An Introduction to Formula 1 for New Fans

Formula 1 is one of the most complicated sports in the world. From the extremely complex cars to the strict rules and regulations, it can be quite confusing for new fans.
A Simple Explanation About Formula 1 for New Fans 13 photos
Photo: Formula 1/Twitter
A Simple Explanation About Formula 1 for New FansA Simple Explanation About Formula 1 for New FansA Simple Explanation About Formula 1 for New FansA Simple Explanation About Formula 1 for New FansA Simple Explanation About Formula 1 for New FansA Simple Explanation About Formula 1 for New FansA Simple Explanation About Formula 1 for New FansA Simple Explanation About Formula 1 for New FansA Simple Explanation About Formula 1 for New FansA Simple Explanation About Formula 1 for New FansA Simple Explanation About Formula 1 for New FansA Simple Explanation About Formula 1 for New Fans
We have you covered, and in this article, we will explain everything about Formula 1 more straightforwardly and understandably. So stay tuned as we break down all the things new F1 fans need to know.

While in the real world, one second is such a small margin, in Formula 1, the difference between half a second and a second is an eternity. It is really important to understand just how important time is in this competition. During the Saturday qualifying session, you will hear commentators say that there are tenths of hundreds or thousands of a second between drivers. Qualifying is when drivers compete for the fastest time to start closer to the front. As a result, these fractions of a second can be the difference between starting up front, even in pole position, or starting at the back of the grid.

During the actual race, time is just as important. In the main event, drivers have to stop their cars at least once to change tires. During the pit stop phase, mechanics change each wheel of the vehicle as quickly as possible, with an average of between two and three seconds. It's a significant advantage to have a quick pit stop and can mean the difference between first and second place. As an example, the fastest pit stop in Formula 1 was performed by Red Bull at the 2019 Brazilian Grand Prix. The pit crew was able to change all the tires in just 1.82 seconds. As a comparison, that is less time than it takes to open your phone.

If a car is one second behind another, it is within overtaking distance. If it is further back, like around five seconds, then this is a pretty comfortable gap for the leader, and anything more than ten seconds is a massive gap. Besides, the difference between the leader and the driver in last place can get more than a minute, meaning there is no chance of them winning.

A Simple Explanation About Formula 1 for New Fans
Photo: Formula 1/Twitter
Points are a very important thing in Formula 1. The 2021 season ended in a pretty crazy way, with Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen going into the final race equal on points. So how does the point system work in Formula 1? The motorsport competition takes place over a whole season. For 2023, the season is 23 races long. At the end of the season, whoever has the most points wins the title. That is pretty straightforward, with the winner of every race taking 25 points and a bonus point for the one who has the fastest lap. The second place takes 18 points and the third place 15. The top ten drivers receive points, with the last of them taking one point.In addition, one extra point is given to the driver and the team that got the fastest time in the race if they finish in the top-ten's final standing.

Besides the driver's championship, there is a constructor one too. The driver's championship is the title that all the racers want to win. Lewis Hamilton and Michael Schumacher have a record seven world championships, with Max Verstappen being the most recent one. The same points system we talked about earlier applies to the constructor's championship. Each driver has a teammate, so there are two cars competing for each team. At the end of the season, they combine the results of both drivers to see which team has the most points. In the previous season, Red Bull Racing won the constructor's championship, ending the eight-year winning streak of Mercedes-AMG.

When you are watching a Formula 1 race for the first time, you might think the drivers are on their own. However, there is so much more going on than meets the eye. Formula 1 is a team sport. The drivers are one member of that team and a very important member, but they rely on the rest of their team just as much. Each racer has a race engineer who they communicate with by radio. The engineer will give them all kinds of important information, telling them what is happening on the track—informing them about other cars on the circuit, how the vehicle is performing, and what they should be doing to get the most out of it.

In a Formula 1 car, there are a lot of sensors located inside and outside the vehicle to monitor the condition of the engine, the tires, the temperatures of certain elements, and a bunch of other things. These sensors send information to the team in the track's paddock and a squad back at the factory. From those pieces of information, engineers can tell the drivers what they need to do. Sometimes the car gets too hot and needs to cool down, or the tires are not at the right temperature (too cold or too hot) and do not have enough grip. These are all really important strategic decisions that win and lose races. Altogether the teams produce a whopping 160 terabytes of data each weekend.

A Simple Explanation About Formula 1 for New Fans
Photo: Formula 1/Twitter
Formula 1 can be challenging to understand because a lot of the competition is not actually on the track at all. Back at each team's factories, engineers try to come up with the fastest, most consistent, and most reliable car they can build. This process is incredibly complex and costs hundreds of millions of dollars. The biggest part of development is the engine phase. In the pinnacle of motorsport, the vehicles with the best engine are often able to win races. Besides, F1 is also now developing technology that will be more sustainable. The sport aims to have sustainable fuel in just three years. Thus, Formula 1 race cars will run on energy that is not so harmful to the planet.

Another thing you will hear quite often from the commentators is DRS. But what is it, and why is it important? DRS stands for Drag Reduction System, and it was first introduced in 2011 to make overtaking easier. The Drag Reduction System is an element on the rear wing, which generally it's closed. As a result, there is more resistance to the air, and the car goes slower than it actually could. However, if a driver finds himself in a one-second gap behind a rival (only in dedicated areas on the track), he can press a button to open this part, which makes the car have less air resistance and go faster. It's simple physics, to be honest. It is estimated that the DRS helps an F1 car gain around six to seven miles per hour. While it doesn't sound that much, in Formula 1 is a massive difference, and it is enough to overtake the car ahead.

These are the elementary and essential things you need to know about Formula 1, but in a future article, we will get more detailed about some other stuff we missed here. Let us know if you want to find out more about this incredible competition.
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About the author: Silvian Irimia
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Silvian may be the youngest member of our team, being born in the 2000s, but you won't find someone more passionate than him when it comes to motorsport. An automotive engineer by trade, Silvian considers the Ferrari F50 his favorite car, with the original Lamborghini Countach a close second.
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