top of page

Formula One is a thrilling motorsport

Sai Kolisetty

Staff Writer 

March 19, 2024



Do you like high-octane racing performed across twisty tight circuits with cars that have become a cultural icon? Then you might like Formula One, a high-level, single-seat, open-wheel motorsport that has risen to top watched sports across the globe. Although it seems engaging at first, many people don’t know the rules or how to get into it, leaving many people disappointed or scared to enter F1. Here’s a guide to the fast and furious world of Formula One racing.


To start, the sport currently has 10 teams and two drivers per team. These teams are usually car brands or privately owned racing teams. Each team has sponsors that help fund their team as well as a title sponsor. 


Formula One races also include teams such as Red Bull, McLaren, Williams, Mercedes, Ferrari, Alpine, VCARB, Kick Stake Sauber, Haas, and Aston Martin.  These teams span a wide variety of nationalities making F1 a truly international sport.  So far Red Bull, Ferrari, and Mercedes are the top contenders for the 2024 season.  


The teams race across circuits across the world and spend the majority of the year traveling. This year there are 24 circuits and each circuit has its own race weekend. 


The usual race weekend begins on Friday with Free practices one, two, and three. On Saturday, there is qualifying where drivers fight to put in fast times. The qualifying system has three sessions: Q1, Q2, Q3. Each Q session has a time limit and drivers try to put in good times. At the end of each session, the slowest drivers get knocked out and get their grid placement for the big race on Sunday. The faster the time, the higher the position. The driver with the fastest lap time gets first place for the Sunday race. Then on Sunday, the grand prix is held.  


However, there have been new changes since last season. Firstly, some race weekends are pushed to end by Saturday meaning that the GP will be on Saturday. Including races in Bahrain, Saudi Arabia,  and Las Vegas.


Races can also be held in a sprint weekend. Drivers will have a sprint qualifying and a sprint race similar to regular qualifying and regular GP. Viewers in America can watch most F1 races through ESPN. 


The rules are regulated by the FIA, a sports government that overlooks and sets rules for most international racing.  Including safety cars and race restarts, which are meant to regulate the speed and to bunch up the pack together. This safety car is used to give marshals (the safety crew) time to remove any dangerous material and is a vital part of the pit crew strategy for drivers.  If the track conditions get worse, the safety car directs all the cars to go into the pits and call a race restart. Then, when the race conditions are good, they will go do a formation lap and have a regular-style race start. To help the racers understand the conditions of the race certain flags are waved to alert drivers.


Flags are also often seen in racing with each color having a different significance as described below: 

F1 Car Equipment:



There are many types of tires a team can use.


Red tires- soft tires meant for speed but wear out quickly


Yellow tires-Medium tires meant for durability and speed


White tires- Hard tires meant for durability


Green tires- Intermediate tires meant for wet and damp conditions


Blue Tires- Extreme tires are meant for extreme rain.



Engines:


The 10 teams use a select few engines. Some engines are produced by the current teams and some teams buy those engines and they are known as customer teams.


Mercedes Engine- Used by Mercedes, Aston Martin, McLaren, and Williams


Honda Engine- Used by Red Bull and VCARB


Renault Engine- Used by Alpine


Ferrari Engine- Used by Ferrari, Haas, and Sauber


Top F1 stories from December 2023-February 2024


VCARB and Team Kick Sauber names unveiled


January 2024- Alpha Tauri, Red Bull’s junior team, was rebranded to the Visa cash app RB. This move was to make the junior team a sister team and equal to Red Bull. With part of the team moving to the Red Bull factory in Milton-Keynes, and a solid driver lineup of Daniel Ricciardo and Yuki Tsunoda, the team will definitely have a tight battle with the mid-field teams, mainly the problem-ridden, declining Alpine. 


Also in January of 2024, Alfa Romeo withdrew as the title sponsor of the Sauber team, allowing for Stake and Kick to become the title sponsors of the Sauber team. The team is continuing with Valtteri Bottas and Zhou Guanyu, two decent drivers. However, Bottas seems like he is at the end of his career and we may expect a retirement by the end of the year. Guanyu on the other hand, seems somewhat unlikely to continue as his sponsorship funds look shaky, potentially leaving Guanyu no option but to leave F1.


Team Kick Stake Sauber- Current drivers: Zhou Guanyu and Valtteri Bottas 

VCARB- Current Drivers: Yuki Tsunoda and Daniel Ricciardo. 

Alpine- Current Drivers: Pierre Gasly and Esteban Ocon.



Leclerc and Norris extending their contracts 


Charles Leclerc and Lando Norris, Ferrari's current number one driver, and Mclaren's number one driver, respectively, have signed contract extensions in late January 2024 to their respective companies. Personally, Lando Norris’ decision was a good choice as McLaren has started to make the right decisions to make their car better. With a lot of sponsors, a confirmed number one seat, and a great aero design, Lando’s decision would be great as McLaren looks to be dominant or challenge Red Bull.  However, Charles Leclerc will have some struggles as Ferrari’s inconsistency will not help him.


McLaren-Current Drivers: Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri.

Ferrari- Current drivers: Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz Jr. 



Hamilton’s move to Ferrari


On February 1, 2024, Lewis Hamilton, the number one driver at Mercedes, announced his move to Ferrari in 2025. This move will be interesting as Hamilton has ties with ex-McLaren team boss, Fred Vasseur. This will definitely create controversies almost to the extent of Alonso vs Hamilton of 2007 at McLaren. Whereas Alonso of 2007 and Hamilton of 2024 were the reigning champions of the time, and Hamilton of 2007 and Leclerc of 2024 are the golden children of the teams. 


Mercedes- Current drivers: Lewis Hamilton and George Russell. 



Livery rating and my thoughts


Red Bull- 2/10: too boring but zero side pod design will probably be interesting to watch

McLaren- 3/10: it's just an off-brand Duracell battery. Was disappointed the monster logo wasn’t on the livery

VCARB- 9/10: great colors, good throwback design, and good color scheme

Mercedes- 7.5/10: although the silver and black designs got mixed, I think they could have done it better. Overall interesting design and good colors

Alpine- 0/10: disappointing, too much carbon and a lot of hype for a huge letdown

Sauber- 0/10: Poor choice of neon, vomit green

Haas- 1/10: pretty boring but now Chipotle is now in F1

Aston Martin - 10/10: perfect balance of carbon to color and continued their shiny green 

Ferrari- 10/10: less carbon, more color, brought back the white and yellow. The car reminds me of the late '80s early '90s Ferrari F1 liveries

Williams- 8/10: good amount of color, nice outlines of white and red. 


Williams- Current Drivers: Alex Albon and Logan Sargeant.

Aston Martin- Current Drivers: Fernando Alonso and Lance Stroll 

Haas- Current Drivers: Kevin Magnussen and Nico Hulkenberg.



Monster x McLaren


In November of 2023, McLaren announced that they would be sponsoring McLaren at the start of the 2024 season. Personally, this was going to be interesting as I assumed this would have affected the livery. But when the official livery came out in January of 2024, I was disappointed that they did not implement the monster green on the logo. This was also quite amusing as McLaren during 2023 performed better in general performance with the Mercedes’ engine and now they have stolen Mercedes’ top sponsor.



Red Bull’s W13 side pod 


During the RB20’s unveiling, we saw the new side pod design of the new Red Bull F1 car. It was similar to the Mercedes’ W13 side pod as it was a zero-side pod design. This season will be an interesting season as Red Bull is trying to experiment with something new and potentially risky while the rest of the grid copies the RB19 and will allow for the grid to catch up and hopefully beat Red Bull. 


Red Bull- Current drivers: Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez.


Related terms:


Side pods- the two big air inlets next to the driver that are meant for aerodynamic and cooling purposes


Chassis- the exterior body of an F1 car


Slipstreaming- a driving tactic that helps the driver behind get a lot of air and speed from the driver at the front


Dirty air- air that comes from the driver in front that hinders the driver behind them. 


Andretti’s bid was rejected


Andretti, a racing team, made a bid to join F1 as the eleventh team. They planned to increase the American F1 demographic by being an American racing team and the team planned to use the Cadillac engine, an American engine. However, F1 management denied them at the end of January 2024. Even though the management provided reasons for this action, I believe that this was an attempt to keep new teams from entering F1 due to the Prize Pool. The Prize pool is the money given to teams depending on what position they got in the constructor’s championship. The higher the position, the more they get. If Andretti were to join the grid, it would divide up the prize pool even more, reducing how much a team would get.


Christian Horner’s scandal


On February 5th, Red Bull announced that the team principal, Christian Horner, was involved in a sexual harassment scandal. This promptly led to an investigation that has not seen a lot of updates. This brought some pressure to Red Bull as recently Ford, Red Bull’s future engine partner, publicly requested an end to this investigation. Personally, this investigation will mark the end of Red Bull dominance if Christian Horner gets fired, this would put the team into disarray. Alongside that, Adrian Newey is rumored to leave Red Bull and go to Ferrari. With the best team principal and best chief designer gone at Red Bull, this would lead to some troubles and issues with the team. 



I hope this guide will help you to start your journey in the world of Formula One racing. Although this isn’t the definitive guide to F1, this guide will help you (the reader) get into F1 racing and potentially other forms of motorsport.

Comentários


bottom of page