Introduction to Formula One Racing

Formula One racing, often referred to as Grand Prix racing, is the top class of motor sports in the world. Most commonly it is abbreviated as F1 racing. The title Formula One racing refers to the rules, or "formula" that all cars and participants in Formula One racing must follow. These strict rules make Formula One racing the most competitive of all motor sports.

Formula One racing developed out of the early 1900s European Grand Prix racing. Early Grand Prix racing had a "formula" of rules for drivers and their vehicles. Following World War II an even stricter formula was developed. This new formula was referred to as Formula One, indicating that it was number one as far as being the most challenging set of rules to follow. The first Formula One World Championship race was held in England in 1950. Italian Giuseppe Farina holds the title of First World Champion Formula One driver. He won driving an Alfa Romeo. Formula One World Championships are now awarded in two divisions, one for the driver and one for the constructor, or builder, of the racecar.

Europe is home to Formula One racing. Over the years the Formula One racing venues have expanded around the globe. The circuit now includes races in Bahrain, Shanghai and Fiji as well as the more traditional locations of Monte Carlo and Magny-Cours. Less than half of the 2007 season Formula One races will be held in Europe. The Formula One racing season lasts from March through October each year.

Typically Formula One racing circuits consist of at least one straight stretch of road. This stretch is home to the starting grid for the race. The remainder of the track contains a series of curves and turns. Most of the races are run in a clockwise direction. Multiple laps of the circuit are required to complete the race. The 305-kilometer Formula One race takes 1 to 2 hours to complete. Currently Grand Prix Formula One races are held on circuits specifically designed for Formula One racing. Formula One racing continues to be held on street circuits including Montreal, Melbourne and the Circuit de Monaco. Street courses are popular but are not considered to meet the high safety standards required for Formula One racing.

Formula One racecars are built following strict standards for weight, safety and design. The cars used for Formula One racing are a cross between modern automotive design and the aerodynamic feature of a jet airplane. Formula One racing reaches speeds of over 220 miles per hour. Because the cars are designed to be lightweight their aerodynamics are designed to create a downforce that holds them to the pavement. Despite the advanced design, Formula One racing relies on fuel nearly identical to regular automotive gasoline.

Formula One racing draws fans from around the world. Television broadcasting of Formula One racing reaches over 200 countries and millions of viewers. This surge in race fans has made Formula One racing popular with sponsors who view their investment in the racing teams as a marketing/merchandising expense.

Formula One racing sets the standard for motor sports. It has a long history and continues to grow and change as the sport evolves.


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