Formula One (F1) is the pinnacle of motor vehicle racing. ‘Formula’ refers to the rules which apply to all race participants.
F1 was in the making from the early 1930s but World War II meant that it only saw the first World Championship season take place in 1950. These races are mainly contested on circuits but the select few that take place on public roads, in cities like Monaco, attract the who’s who of celebs and business moguls.
F1 cars reach speeds of up to 375 km/h with very high cornering speeds which is possible by the aerodynamic shape designed to create downforce. The rules were changed to allow for wider front and rear wings as well as wider tyres which increased cornering forces up to 6.5g – for some context fighter jets go up to 9g.
As of this year hybrid engines used in Formula One cars are limited to 15,000 rpm. The constructors have the best engineers working on their teams and the races have become as much a design competition as a race. The annual cost for running one of the mid-tier teams comes up to $120m with the likes of Red Bull spending a whopping $223m.
F1 originated out of Europe’s Grand Prix racing and the name ‘Formula One’ was agreed upon for the new format. The world-renowned Silverstone hosted the first world championship race in 1950. South Africa became a part of the circuit in the 1960s through to the mid 1970s.
Giuseppe Faring one the first World Championship before Manuel Fangio dominated the rest of the first decade with some bestowing him the title ‘Grand Master’ of F1.
Formula One progresses in leaps every year and it is difficult to imagine a world without it.