone, UK, in 1950.The world championships have undergone many changes and evolved through years. The first F-1 race was won by Italian, Giuseppe Farina in his Alfa Romeo car in 1950.F-1 was early dominated by Juan Manual Fangio (Argentine) who won 5 times and is remembered as “grandmaster” of formula one. The dominating manufactures were Alfa Romeo, Ferrari and Mercedes Benz. Between 1981 and 2000 F-1 turned into big business with more grand prix races and changes. Many famous drivers lost their lives during races, raising the security standards as a result. Drivers from Ferrari, Williams, McLaren and Renault have won every F-1 World Championship from 1984 to present and they are popularly known as “Big Four”.
The present generation is familiar with the name, Michael Schumacher who drove a Ferrari and won 5 consecutive drivers championships. He also won 6 consecutive constructors championships, between 1999 and 2004. He set many world records which is difficult to break and is considered as one of the most successful F-1 racers ever. His winning spree ended on September 25, 2005.when Renault driver, Fernando Alonso became F-1 youngest champion. Schumacher retired in 2006 after a great career of 16 years in F-1.Right now, manufactures like Renault, BMW, Toyota, Honda and Ferrari dominate the scene. There are 22 drivers and 11 teams now.
Presently races are not restricted to Europe. It has spread all over the world; more and more F-1 circuits are included every year. The latest to join was Singapore in 2008 which will host the first night race! (Surely more action expected).
There is India too in the race-our own racer Narain Kartikeyan has already tasted success in a few Grand Prix and is popular.F-1 Grand Prix is coming to India too and will be held for the first time in 2010.This is great news for racing lovers in India.
F-1 is gaining popularity as a sport, everywhere and is a big T.V. event, watched by millions and is the world’s most expensive sport riding on big money.