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Formula One, also known as Formula 1 or F1, and currently officially referred to as the FIA Formula One World Championship, is the highest class of auto racing sanctioned by the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA). The "formula" in the name refers to a set of rules to which all participants and cars must comply. The F1 season consists of a series of races, known as Grands Prix, held on purpose-built circuits, and to a lesser extent, former public roads and closed city streets. The results of each race are combined to determine two annual World Championships, one for the drivers and one for the constructors, with racing drivers, constructor teams, track officials, organizers and circuits required to be holders of valid Super Licences, the highest class racing licence issued by the FIA.

Formula One cars race at high speeds, up to with engines revving up to a formula imposed limit of 19,000 RPM. The cars are capable of pulling in excess of 5 g-forces in some curves. The performance of the cars is highly dependent on electronics (although traction control and driving aids have been banned since 2008), aerodynamics, suspension and on tyres. The formula has seen many evolutions and changes through the history of the sport.

Europe is Formula One's traditional centre, where all of the teams are based, and where around half of the races take place. However, the sport's scope has expanded significantly in recent years and Grands Prix are held all over the world. Events in Europe and the Americas have been dropped in favour of races in Asia and the Far East - of the seventeen races in 2009, eight were held outside Europe.

Formula One is a massive television event, with a global audience of 600 million people per season. The Formula One Group is the legal holder of the commercial rights . As the world's most expensive sport, its economic effect is significant, and its financial and political battles are widely covered. Its high profile and popularity make it an obvious merchandising environment, which leads to very high investments from sponsors, translating into extremely high budgets for the constructor teams . However, mostly since 2000, due to the always increasing expenditures, several teams, including works teams from car makers and those teams with minimum support from the automotive industry or other F1 teams, have gone bankrupt or been bought out by companies that want to easily establish a racing team within the sport.


The Formula One series has its roots in the European Grand Prix Motor Racing (q.v. for pre-1947 history) of the 1920s and 1930s. The "formula" is a set of rules which all participants and cars must meet. Formula One was a new formula agreed after World War II in 1946, with the first non-championship races being held that year. A number of Grand Prix racing organisations had laid out rules for a World Championship before the war, but due to the suspension of racing during the conflict, the World Drivers' Championship was not formalised until 1947. The first world championship race was held at Silverstonemarker, United Kingdom in 1950. A championship for constructors followed in 1958. National championships existed in South Africa and the UK in the 1960s and 1970s. Non-championship Formula One races were held for many years but, due to the rising cost of competition, the last of these occurred in 1983.

The sport's title, Formula One, indicates that it is intended to be the most advanced and most competitive of the FIA's racing formulae.

Return of racing

The first Formula One World Championship was won by Italianmarker Giuseppe Farina in his Alfa Romeo in 1950, barely defeating his Argentinemarker teammate Juan Manuel Fangio. However Fangio won the title in 1951, 1954, 1955, 1956 & 1957 (His record of five World Championship titles stood for 45 years until German driver Michael Schumacher took his sixth title in 2003), his streak interrupted after an injury by two-time champion Alberto Ascari of Ferrari. Although the UK's Stirling Moss was able to compete regularly, he was never able to win the World Championship, and is now widely considered to be the greatest driver never to have won the title. Fangio, however, is remembered for dominating Formula One's first decade and has long been considered the "grand master" of Formula One.

The period was dominated by teams run by road car manufacturers—Alfa Romeo, Ferrari, Mercedes Benz and Maseratimarker - all of whom had competed before the war. The first seasons were run using pre-war cars like Alfa's 158. They were front engined, with narrow treaded tyres and 1.5 litre supercharged or 4.5 litre normally aspirated engines. The 1952 and 1953 world championships were run to Formula Two regulations, for smaller, less powerful cars, due to concerns over the number of Formula One cars available. When a new Formula One, for engines limited to 2.5 litres, was reinstated to the world championship in 1954, Mercedes-Benz introduced the advanced W196, which featured innovations such as desmodromic valves and fuel injection as well as enclosed streamlined bodywork. Mercedes won the drivers championship for two years, before withdrawing from all motorsport in the wake of the 1955 Le Mans disastermarker.

The Garagistes

The first major technological development, Cooper's re-introduction of mid-engined cars (following Ferdinand Porsche's pioneering Auto Unions of the 1930s), which evolved from the company's successful Formula 3 designs, occurred in the 1950s. Australian Jack Brabham, World Champion in 1959, 1960 and 1966, soon proved the new design's superiority. By 1961, all regular competitors had switched to mid-engined cars.

The first British World Champion was Mike Hawthorn, who drove a Ferrari to the title in 1958. However, when Colin Chapman entered F1 as a chassis designer and later founder of Team Lotus, British racing green came to dominate the field for the next decade. Between Jim Clark, Jackie Stewart, John Surtees, Jack Brabham, Graham Hill, and Denny Hulme, British teams and Commonwealth drivers won twelve world championships between 1962 and 1973.

In 1962, Lotus introduced a car with an aluminium sheet monocoque chassis instead of the traditional space frame design. This proved to be the greatest technological breakthrough since the introduction of mid-engined cars. In 1968, Lotus painted Imperial Tobacco livery on their cars, thus introducing sponsorship to the sport.

Aerodynamic downforce slowly gained importance in car design from the appearance of aerofoils in the late 1960s. In the late 1970s, Lotus introduced ground effect aerodynamics that provided enormous downforce and greatly increased cornering speeds (though the concept had previously been used on Jim Hall's Chaparral 2J in 1970). So great were the aerodynamic forces pressing the cars to the track, (up to 5 times the car's weight), that extremely stiff springs were needed to maintain a constant ride height, leaving the suspension virtually solid, depending entirely on the tyres for any small amount of cushioning of the car and driver from irregularities in the road surface.

Big business

Beginning in the 1970s, Bernie Ecclestone rearranged the management of Formula One's commercial rights; he is widely credited with transforming the sport into the billion-dollar business it is today. When Ecclestone bought the Brabham team in 1971 he gained a seat on the Formula One Constructors' Association and in 1978 became its President. Previously the circuit owners controlled the income of the teams and negotiated with each individually, however Ecclestone persuaded the teams to "hunt as a pack" through FOCA. He offered Formula One to circuit owners as a package which they could take or leave. In return for the package almost all are required to surrender trackside advertising.

The formation of the Fédération Internationale du Sport Automobile (FISA) in 1979 set off the FISA-FOCA war, during which FISA and its president Jean-Marie Balestre clashed repeatedly with FOCA over television revenues and technical regulations. The Guardian said of FOCA that Ecclestone and Max Mosley "used it to wage a guerrilla war with a very long-term aim in view." FOCA threatened to set up a rival series, boycotted a Grand Prix and FISA withdrew its sanction from races. The result was the 1981 Concorde Agreement, which guaranteed technical stability, as teams were to be given reasonable notice of new regulations. Although FISA asserted its right to the TV revenues, it handed the administration of those rights to FOCA.

FISA imposed a ban on ground effect aerodynamics in 1983. By then, however, turbocharged engines, which Renaultmarker had pioneered in 1977, were producing over and were essential to be competitive. By 1986, a BMW turbocharged engine achieved a flash reading of 5.5 bar pressure, estimated to be over in qualifying for the Italian Grand Prix. The following year power in race trim reached around , with boost pressure limited to only 4.0 bar. These cars were the most powerful open-wheel circuit racing cars ever. To reduce engine power output and thus speeds, the FIA limited fuel tank capacity in 1984 and boost pressures in 1988 before banning turbocharged engines completely in 1989.

The development of electronic driver aids began in the 1980s. Lotus began to develop a system of active suspension which first appeared in 1982 on the F1 Lotus 91 and Lotus Esprit road car. By 1987, this system had been perfected and was driven to victory by Ayrton Senna in the Monaco Grand Prix that year. In the early 1990s, other teams followed suit and semi-automatic gearboxes and traction control were a natural progression. The FIA, due to complaints that technology was determining the outcome of races more than driver skill, banned many such aids for 1994. This led to cars that were previously dependent on electronic aids becoming very "twitchy" and difficult to drive (notably the Williams FW16), and many observers felt that the ban on driver aids was a ban in name only as they "have proved difficult to police effectively".

The teams signed a second Concorde Agreement in 1992 and a third in 1997, which expired on the last day of 2007.

On the track, the McLarenmarker and Williams teams dominated the 1980s and 1990s, with Brabham also being competitive in the early part of the 1980s, winning two drivers' championships with Nelson Piquet. Powered by Porsche, Honda, and Mercedes-Benz, McLaren won sixteen championships (seven constructors', nine drivers') in that period, while Williams used engines from Ford, Honda, and Renault to also win sixteen titles (nine constructors', seven drivers'). The rivalry between racing legends Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost became F1's central focus in 1988, and continued until Prost retired at the end of 1993. Senna died at the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix after crashing into a wall on the exit of the notorious curve Tamburello, having taken over Prost's lead drive at Williams that year. The FIA worked to improve the sport's safety standards since that weekend, during which Roland Ratzenberger also lost his life in an accident during Saturday qualifying. No driver has died on the track at the wheel of a Formula One car since, though two track marshals have lost their lives, one at the 2000 Italian Grand Prix, and the other at the 2001 Australian Grand Prix.

Since the deaths of Ayrton Senna and Roland Ratzenberger, the FIA has used safety as a reason to impose rule changes which otherwise, under the Concorde Agreement, would have had to be agreed upon by all the teams — most notably the changes introduced for 1998. This so called 'narrow track' era resulted in cars with smaller rear tyres, a narrower track overall and the introduction of 'grooved' tyres to reduce mechanical grip. There would be four grooves, on the front and rear — although initially three on the front tyres in the first year — that ran through the entire circumference of the tyre. The objective was to reduce cornering speeds and to produce racing similar to rain conditions by enforcing a smaller contact patch between tyre and track. This, according to the FIA, was to promote driver skill and provide a better spectacle.

Results have been mixed as the lack of mechanical grip has resulted in the more ingenious designers clawing back the deficit with aerodynamic grip — pushing more force onto the tyres through wings, aerodynamic devices etc — which in turn has resulted in less overtaking as these devices tend to make the wake behind the car 'dirty' (turbulent) preventing other cars from following closely, due to their dependence on 'clean' air to make the car stick to the track. The grooved tyres also had the unfortunate side effect of initially being of a harder compound, to be able to hold the groove tread blocks, which resulted in spectacular accidents in times of aerodynamic grip failure (e.g., rear wing failures), as the harder compound could not grip the track as well.

Drivers from McLaren, Williams, Renault (formerly Benetton) and Ferrari, dubbed the "Big Four", have won every World Championship from 1984 to 2008. Due to the technological advances of the 1990s, the cost of competing in Formula One rose dramatically. This increased financial burden, combined with four teams' dominance (largely funded by big car manufacturers such as Mercedes-Benz), caused the poorer independent teams to struggle not only to remain competitive, but to stay in business. Financial troubles forced several teams to withdraw. Since 1990, twenty-eight teams have pulled out of Formula One. This has prompted former Jordan owner Eddie Jordan to say that the days of competitive privateers are over.

Manufacturers' return (Early to late 2000's)

Michael Schumacher and Ferrari won an unprecedented five consecutive drivers’ championships and six consecutive constructors’ championships between 1999 and 2004. Schumacher set many new records, including those for Grand Prix wins (91), wins in a season (13 of 18), and most drivers' championships (7). Schumacher's championship streak ended on September 25, 2005 when Renault driver Fernando Alonso became Formula One’s youngest champion at that time. In 2006, Renault and Alonso won both titles again. Schumacher retired at the end of 2006 after sixteen years in Formula One.

During this period the championship rules were frequently changed by the FIA with the intention of improving the on-track action and cutting costs. Team orders, legal since the championship started in 1950, were banned in 2002 after several incidents in which teams openly manipulated race results, generating negative publicity, most famously by Ferrari at the 2002 Austrian Grand Prix. Other changes included the qualifying format, the points scoring system, the technical regulations and rules specifying how long engines and tyres must last. A 'tyre war' between suppliers Michelin and Bridgestone saw lap times fall, although at the 2005 United States Grand Prix at Indianapolis seven out of ten teams did not race when their Michelin tyres were deemed unsafe for use. During 2006, Max Mosley outlined a ‘green’ future for Formula One, in which efficient use of energy would become an important factor. And the tyre war ended, as Bridgestone became the sole tyre supplier to Formula One for the 2007 season.

Since 1983, Formula One had been dominated by specialist race teams like Williams, McLaren and Benetton, using engines supplied by large car manufacturers like Mercedes-Benz, Honda, Renault and Ford. Starting in 2000, with Ford’s creation of the largely unsuccessful Jaguar team, new manufacturer-owned teams entered Formula One for the first time since the departure of Alfa Romeo and Renault at the end of 1985. By 2006, the manufacturer teams–Renault, BMW, Toyota, Honda and Ferrari–dominated the championship, taking five of the first six places in the constructors' championship. The sole exception was McLaren, which is part-owned by Mercedes Benz. Through the Grand Prix Manufacturers Association (GPMA) they negotiated a larger share of Formula One’s commercial profit and a greater say in the running of the sport.

Manufacturers' decline and new teams (Late 2000's and Present)

Towards the end of the 2000's, Honda, BMW and Toyota have all pulled out of Formula 1 within the space of a year, blaming the economic depression as the reason. This led to the end of manufacturer dominance within the sport, as shown by the pace of Brawn GP and Red Bull-Renault in the 2009 season, dominating the sport at the expense of the manufacturers (Ferrari being the only manufacturer to win a race). The 2010 formula 1 season will, however, see Mercedes Benz enter the sport as a manufacturer after its purchase of Brawn GP and split with Mclaren after 15 seasons with the team. This will leave Mercedes, Renault and Ferrari as the only car manufacturers in the sport and the only engine suppliers (with Renault's commitment to the sport to be decided in December). AT&T Williams however confirmed towards the end of 2009 their new engine deal with the private engine company Cosworth. The company will also supply the wave of new teams USF1, Manor GP, Campos Meta and the newly owned Lotus F1 team. The exit of car manufacturers has also paved the way for teams representing their countries, with some having the financial backing of their respective national governments (such as Lotus), something not seen since the 1930s. These "nationality teams" include Force India, USF1 (the first team in recent years to be based outside Europe), and Lotus, representing India, America, and Malaysia respectively.

Possible breakaway

As a result of the ongoing governance crisis in Formula One, the eight remaining teams of the Formula One Teams Association (FOTA) announced on June 18, 2009 that they had no choice but to form a breakaway championship series.

The crisis originally formed around the proposed implementation of several radical changes to the 2010 regulations, most importantly the introduction of a £30 million budget cap (later revised to £40 million), approved by the World Motor Sport Council (WMSC) on March 17.

Under the proposed technical regulations, teams operating with the budget cap would be granted greater technical freedom, which included adjustable front and rear wings and an engine not subject to a rev limiter.

The FOTA believed that allowing some teams to have such technical freedom would have created a ‘two-tier’ championship, and thus requested urgent talks with the FIA. Talks broke down resulting in four of the teams, Ferrari, Renaultmarker, Red Bull and Torro Rosso threatening not to sign on for the 2010 championship unless the rules were revised.

FOTA and the FIA again met for talks which again broke down, causing Ferrari to launch legal action to prevent the regulations from being applied, claiming that a previously signed contract between themselves and the FIA gave them right to veto any new rules, a clause which they believe the FIA ignored. The injunction was rejected in French courts.

On May 25, Williams broke ranks with FOTA by submitting an entry for the 2010 season and were subsequently suspended indefinitely, which brought the number of teams active in FOTA down to nine.

On May 29, the remaining FOTA teams submitted a joint, conditional entry which they state is only to be accepted if the proposed rules were amended to their preference. Seven days later, Force India revealed that they followed Williams and submitted an unconditional entry for the 2010 season and were also suspended.

The FIA released the list of competing teams for the 2010 season on June 12. 2009 competitors were included with the addition of USGPE, Manor Grand Prix and Campos Grand Prix. The FIA recognized the conditional nature of five of the FOTA teams while automatically accepting the entries of Ferrari, Red Bull and Torro Rosso. The remaining conditional teams were given a week to submit unconditional entries.

A day before the final submission deadline, FOTA announced that they were unified in creating a breakaway championship series due to the apparently irreconcilable differences between their views and those of the FIA.

The FIA threatened legal action against the FOTA teams, claiming that they, and Ferrari in particular, had broken a signed contract to compete. It was estimated that the proposed lawsuit could be for as much as $1 billion.

On June 21, Max Mosley decided that the FIA would not sue the teams, insisting instead that reconciliation was close. Flavio Briatore denied the next day that a deal was close, insisting that FOTA was pressing on with their breakaway championship.

On June 24, an agreement was reached between Formula One's governing body and the teams to prevent a breakaway series. It was agreed that the teams must cut spending to the level of the early 1990s within two years, however exact figures were not specified.

However, shortly after this peace deal was reached on Wednesday, Max Mosley was reported as being 'furious' over remarks made by Luca Cordero di Montezemolo. Mosely, who clearly felt let down by the comments, later told the media that he was to 'leave his options open'.

The statement, released by Luca Cordero di Montezemolo, described Max Mosley as a dictator, also mentioning that he had been forced out of office with Michel Boeri taking his place until a new leader was elected in October. Mosley described these statements as being false as well as 'grossly insulting to the 26 members of the World Motor Sport Council who have discussed and voted all the rules and procedures of Formula One since the 1980s, not to mention the representatives of the FIA's 122 countries who have democratically endorsed everything I and my World Motor Sport Council colleagues have done during the last 18 years'.

No apology was issued by FOTA or Luca Cordero di Montezemolo, sparking speculation that Max Mosley will seek re-election in October which would plunge Formula One back into crisis. Mosley's agreement to step down at the conclusion of his term was one of the major factors resulting in the reconciliation of FOTA with Formula One.

On 8 July, the FOTA published a press release stating that they had been informed that they were not entered for the 2010 season. An FIA press release, published on the same date and regarding the same meeting, said the FOTA representatives had walked out of the meeting.

On August 1, it was announced that the FIA had signed the new Concorde Agreement, bringing an end to the crisis and securing the sport's future until 2012.

Outside the World Championship

Currently, the terms "Formula One race" and "World Championship race" are effectively synonymous; since 1984, every Formula One race has counted towards an Official FIA World Championship, and every World Championship race has been to Formula One regulations. This has not always been the case, and in the earlier history of Formula One many races took place outside the world championship.

European non-championship racing

In the early years of Formula One, before the world championship was established, there were around twenty races held from late Spring to early Autumn in Europe, although not all of these were considered significant. Most competitive cars came from Italy, particularly Alfa Romeo. After the start of the world championship these non-championship races continued. In the 1950s and 1960s, there were many Formula One races which did not count for the World Championship (e.g., in 1950, a total of twenty-two Formula One races were held, of which only six counted towards the World Championship). In 1952 and 1953, when the world championship was run for Formula Two cars, a full season of non-championship Formula One racing took place. Some races, particularly in the UK, including the Race of Champions, Oulton Park International Gold Cup and International Trophy, were attended by the majority of the world championship contenders. These became less common through the 1970s and 1983 saw the last non-championship Formula One race: The 1983 Race of Champions at Brands Hatch, won by reigning World Champion Keke Rosberg in a Williams Cosworth in a close fight with American Danny Sullivan.

South African Formula One championship

South Africa's flourishing domestic Formula One championship ran from 1960 through to 1975. The frontrunning cars in the series were recently retired from the world championship although there was also a healthy selection of locally built or modified machines. Frontrunning drivers from the series usually contested their local World Championship Grand Prix, as well as occasional European events, although they had little success at that level.

British Formula One Series

The old fashioned DFV helped make the UK domestic Formula One series possible between 1978 and 1980. As in South Africa a generation before, second hand cars from manufacturers like Lotus and Fittipaldi Automotive were the order of the day, although some, such as the March 781, were built specifically for the series. In 1980, the series saw South African Desiré Wilson become the only woman to win a Formula One race when she triumphed at Brands Hatch in a Wolf WR3.

Racing and strategy

A Formula One Grand Prix event spans a weekend, beginning with two free practice sessions on Friday (except in Monaco, where Friday practices are moved to Thursday), and one free practice on Saturday. Additional drivers (commonly known as third drivers) are allowed to run on Fridays, but only two cars may be used per team, requiring a race driver to give up their seat. A Qualifying session is held after the last free practice session. This session determines the starting order for the race.


A typical pitwall control centre, from which the team managers and strategists communicate with their drivers and engineers over the course of a testing session and race weekend.

For much of the sport's history, qualifying sessions differed little from practice sessions; drivers would have an entire session in which to attempt to set their fastest time, sometimes within a limited number of attempts, with the grid order determined by each driver's the best single lap, fastest (on pole position) to slowest. Grids were limited to the fastest 26 cars and drivers had to lap within 107% of the pole sitter's time to qualify for the race. Other formats have included Friday pre-qualifying, and sessions in which each driver was allowed only one qualifying lap, run separately in a predetermined order.

The current qualifying system, known as "knock-out" qualifying and adopted starting with the 2006 season, is split into three periods. In each period, drivers run qualifying laps to attempt to advance to the next period, running as many laps as they wish, with the slowest drivers being "knocked out" at the end of the period and their grid positions set. Cars are eliminated in this manner until 10 cars remain eligible to attempt to qualify for pole position in the third and final period. For each period, all previous times are reset, and only a driver's fastest lap in that period (barring infractions) counts. Under current rules, for all periods, any timed lap started before the chequered flag falls signalling the end of that period may be completed, and will count toward that driver's placement, even if they cross the finish line after the period has ended. In the first two periods, cars may run any fuel load they wish, and drivers eliminated in these periods are allowed to refuel prior to the race. Cars taking part in the final period, however, must start the race with the fuel load left at the end of qualifying, meaning they must run the final period with their desired initial race fuel load in addition to fuel sufficient to complete the qualifying period itself.

For example, for a 20-car grid, all 20 cars are permitted to take part in the first period. At the end of the period, the slowest five cars are eliminated and take up the last five grid positions (16 to 20) in the order of their times. In the second period, the remaining fifteen cars take part, with five more cars eliminated at the end, taking the next five lowest grid positions (11 to 15). In the third and final period, the remaining 10 cars compete for pole position, and fill grid positions 1 through 10.

The knock-out format has received minor updates since its inception, such as adjustments to the number of drivers eliminated in each period as the total number of cars entered has changed.

The race

The race begins with a warm-up lap, after which the cars assemble on the starting grid in the order they qualified. This lap is often referred to as the formation lap, as the cars lap in formation with no overtaking (although a driver who makes a mistake may regain lost ground provided he has not fallen to the back of the field). The warm up lap allows drivers to check the condition of the track and their car and it also gives the tyres a chance to get some heat in them to get some much needed traction, and also allows the pit crews to clear themselves and their equipment from the grid.

Once all the cars have formed on the grid, a light system above the track indicates the start of the race. Five red lights are illuminated one-by-one. The five lights are then extinguished simultaneously (instead of showing a green light), after a computer generated random time (typically less than 3 seconds) to signal the start of the race. The start procedure may be abandoned if a driver stalls on the grid, signalled by flashing amber lights. If this happens the procedure will restart and a new formation lap will begin and the offending car removed from the grid. The race may also be restarted in the event of a serious accident or dangerous conditions, with the original start voided. The race may also be started from behind the Safety Car if officials feel a racing start would be excessively dangerous. There is no formation lap when races start behind the Safety Car.

The winner of the race is the first driver to cross the finish line having completed a set number of laps (which added together should give a distance of approximately (or for Monaco). Races are limited to two hours, although only tend to last this long in the case of extreme weather. Drivers may overtake one another for position over the course of the race and are 'Classified' in the order they finished the race. If a leader comes across a back marker who has completed fewer laps than him, the back marker is shown a blue flag telling him he is obliged to pull over to allow the leader to overtake him. The slower car is said to be 'lapped' and once the leader finishes the race is classified as finishing the race 'one lap down'. A driver can be lapped numerous times, by any car in front of him. A driver who fails to finish a race, through mechanical problems, accident or any other reason is said to have retired from the race and is 'Not Classified' in the results.

Throughout the race, drivers may make pit stops in order to refuel and change tyres. Different teams and drivers will employ different pit stop strategies in order to maximise their car's potential. There are two tyre compounds made available to drivers with different characteristics. Over the course of a race, drivers must use both available tyre compounds. One compound will have a performance advantage over the other and choosing when to use which compound is a key tactical decision to make. The softer of the available tyre compounds are marked with a green stripe on the tyre's sidewall to help spectators to understand the strategies. Under wet conditions drivers may switch to specialised wet weather tyres with additional grooves, and are no longer obliged to use both types of dry tyres. Typically, a driver will make between one and three scheduled stops, although he may have to make further stops to fix damage or if weather conditions change.

Safety Car
In the event of an incident that risks the safety of competitors or trackside marshals, race officials may chose to deploy the Safety Car. This in effect neutralizes the race, with drivers following the Safety Car around the track in race order and at reduced speeds with overtaking not permitted. The safety car circulates until the danger is cleared when the race will restart with a 'rolling start'. Pit stops are permitted under the Safety Car.
Red Flag
In the event of a major incident or unsafe weather conditions, the race may be red flagged. Depending on the race distance covered at the time of the red flag, this can have several meanings:
* If under 3 laps have been completed, the race is restarted from original grid positions. All drivers may take the restart, provided their car is in a fit state to do so.
* If between 3 laps and 75% of the race distance have been completed, the race may be restarted once it is safe to do so using the race order at the time of the red flag. The two hour time limit still applies and the clock does not stop.
* If more than 75% of the race distance has been completed then the race is finished and the race result counted back to the second last completed lap before the red flag.

The format of the Race has changed little through Formula One's history. The main changes have revolved around what changes are allowed at Pit Stops. In the early days of Grand Prix racing, a driver would be allowed to continue a race in his teammates car should his develop a problem. In recent years however, the focus has been on refuelling and tyre-changes. From the 2010 season, refuelling will be banned to encourage less tactical racing, having only been re-introduced in 1994 following safety fears. The rule requiring both compounds of tyre to be used during the race was only introduced in 2008, again to encourage racing on the track. The Safety Car is another relatively recent innovation that meant fewer red flags were required, allowing races to be completed on time for a growing international live television audience.

Points system

Points awarded for finishing position
Place Points
1st 10
2nd 8
3rd 6
4th 5
5th 4
6th 3
7th 2
8th 1

Various systems for awarding championship points have been used since 1950. In 2009, the top eight cars are awarded points, the winner receiving 10 points. The total number of points won at each race are added together and the driver and constructor with the most points at the end of the season are World Champions. If both a team's cars finish in the points, they both receive Constructors Championship points, meaning the Drivers and Constructors Championships often have different results.

To receive points a racer must be Classified. Strictly speaking in order to be Classified a driver need not finish the race, but complete at least 90% of the winner's race distance. Therefore, it is possible for a driver to receive some points even though he retired before the end of the race.

In the event that less than 75% of the race laps are completed, only half points are awarded to the drivers and constructors. This has happened on only five occasions in the history of the championship, with the last occurrence at the 2009 Malaysian Grand Prix when the race was called off after 31 laps due to torrential rain.

A driver can switch teams during the season and keep any points gained at the previous team.

From 2010, it is possible that the winner of the two annual championships may be the driver with the most wins and the team with the most points at the end of the season. In the case of a tie in wins, the drivers' championship would be awarded to the driver having the higher number of points; if these are equal, second place finishes are considered, and so on. The scoring system whereby the driver with the most wins (as opposed to most accumulated points) becomes world champion was due to be introduced for the 2009 season; however following protests from F1 teams and drivers this rule change has been deferred until a possible 2010 introduction. The points system therefore remains unchanged for 2009.


Ferrari have competed in every season, and hold the record for most titles
The McLaren team won all but one race in with Honda as its engine partner, and remains a championship contender in the present day

Since 1981, Formula One teams have been required to build the chassis in which they compete, and consequently the terms "team" and "constructor" became more or less interchangeable. This requirement distinguishes the sport from series such as the IndyCar Series which allows teams to purchase chassis, and "spec series" such as GP2, which require all cars be kept to an identical specification. It also effectively prohibits privateer, which were common even in Formula One well into the 1970s.

The sport's 1950 debut season saw eighteen teams compete, but due to high costs many dropped out quickly. In fact, such was the scarcity of competitive cars for much of the first decade of Formula One that Formula Two cars were admitted to fill the grids. Ferrari is the only still-active team which competed in 1950.

Early manufacturer involvement came in the form of a "factory team" or "works team" (that is, one owned and staffed by a major car company), such as those of Alfa Romeo, Ferrari or Renault. After having virtually disappeared by the early 1980s, factory teams made a comeback in the 1990s and 2000s and now form half the grid with Ferrari, BMW, Renault, Toyota and Honda either setting up their own teams or buying out existing ones. Mercedes-Benz owns 40% of the McLaren team and manufactures the team's engines. Factory teams currently make up the top competitive teams; in 2008 wholly owned factory teams took four of the top five positions in the Constructors' Championship, and McLaren took the other. Ferrari holds the record for having won the most Constructors' Championships (fifteen).

Companies such as Climax, Repco, Cosworth, Hart, Judd and Supertec, which had no direct team affiliation, often sold engines to teams that could not afford to manufacture them. In the early years independently owned Formula One teams sometimes also built their engines, though this became less common with the increased involvement of major car manufacturers such as BMW, Ferrari, Honda, Mercedes-Benz, Renault and Toyota, whose large budgets rendered privately built engines less competitive. Cosworth was the last independent engine supplier, but lost its last customers after the 2006 season. Beginning in 2007, the manufacturers' deep pockets and engineering ability took over, eliminating the last of the independent engine manufacturers. It is estimated that the big teams spend €100 to €200 million ($125–$250 million) per year per manufacturer on engines alone.

In the 2007 season, for the first time since the 1984 rule, two teams used chassis built by other teams. Super Aguri started the season using a modified Honda Racing's RA106 chassis (used by Honda in the 2006 season), while Scuderia Toro Rosso used a modified Red Bull Racing RB3 chassis (same as the one used by Red Bull in the 2007 season). Such a decision did not come as a surprise because of spiraling costs and the fact that Super Aguri is partially owned by Honda and Toro Rosso is half owned by Red Bull. Formula One team Spyker raised a complaint against this decision, and other teams such as McLaren and Ferrari have officially confirmed that they support the campaign. Because of this use of other teams' chassis, the 2006 season could have been the last one in which the terms "team" and "constructor" were truly interchangeable. This attracted the Prodrive team to F1 to the 2008 season, where it intended to run a customer car. After not being able to secure a package from McLaren, Prodrive's intention to enter the 2008 season was dropped after Williams threatened legal action against them. Now, it seems that customer cars concept will be formally banned in 2010.

Although teams rarely disclose information about their budgets, it is estimated that they range from US$66 million to US$400 million each.

Entering a new team in the Formula One World Championship requires a £25 million (about US$47 million) up-front payment to the FIA, which is then repaid to the team over the course of the season. As a consequence, constructors desiring to enter Formula One often prefer to buy an existing team: B.A.R.'s purchase of Tyrrell and Midland's purchase of Jordan allowed both of these teams to sidestep the large deposit and secure the benefits that the team already had, such as TV revenue.


The Formula One Drivers' Trophy

Modern drivers are contracted to a team for at least the duration of the season, but drivers are often fired or even swapped during the course of a season. Although most drivers earn their seat on ability, commercial considerations also come into play with teams having to satisfy sponsors and suppliers. Most teams also have a spare driver, whom they bring to race weekends, in case of injury or illness to a main driver. All competitors must be possession of a FIA Super Licence.

Each driver is assigned a number. The previous season's champion is designated number 1, with his team-mate given number 2. Numbers are then assigned in order according to each team's position in the previous season's constructors' championship. The number 13 is not used.

There have been exceptions to this rule, such as in 1993 and 1994, when the current World Drivers' Champion (Nigel Mansell and Alain Prost, respectively) was no longer competing in Formula One. In this case the drivers for the team of the previous year's champion are given numbers 0 (Damon Hill, on both occasions) and 2 (Prost himself and Ayrton Senna—replaced after his death by David Coulthard and occasionally Nigel Mansell–respectively). The number 13 has not been used since 1976, before which it was occasionally assigned at the discretion of individual race organisers. Before 1996, only the world championship winning driver and his team generally swapped numbers with the previous champion–the remainder held their numbers from prior years, as they had been originally set at the start of the 1974 season. For many years, for example, Ferrari held numbers 27 and 28, regardless of their finishing position in the world championship.

Jochen Rindt is the only posthumous World Champion after his points total was not overhauled despite his fatal accident at the 1970 Italian Grand Prix.

Michael Schumacher holds the record for having won the most Drivers' Championships, with seven.

Feeder series

GP2, the main feeder series for F1

Most F1 drivers start in kart racing competitions, and then come up through traditional European single seater series like Formula Ford and Formula Renault to Formula 3, and finally the GP2 Series. GP2 started in 2005, replacing Formula 3000, which itself had replaced Formula Two as the last major "stepping stone" into F1. Most champions from this level graduate into F1, but 2006 GP2 champion Lewis Hamilton became the first F2, F3000 or GP2 champion to win the Formula One driver's title in 2008. Drivers are not required to have competed at this level before entering Formula One. British F3 has supplied many F1 drivers, with champions including Nigel Mansell, Ayrton Senna and Mika Häkkinen having moved straight from that series to Formula One. More rarely a driver may be picked from an even lower level, as was the case with 2007 World Champion Kimi Räikkönen, who went straight from Formula Renault to F1.

American Championship Car Racing has also contributed to the Formula One grid with mixed results. CART Champions Mario Andretti and Jacques Villeneuve became F1 World Champions. Other CART or ChampCar Champions, like Michael Andretti and Cristiano da Matta won no races in F1. Other drivers have taken different paths to F1; Damon Hill raced motorbikes, and Michael Schumacher raced in sports cars, albeit after climbing through the junior single seater ranks. To race, however, the driver must hold an FIA Super Licence–ensuring that the driver has the requisite skills, and will not therefore be a danger to others. Some drivers have not had the license when first signed to a F1 team; Räikkönen received the license despite having only 23 car races to his credit.

Beyond F1

Most F1 drivers retire in their mid to late 30s; however, many keep racing in disciplines which are less physically demanding. The German touring car championship, the DTM, is a popular category involving ex-drivers such as two-times F1 champion Mika Häkkinen, Ralf Schumacher and Jean Alesi, and some F1 drivers have left to race in America – Nigel Mansell and Emerson Fittipaldi duelled for the 1993 CART title, Juan Pablo Montoya and Scott Speed have moved to NASCAR. Some drivers have gone to A1GP (Vitantonio Liuzzi), (Narain Karthikeyan), and some, such as Gerhard Berger and Alain Prost, returned to F1 as team owners. A series for former Formula One drivers, called Grand Prix Masters, ran briefly in 2005 and 2006. Others have become pundits for TV coverage such as Martin Brundle for ITV (and subsequently BBC) and Jean Alesi for Italian national network RAImarker and David Coulthard for the BBC. Others, such as Damon Hill and Jackie Stewart take active roles in motorsport in their own countries.

Grands Prix

The number of Grands Prix held in a season has varied over the years. Only seven races comprised the inaugural world championship season; over the years the calendar has almost tripled in size. Though the number of races had stayed at sixteen or seventeen since the 1980s, it reached nineteen in .

Six of the original seven races took place in Europe; the only non-European race that counted towards the World Championship in 1950 was the Indianapolis 500marker, which, due to lack of participation by F1 teams, since it required cars with different specifications from the other races, was later replaced by the United States Grand Prix. The F1 championship gradually expanded to other non-European countries as well. Argentina hosted the first South American grand prix in 1953, and Moroccomarker hosted the first African World Championship race in . Asia (Japanmarker in ) and Oceania (Australia in ) followed. The current seventeen races are spread over the continents of Europe, Asia, Oceania and South America.
Traditionally each nation has hosted a single Grand Prix, which carries the name of the country. If a single country hosts multiple Grands Prix in a year they receive different names. For instance, a European country (such as Britain, Germany or Spain) which has hosted two Grands Prix has the second one known as the European Grand Prixmarker, while Italy's second grand prixmarker was named after nearby republic of San Marinomarker. Similarly, as two races were scheduled in Japan in / , the second event was known as the Pacific Grand Prix. In , the United Statesmarker hosted three Grands Prix.

The Grands Prix, some of which have a history that pre-dates the Formula One World Championship, are not always held on the same circuit every year. The British Grand Prixmarker, for example, though held every year since 1950, alternated between Brands Hatchmarker and Silverstonemarker from 1963 to 1986. The only other race to have been included in every season is the Italian Grand Prixmarker. The World Championship event has taken place exclusively at Monzamarker with just one exception: in 1980, it was held at Imolamarker, host to the San Marino Grand Prixmarker until .

One of the newest races on the Grand Prix calendar, held in Bahrain, represents Formula One's first foray into the Middle East with a high-tech purpose-built desert track. The Bahrain Grand Prixmarker, and other new races in Chinamarker and Turkeymarker, present new opportunities for the growth and evolution of the Formula One Grand Prix franchise while new facilities also raise the bar for other Formula One racing venues around the world. In order to make room on the schedule for the newer races, older or less successful events in Europe and the Americas have been dropped from the calendar, such as these in Argentina, Austria, Mexico, San Marino, and the United States.

In 2007 it was confirmed that new Grands Prix would be added to the calendar. The first was the Singapore Grand Prix in September 2008, which had the honour of the first night race ever held in Formula One. The second was the Indian Grand Prix which will be held in Delhimarker, Indiamarker. Other changes included the removal of the United States Grand Prix from the calendar, and the move of the European Grand Prixmarker to Valencia, Spainmarker.


A typical circuit usually features a stretch of straight road on which the starting grid is situated. The pit lane, where the drivers stop for fuel and tyres during the race, and where the teams work on the cars before the race, is normally located next to the starting grid. The layout of the rest of the circuit varies widely, although in most cases the circuit runs in a clockwise direction. Those few circuits that run anticlockwise (and therefore have predominantly left-handed corners) can cause drivers neck problems due to the enormous lateral forces generated by F1 cars pulling their heads in the opposite direction to normal.

Most of the circuits currently in use are specially constructed for competition. The current street circuits are Monacomarker, Melbournemarker, Valenciamarker, and Singapore, although races in other urban locations come and go (Las Vegas and Detroitmarker, for example) and proposals for such races are often discussed–most recently Londonmarker and Parismarker. Several other circuits are also completely or partially laid out on public roads, such as Spa-Francorchampsmarker. The glamour and history of the Monaco race are the primary reasons why the circuit is still in use, since it is thought not to meet the strict safety requirements imposed on other tracks. Three-time World champion Nelson Piquet famously described racing in Monaco as "like riding a bicycle around your living room" .

Circuit design to protect the safety of drivers is becoming increasingly sophisticated, as exemplified by the new Bahrain International Circuitmarker, added in and designed – like most of F1's new circuits – by Hermann Tilke. Several of the new circuits in F1, especially those designed by Tilke, have been criticised as lacking the "flow" of such classics as Spa-Francorchamps and Imola. His redesign of the Hockenheim circuit in Germany for example, while providing more capacity for grandstands and eliminating extremely long and dangerous straights, has been frowned upon by many who argue that part of the character of the Hockenheim circuits was the long and blinding straights into dark forest sections. These newer circuits, however, are generally agreed to meet the safety standards of modern Formula One better than the older ones.

The most recent additions to the F1 calendar are Valenciamarker , Singapore, and Abu Dhabimarker. A Formula 1 Grand Prix will be held in Indiamarker for the first time in .

A single race requires hotel rooms to accommodate at least 5000 visitors. [1337]

Cars and technology

Modern Formula One cars are mid-engined open cockpit, open wheel single-seaters. The chassis is made largely of carbon fibre composites, rendering it light but extremely stiff and strong. The whole car, including engine, fluids and driver, weighs only 605 kg (1334 lb) — the minimum weight set by the regulations. The construction of the cars is typically lighter than the minimum and so they are ballasted up to the minimum weight. The race teams take advantage of this by placing this ballast at the extreme bottom of the chassis, thereby locating the centre of gravity as low as possible in order to improve handling and weight transfer.

The cornering speed of Formula One cars is largely determined by the aerodynamic downforce that they generate, which pushes the car down onto the track. This is provided by 'wings' mounted at the front and rear of the vehicle, and by ground effect created by low pressure air under the flat bottom of the car. The aerodynamic design of the cars is very heavily constrained to limit performance and the current generation of cars sport a large number of small winglets, 'barge boards' and turning vanes designed to closely control the flow of the air over, under and around the car.

The other major factor controlling the cornering speed of the cars is the design of the tyres. From to , the tyres in Formula One were not 'slicks' (tyres with no tread pattern) as in most other circuit racing series. Instead, each tyre had four large circumferential grooves on its surface designed to limit the cornering speed of the cars. Slick tyres returned to Formula One in the season. Suspension is double wishbone or multilink all round with pushrod operated springs and dampers on the chassis. The only exception being on that of the 2009 specification Red Bull Racing car (RB5) which uses pullrod suspension at the rear, the first car in over 20 years to do so.

Carbon-Carbon disc brakes are used for reduced weight and increased frictional performance. These provide a very high level of braking performance and are usually the element which provokes the greatest reaction from drivers new to the formula.

Engines must be 2.4 litre normally aspirated V8s, with many other constraints on their design and the materials that may be used. Engines run on unleaded fuel closely resembling publicly available petrol. The oil which lubricates and protects the engine from overheating is very similar in viscosity to water. The 2006 generation of engines spun up to 20,000 RPM and produced up to . For engines were restricted to 19,000 RPM with limited development areas allowed, following the engine specification freeze from the end of . For the 2009 Formula One season the engines have been further restricted to 18,000 RPM.

A wide variety of technologies – including active suspension, ground effect, and turbochargers – are banned under the current regulations. Despite this the current generation of cars can reach speeds up to at some circuits. A Honda Formula One car, running with minimum downforce on a runway in the Mojave desert achieved a top speed of in 2006. According to Honda the car fully met the FIA Formula One regulations. Even with the limitations on aerodynamics, at aerodynamically generated downforce is equal to the weight of the car, and the oft-repeated claim that Formula One cars create enough downforce to "drive on the ceiling", while possible in principle, has never been put to the test. Downforce of 2.5 times the car's weight can be achieved at full speed. The downforce means that the cars can achieve a lateral force with a magnitude of up to 3.5 times that of the force of gravity (3.5g) in cornering. A high-performance road car like the Ferrari Enzo only achieves around 1g. Consequently the driver's head is pulled sideways with a force equivalent to the weight of 20 kg in corners. Such high lateral forces are enough to make breathing difficult and the drivers need supreme concentration and fitness to maintain their focus for the one to two hours that it takes to complete the race.

Revenue and profits

Estimated budget split of an F1 team based on the season.

Formula 1 is profitable for most parties involved — TV channels make profits from broadcasting the races, and teams get a slice of the money from the sale of broadcasting rights and from the sponsor's logos on their cars.

The cost of building a brand new permanent circuit like that in Shanghai, China can be up to hundreds of millions of dollars, while the cost of converting a public road, such as Albert Parkmarker, into a temporary circuit is much less. Permanent circuits, however, can generate revenue all year round from leasing the track for private races and other races, such as MotoGP. The Shanghai circuit cost over $300 million. The owners are hoping to break-even by 2014. The Istanbul Parkmarker circuit cost $150 million to build.

Not all circuits make profits – Albert Park, for example, lost $32 million in 2007.

In March, 2007 F1 Racing published its annual estimates of spending by Formula One teams. The total spending of all eleven teams in 2006 was estimated at $2.9 billion US. This was broken down as follows; Toyota $418.5 million, Ferrari $406.5 m, McLaren $402 m, Honda $380.5 m, BMW Sauber $355 m, Renault $324 m, Red Bull $252 m, Williams $195.5 m, Midland F1/Spyker-MF1 $120 m, Toro Rosso $75 m, and Super Aguri $57 million.

Costs vary greatly from team to team. Honda, Toyota, McLaren-Mercedes, and Ferrari are estimated to have spent approximately $200 million on engines in 2006, Renault spent approximately $125 million and Cosworth's 2006 V8 was developed for $15 million. In contrast to the 2006 season on which these figures are based, the 2007 sporting regulations ban all performance related engine development.


Formula One went through a difficult period in the early 2000s. Viewing figures dropped, and fans expressed their loss of interest due to the dominance of Michael Schumacher and Scuderia Ferrari. Viewing figures are seeing some signs of recovery due to the varied seasons since . Ferrari's and Schumacher's 5 year domination ended in 2005 as Renault became the top team in Formula One, with Fernando Alonso becoming the new (and youngest ever at the time) World Champion. There has since been a resurgence of interest in the sport, especially in Alonso's home country of Spain, and Lewis Hamilton's home country of Great Britain. In 2006, twenty-two teams applied for the final twelfth team spot available for the 2008 season. The spot was eventually awarded to former B.A.R. and Benetton team principal David Richards' Prodrive organization, but the team pulled out of the 2008 season in November 2007.

The FIA is responsible for making rules to combat the spiralling costs of Formula One racing (which affects the smaller teams the most) and for ensuring the sport remains as safe as possible, especially in the wake of the deaths of Roland Ratzenberger and Ayrton Senna in . To this end the FIA have instituted a number of rule changes, including new tyre restrictions, multi-race engines, and reductions on downforce. Safety and cost have traditionally been paramount in all rule-change discussions. More recently the FIA has added efficiency to its priorities. Currently the FIA and manufacturers are discussing adding bio-fuel engines and regenerative braking for the 2011 season. FIA President Max Mosley believes F1 must focus on efficiency to stay technologically relevant in the automotive industry as well as keep the public excited about F1 technology.

In the interest of making the sport truer to its role as a World Championship, FOM president Bernie Ecclestone has initiated and organised a number of Grands Prix in new countries and continues to discuss new future races. The sport's rapid expansion into new areas of the globe also leaves some question as to which races will be cut.


Formula One can be seen live or tape delayed in almost every country and territory around the world and attracts one of the largest global television audiences. The 2008 season attracted a global audience of 600 million people per race. It is a massive television event; the cumulative television audience was calculated to be 54 billion for 2001 season, broadcast to two hundred countries.

During the early 2000s, Formula One Administration created a number of trademarks, an official logo, and an official website for the sport in an attempt to give it a corporate identity. Ecclestone experimented with a digital television package (known colloquially as Bernievision), which was launched at the 1996 German Grand Prix in cooperation with German digital television service "DF1", thirty years after the first GP colour TV broadcast, the 1967 German Grand Prix. This service offered the viewer several simultaneous feeds (such as super signal, onboard, top of field, backfield, highlights, pit lane, timing), which were produced with cameras, technical equipment and staff different from those used for the conventional coverage. It was introduced in many countries over the years, but was shut down after the 2002 season for financial reasons.

TV stations all take what is known as the 'World Feed', either produced by the FOM (Formula One Management) or, occasionally, the 'host broadcaster'. The only station that originally differed from this was 'Premiere' — a German channel which offers all sessions live and interactive, with features such as the onboard channel. This service was more widely available around Europe until the end of 2002, when the cost of a whole different feed for the digital interactive services was thought too much. This was in large part because of the failure of the 'F1 Digital +' Channel launched through Sky Digital in the United Kingdom. Prices were too high for viewers, considering they could watch both the qualifying and the races themselves free on ITV.

However, upon the commencement of its coverage for the 2009 season, the BBC reintroduced complementary features such as "red button" in-car camera angles, multiple soundtracks (broadcast commentary, CBBC commentary for children, or ambient sound only) and a rolling highlights package. Different combinations of these features are available across the various digital platforms (Freeview, Freesat, Sky Digital, Virgin Media cable and the BBC F1 web site) prior to, during and after the race weekend - not all services are available across all the various platforms due to technical constraints. The BBC also broadcasts a post-race programme called "F1 Forum" on the digital terrestrial platforms' "red button" interactive services.

Bernie Ecclestone had announced that F1 would adopt the HD format near the end of the 2007 season. A subsequent announcement in early 2008 claimed that the BBC would be broadcasting F1 for five years starting in 2009, regaining the rights from ITV who had been broadcasting it since 1997. However, on 31 December 2008, Roger Mosey, Director of BBC Sport announced that F1 would not be broadcast on BBC HD because "no HD world feed is available".

Other media

Formula 1 has an extensive web following, with most major TV companies covering it such as the BBC. The Formula 1 website is the official website for Formula One, and has a live timing Java applet that can be used during the race to keep up with the leaderboard in real time. Recently an official application has been made available in the iTunes App Store that allows iPhone / iPod Touch users to see a real time feed of driver positions, timing and commentary.

Distinction between Formula One and World Championship races

Currently the terms "Formula One race" and "World Championship race" are effectively synonymous; since 1984, every Formula One race has counted towards the World Championship, and every World Championship race has been to Formula One regulations. But the two terms are not interchangeable. Consider that:
  • the first Formula One race was held in 1947, whereas the World Championship did not start until 1950.
  • in the 1950s and 1960s there were many Formula One races which did not count for the World Championship (e.g., in 1950, a total of twenty-two Formula One races were held, of which only six counted towards the World Championship). The number of non-championship Formula One events decreased throughout the 1970s and 1980s, to the point where the last non-championship Formula One race was held in 1983.
  • the World Championship was not always exclusively composed of Formula One events:
    • The World Championship was originally established as the "World Championship for Drivers", i.e., without the term "Formula One" in the title. It only officially became the Formula One World Championship in 1981.
    • From 1950 to 1960, the Indianapolis 500marker counted towards the World Championship. This race was run to AAA/USAC regulations, rather than to Formula One regulations. Only one of the world championship regulars, Alberto Ascari in 1952, competed at Indianapolis during this period.
    • From 1952 to 1953, all races counting towards the World Championship (except the Indianapolis 500) were run to Formula Two regulations. Formula One was not "changed to Formula Two" during this period; the Formula One regulations remained the same, and numerous Formula One races were staged during this time.

The distinction is most relevant when considering career summaries and "all time lists". For example, in the List of Formula One drivers, Clemente Biondetti is shown with 1 race against his name. Biondetti actually competed in four Formula One races in 1950, but only one of these counted for the World Championship. Similarly, several Indy 500 winners technically won their first world championship race, though most record books choose to ignore this and instead only record regular participants.

The most recent example of a "Formula One race" not being a "World Championship race" very nearly occurred at the 2005 United States Grand Prix. 14 of the 20 drivers ended up not racing due to problems with their Michelin tyres, and Max Mosley's refusal to find a suitable solution to the problem left 9 of the ten teams in agreement about hosting a non championship race. It was only because of Ferrari's refusal to go with these plans that this alternative failed to take place, although it was stated that Mosley had informed Mr Martin, the FIA's most senior representative in the USA, that if any kind of non-championship race was run, or any alteration made to the circuit, the US Grand Prix, and indeed, all FIA-regulated motorsport in the US, would be under threat". On the same day that Stoddart's version of events was published, the FIA issued a statement denying that Mosley had made the reported threat or that any such conversation had taken place.

See also


  1. The Ferguson P99, a four-wheel drive design, was the last front-engined F1 car to enter a world championship race. It was entered in the 1961 British Grand Prix, the only front-engined car to compete that year.
  2. Roebuck, Nigel "Power struggles and techno wars" Sunday Times 1993-03-07
  3. BMW's performance at the Italian GP is the highest qualifying figure given in Bamsey. The estimate is from Heini Mader, who maintained the engines for the Benetton team. It should be noted that maximum power figures from this period are necessarily estimates; BMW's dynamometer, for example, was only capable of measuring up to . Figures higher than this are estimated from engine plenum pressure readings. Power in race trim at that time was lower than for qualifying due to the need for greater reliability and fuel efficiency during the race.
  4. It follows Dan Gurney's Eagle as only the second U.S. team in F1.
  5. "Max Mosley makes dramatic U-turn over his future as FIA president", "The Telegraph", June 26 2009.
  6. "Furious Max Mosley hits back at Fota's chairman Luca di Montezemolo", "The Guardian", June 26 2009.
  8. Formula 1 : News Cosworth -
  9. Jack Brabham, F1 champion in 1959, 1960 and 1966, won the French Formula Two championship in 1966, but there was no international F2 championship that year.
  10. Indianapolis Motor Speedway
  11. Singapore the big winner in first night Grand
  12. The Official Formula 1 Website: FIA announces provisional 2009 Formula One calendar
  13. The Official Formula 1 Website: India to host first Grand Prix in Greater Noida in 2011
  14. Renault F1 engine listing [1]. Retrieved 1 June 2007.
  15. Grand Prix of Italy Retrieved 12 October 2006.
  16. Challenge Alan [2]. Retrieved 20 January 2007.
  17. Ferrari Enzo Retrieved 15 March 2007.
  18. "The real cost of F1" F1 Racing (March 2007) Haymarket Publishing
  19. BBC Sports, F1 viewing figures drop, 26 February 2002. Retrieved on 10 March 2007. The cumulative figure, which exceeds the total population of the planet by many times, counts all viewers who watch F1 on any programme at any time during the year.

Further reading

  • Arron, Simon & Hughes, Mark (2003). The Complete Book of Formula One. Motorbooks International. ISBN 0-7603-1688-0.
  • "FIA Archive". (2004). Federation Internationale de l'Automobile. Retrieved 25 October 2004.
  • "Formula One Regulations". (2004). Federation Internationale de l'Automobile. Retrieved 23 October 2004.
  • Gross, Nigel et al. (1999). "Grand Prix Motor Racing". In, 100 Years of Change: Speed and Power (pp. 55–84). Parragon.
  • Hayhoe, David & Holland, David (2006). Grand Prix Data Book (4th edition). Haynes, Sparkford, UK. ISBN 1-84425-223-X.
  • Higham, Peter (2003). The international motor racing guide. David Bull, Phoenix, AZ, USA. ISBN 1-893618-20-X.
  • "Insight". (2004). The Official Formula 1 Website. Retrieved 25 October 2004.
  • Jones, Bruce (1997). The Ultimate Encyclopedia of Formula One. Hodder & Stoughton.
  • Jones, Bruce (1998). Formula One: The Complete Stats and Records of Grand Prix Racing. Parragon.
  • Jones, Bruce (2003). The Official ITV Sport Guide: Formula One Grand Prix 2003. Carlton. Includes foreword by Martin Brundle. ISBN 1-84222-813-7.
  • Jones, Bruce (2005). The Guide to 2005 FIA Formula One World Championship : The World's Bestselling Grand Prix Guide]. Carlton. ISBN 1-84442-508-8.
  • Lang, Mike (1981–1992). Grand Prix! volumes 1–4. Haynes, Sparkford, UK.
  • Menard, Pierre (2006). The Great Encyclopedia of Formula 1, 5th edition. Chronosport, Switzerland. ISBN 2-84707-051-6
  • Miltner, Harry (2007). Race Travel Guide 2007. egoth: Vienna, Austria. ISBN 978-3-902480-34-7
  • Small, Steve (2000). Grand Prix Who's Who (3rd edition). Travel Publishing, UK. ISBN 1-902007-46-8.
  • Tremayne, David & Hughes, Mark (1999). The Concise Encyclopedia of Formula One. Parragon

External links

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