The thrill, the speed, the technology, the enthusiasm, the tension, the strategy, the sweet smell of success. All these can only be connected to perhaps one sport in the world-Formula 1- The king of motorsports. The second most watched sport in the world only next to football. For those who are not very familiar with the intricacies of the sport (Indians are still coming to terms with it and hopefully we will see a 2011 Indian Grand Prix), let me explain. It is like any other race- there are cars and whoever crosses the finish line first is the winner!
Formula 1(F1) first began in the early 1950s and was an instant success but the roots of F1 are far earlier, tracing to the pioneering road races in France in the 1890s, through the Edwardian years, the bleak twenties, the German domination of the 1930s and the early post-war years of Italian supremacy. At the birth of racing, cars were upright and heavy, roads were tarred sand or wood, reliability was problematic, drivers were accompanied by mechanics, and races — usually on public roads from town to town — were impossibly long by modern standards. The road race from Paris to Bordeaux was the first proper motor race 1200 km. long held as early as 1895.
The F1 calendar today consists of 17-18 races spread over a period of around 9 months. The races take place on a Sunday either in the morning or evening every two-three weeks. The line up grid consists of close to 22-26 cars and of course the aim is to win. In the end the driver and team with the most points win the Driver’s and Constructor’s Championship respectively. In each race points are given up to position ten with the winner getting twenty five points in a new scoring format that will be introduced this year.
Some of the great drivers that have been a part of this illustrious sport include Sir Jackie Stewart, Alain Prost, the Late Ayrton Senna, Keke Rosberg, Enrico Fittipaldi, Michael Schumacher to mention a few Names. Teams like Ferrari, McLaren, Renault and Williams have been the consistent performers.
The speed and thrill which this sport provides enthralls not only the youth but all age groups. The technology that is used is incredible. The front wings, rear wings, double diffusers, carbon brakes gearboxes , the V8 engines are amongst the best in the world and this technology is then transferred to road cars. This sport is especially popular in Europe. However, in USA Indy Car Racing is still overshadowing it.
This year the 2010 season is going to be one of the most interesting in the sport’s long history. For the first time in decades four world champions will line up on the grid side by side. It also marks the return to professional racing of the God of F1 and personally my favourite , the one and only legendry Michael Schumacher after a gap of three years. Ironically, he will be competing against Ferrari, the team with which he won five world championships out of his seven as he will be driving for Mercedes. Imagine the four champions Lewis Hamilton, Jenson Button, Fernando Alonso and Michael Schumacher lining up on the grid. Imagine a three way fight between Ferrari, McLaren and Mercedes. This year will also mark the return of teams like Lotus, Virgin Racing and others to F1 who had left the sport in the mid-Nineties due to financial constraints. Now with cost cutting measures in place they are back. With no more refuelling allowed, night races becoming common, more cars on the grid, better drivers-the 2010 season is surely going to be roller coaster ride and no one can take their position for granted. No one, not even the legendry Michael Schumacher. So get ready for the ride of your life…..
[Image courtesy: http://www.flickr.com/photos/jonycunha/3907226140/]