What is Formula 1?

formula 1

Formula 1 is the highest class and most prestigious car-racing category in the world. The name refers to the rules established by the International Automobile Federation, which all participants and cars must comply with. Formula 1 is a global endeavor, with a season of around 20 races in all corners of the globe. Formula 1 drivers also come from different parts of the world, making it a very popular sport worldwide. F1 cars can be considered some of the fastest in the sports world, making every race exciting and fun to watch. With all that, F1 has plenty of loyal fans, who are passionate about the sport, its teams, and their drivers.


formula 1 history

The first Formula 1 races took place in 1950, with a driver's world championship being held for the first time that same year. At the time, Formula 1 racing was not as safe nor glamorous as it is today. A total of 13 drivers were killed during the first 10 seasons. While the excitement that comes from speed and Formula 1 race has not changed since 1950, the safety certainly has. The single most important advancements throughout F1 history has been those that made the sport safer. Thanks to that, Formula 1 today is still popular, and as strong as ever.

Playing Surface

formula 1 racetracks and circuits

Formula 1 races take place on asphalt tracks. The season is composed of many racing weekends, which are all on different race tracks, or circuits. Naturally, all tracks are different from each other, they all have different turns, elevations, widths, formats, formats, challenges, fast points, and thus no single race is like the other. Making Formula 1 even more interesting, circuits are either race tracks or street circuits, which are regular streets adapted to receive a Formula 1 race. One of the most well known street circuits in motorsport is the Monaco Circuit, a glamorous and traditional Grand Prix for which fans, drivers, teams, and anyone in F1 looks forward to every season.


formula 1 equipment list

Formula 1 equipment is amongst the most technologically advanced in sports. To make cars perform as fast as they can, and to be sure the drivers are safe inside those cars, Formula 1 teams invest a lot of money in developing their equipment. Here are a few of the essential pieces of equipment in F1:

  • Formula 1 Car
  • Tires
  • Seatbelts
  • Tire Blankets
  • Gloves
  • Overalls
  • Helmet
  • HANS system
  • Racing Shoes


Formula 1 Gameplay

A Formula 1 race is fast, exciting, and unpredictable. Depending on which circuit the race is, drivers will drive for a number of predetermined laps, trying to overtake each other and cross the finish line in the best position possible. With that type of competition at such a high speed, mistakes cannot happen. However, they do, and it is not unusual that there are accidents in the track, which can completely change a race. In addition, Formula 1 also goes on independent of the weather, and races under rain can get extra entertaining.

Grand Prix Weekend

Formula 1 Grand Prix Weekend

A Formula 1 event takes up a whole weekend, which ends with a two-hour race on Sunday. Teams and drivers start arriving at the race site on Thursday, getting ready for work on the next few days. On Friday, drivers have an open practice, where they get on track and test their cars. Open practices are open to the public, and fans go to the track to take a first look at their favorite drivers. On Saturday, qualifying sessions take place, where based on their lap times drivers decide the starting order for the race the next day. Sunday the big race happens, and the weekend ends with the top-3 finishers celebrating on the podium with champagne. 

Rules and Regulations

Formula 1 Rules and Regulations

Formula 1 is considered to be quite a dangerous sport. In addition, any little engineering change can give a team a lot of advantage over others. Therefore, there are a lot of rules that refer to safety, car regulation, and on track behavior that must be followed by drivers and teams. Take a look at some of the most important rules and regulations in F1:

Maximum weight, width, height

Formula 1 teams must have their cars made within a maximum weight, width and height. The exact specifications may vary in between seasons.


Although it was allowed in the past, cars are not allowed to refuel during a race, and thus must start the race with full tanks.


During a Formula 1 race, drivers can have flags of different colors waived at them. Each flag has a different meaning. The most common flags are the yellow, which means there has been an accident and thus no overtaking is allowed, and the blue flag, which means that the top cars in the grid are about to lap the slowest ones, and they must open space for that to happen.

Parc Fermé

After their cars are out in qualifying laps, teams cannot do any significant changes to the cars, including engine changes, gear box, brakes, and others. If that is done, teams get grid penalties, and their race start position is worse than it would originally have been.  


Depending on their behavior on the track, drivers can be awarded penalties by race officials. Things such as cutting corners to gain an advantage, exceeding track limits, causing collisions and speeding in the pit lane will cause drivers and teams to receive penalties. Those vary from 5 seconds added to final race time, to a mandatory pit entrance, and can go all the way up to disqualification from the race.

Referees and Officials

Formula 1 Referees and Officials

The officials who enforce the rules and apply penalties in Formula 1 are called the stewards, who work under the race director. Together, they analyze the race, any incidents that may happen, and judge if any rules were broken, and if any penalties should be applied. There are no fixed stewards, they change from race to race. It has happened many times that after the end of a race, stewards apply penalties, and thus drivers can lose positions, points, and even trophies. In all, stewards have a lot of power in Formula 1. 

Lingo and Terminology

Formula 1 Lingo and Terminology

Formula 1 is full of terms and lingo that may sound odd to those who don't really follow motorsports. In addition, there are a lot of engineering terms that are used to describe cars and their performance. Here are some common F1 related terms and lingo, and their meanings:

Blistering: When tires overheat, blisters are formed in them. Blistering is not good, it means the tire is worn out and thus traction is being lost.

Chassis: One of the most important parts in the car, to which engine and suspension are attached.

Chicanes: A sequence of turns in opposite directions, chicanes are present in most F1 circuits.

DNF: Means Did Not Finish, when a driver cannot finish the race.

Drag: Resistance experienced by cars when moving forward. Drag slows cars down.

DRS: The Drag Reduction System are adjustable rear wings, which reduces drag and increases speed. There are rules for DRS application during a race.

Lock Up: When a driver breaks abruptly, locking the wheels.

Paddock: Is the area behind the pit area, in which drivers, team members and known personalities stay. Teams also keep their motorhomes and offices there.

Pits: An area separated from the track, where teams' garages are. During the race drivers come into the pits for stops where they change tyres.

Pole Position: The first position in the starting grid.

Safety car: A vehicle that is deployed when there is an incident that requires that cars stop racing. The safety car comes in front of the first driver and dictates the speed.

Skills and Techniques

Formula 1 Skills and Techniques

Being a Formula 1 driver is no easy task. It takes years of learning, experience, and adaptability to get to the highest level of car racing. To be a Formula 1 driver, you first need to be fearless, and be able to perform under high speed and pressure. Formula 1 drivers also have to have superior reflexes, knowing when to break and steer. In addition to that, understanding and the car and knowing how to adjust it is a big part of being a driver. With that also comes another necessary skill, of communicating well with the team and the engineers, being able to tell them how the car is behaving on the track and why. Naturally, knowing the tracks well (their best breaking points, steering points, and overtaking points) is also important when it comes to techniques.

Formula 1 Coaching

Formula 1 Coaching

Unlike most sports, Formula 1 drivers do not have coaches that help them improve. Coaches are simply not part of the Formula 1 world or culture. Still, drivers have a team of people that work to help them perform better on the track, conditioning coaches, psychologists, engineers, strategists, and special advisors, which are usually former celebrated drivers. Some of the most well-known special advisors in Formula 1 are Nikki Lauda, Alain Prost, and Michale Schumacher, who are also some of the best drivers in history.

Formula 1 Strategy

Formula 1 Strategy

Strategy is crucial to having a good Formula 1 race weekend. In fact, F1 teams have personnel whose whole job is to take care of the strategy, the strategists. Strategu in Formula 1 emcompasses having a knowledge of the car and how it performs on each track, doing mathematical calculations, and thinking about probabilities. Strategists have to decide how much fuel to put in the car, which tyres to use, when and how many times to pit. Teams start thinking about strategies for every scenario possible in advance to a race, so that on race day, they can adapt their strategy as seamlessly as possible to the conditions. Still, things during the race such as incidents, rain, and safety cars impact a team's strategy.

Formula 1 Drills

Formula 1 Drills

Formula 1 drivers are elite athletes. Inside the cars, they are under a lot of pressure and g-force. In a race, the driver's neck, shoulder, and core are very tense and tight. Therefore, athletes do drills that focus on endurance and strength, mainly the upper body. When it comes to driving, drivers don't really do drills, but rather when they are not practicing in the cars, they are driving inside technologically advanced, life-like simulators. 

Formula 1 Drivers

Formula 1 Drivers

Formula 1 drivers are like celebrities. They are part of the glamour and luxury that comes with the sport, and many look up to them in that matter. However, this doesn't mean that they are any less competitive, or that they are not elite athletes. Some drivers have made their marks in Formula 1 and in fans' hearts both for their wins in the track and personality out of it. Check out some of the best drivers in F1 history:

Formula 1 DriverWorld Titles
Michael Schumacher7
Lewis Hamilton6
Ayrton Senna3
Juan Manuel Fangio5
Nikki Lauda3
Sebastian Vettel4

Formula 1 Leagues

Formula 1 Leagues

There are not really any Formula 1 leagues, but rather Formula 1 is a league in itself. F1 is sanctioned and overseen by the International Automobile Federation (FIA), who is the global motorsport governing body. The FIA also sanctions other types of racing competitions such as Formula 2 and 3, and rally racing. While each country might have their own motorsport racing competitions, there is only one global Formula 1.

Formula 1 Teams

Formula 1 Teams

Throughout Formula 1 history, many teams have come and gone. The financial side of the sport makes it really hard for some teams to be competitive, or to stay racing for long. Nonetheless, there are Formula 1 teams who have a history of success in the sport, and have been on the grid for many years. There are usually 10 teams who participate in a Formula 1 season, although that number has been both higher and lower at times. Below there are a few teams who have been part of F1 for a significant and time and who have left their marks in the sport:

  • Scuderia Ferrari
  • Mercedes
  • Red Bull Racing
  • McLaren
  • Renault
  • Williams

Formula 1 Brands

Formula 1 Brands

Many brands are associated with Formula 1. To begin with, teams are brands themselves, many teams are also car manufacturers, and use Formula 1 as a way to market themselves. In addition, teams and the F1 itself have lots of sponsors, who pay a lot of money for their brands to be associated with the sport. Drivers also have the brands that they like, which provides them with racing gear. Check out a few of the brands that are associated with F1:

FerrariCar Manufacturer
MercedesCar Manufacturer
Puma Gear and clothing
PirelliTire manufacturer
ShellOil and Gas
RolexLuxury Watches
AlpinestartsRacing Gear

Formula 1 Tournaments

Formula 1 Tournaments

In a Formula 1 season, there are basically two championships for which teams and drivers compete, the driver's championship and the constructor's championship. Drivers are awarded points based on the position they finish in. At the season's end, the driver who has the most points wins the Drivers World Championship, the ultimate prize. As for the Constructor championships, the team whose drivers have the most points summed up takes home the title of Constructors World Champions. 

Formula 1 Books and Movies

With a rich history, lots of drama, interesting characters, and cool stories; there is a lot of great Formula 1 content out there. Books and movies are widely popular, well-produced, and overall just very fun to watch and read. Some of the best F1 content is listed below:

Total CompetitionRoss Brawn and Adam Parr
To Hell and Back: An AutobiographyNikki Lauda
The Mechanic's TaleSteve Matchett
Life to The LimitJenson Button
“Rush”Motion picture based on the real-life rivalry between Nikki Lauda and James Hunt during the 1980's.
“Senna”Documentary about the life and impact of Ayrton Senna, one of the greatest drivers ever who had his life cut short in 1994 during a race.
“Drive To Survive”Netflix-produced show about the behind the scenes of a Formula 1 season.


What is Formula 1?

Formula 1 (or just F1) is the highest and most prestigious class of one seat car racing. Formula 1 racing features high-tech race cars that are built to meet a number of requirements. Each car is designed to reach approximately 600 horsepower, making a Formula 1 car dramatically faster than a conventional race car. Moreover, F1 cars are extremely aerodynamic, containing turbocharged engines and internal systems that gather heat energy throughout the race and allow for short bursts of extreme speed.

How much does a Formula 1 car cost?

Teams spend a lot of money in developing their cars, which gives an advantage to richer and bigger teams. While big teams such as Mercedes and Ferrari might spend up to $400 million, smaller teams spend around $150 million. In future years there are plans to implement a spending cap in F1.

How much horsepower does a Formula One car have?

The amount of HorsePower (HP) in a car varies depending on which engine the car uses. Different manufacturers provide different engines to teams, and some develop their own. A formula 1 car has around 900 HP.

Why is it called Formula 1?

Formula refers to the set of rules and regulations that govern this category of car racing. 1 comes because it is the highest class, the one where all drivers want to get. Other Formula series like F2 and F3 have similar rules and car formats, although it is far from being the same as F1.

How fast do Formula 1 cars go?

Formula 1 cars can go up to around 200 mph in qualifying, and a little less in a race. The top speed achieved by a Formula 1 car happened in 2005, whe Juan Pablo Montoya reached 231 mph in his car.