The season of speed, whizzing engines and mean machines is nigh. It’s a particularly exciting time, as Formula 1 has seen a couple of changes in its cars and bam! There’s a whole new dimension to the sport. Verve tells you all you need to know about racing.
1. Season Notes The F1 season begins in March and races are held till November. A total of 19 races constitute the whole season with the Australian, Malaysia, Bahrain, China and Spain GPs complete. Eleven 2-member teams participating including favourites Mercedes, Red Bull, Renault, McLaren, Ferrari and Lotus. There are two awards to be handed out at the end of every season – World Driver’s and World Constructor’s Champions.
2. Racing Tracks & Lewis Hamilton Since each track has a different lap distance, drivers race till they complete a distance exceeding 305km; the exception being the Monaco track wherein a compulsive 78 laps are completed. All that the driver stalls for is a change of tyres at his company pitstop. Hamilton committed racing hara-kiri in the Malaysian GP, 2013 when he stopped at his former team, McLaren’s pitstop instead of then-team Mercedes’, to which they slyly tweeted: ‘Feel free to pop in and say ‘Hi’ any time, @LewisHamilton!’ The fastest ever pitstop halt was recorded by Red Bull’s Mark Webber in 2013 at a record 1.932 seconds. What a quicksilver move!
3. Cars, Fuel and Going Green One of the many car changes include a lesser powerful engine – a 1.6 litre, V6 turbo charged one as opposed to the previous 2.4 litre, V8. (FYI – Even a Honda Civic is loaded with a V8 engine. You get the picture). Fuel is limited to 100kg per race as opposed to no limits earlier, nose height is reduced, minimum weight has been increased – all this for a greener season. It will greatly reduce environmental hazards while also improving efficiency. The sound is lowered too. Now that is a letdown for the fans who get a high from all that high-decibel noise.
4. Driver Domination Sebastian Vettel from Red Bull has been dominating the F1 scene since 4 years now and has the cost the sport many viewers, for who enjoys a one-man show? Having the best car (Red Bull cars have the advantage of 1 second per lap over every other car), he remained undefeated. It’s changing now, with edits in the overall format of the sport. Currently, Mercedes is leading with both Rosberg and Hamilton at the top. Red Bull is at a close second. Force India’s not doing so bad either with a Podium finish to their name. The drivers are still getting a hang of their new cars but Mercedes are touted as the favourites this year.
5. From Circuit de Monaco to Buddh International The best and most demanding track is the Circuit de Monaco in Monte Carlo. With the slowest turn on record, some of the fastest bends and multiple levels, this track fully tests the skills of the drivers. However, the breathtaking view of the waters and the riche air make it the most gorgeous circuit to race at. India has its very own track too – the Buddh International Circuit in UP. We attended the 2013 Indian GP and returned with an (almost) busted eardrum, more than a few unscrubbable layers of dirt and the biggest smile on our faces.
6. Rivalry There’s obviously rivalry among the teams and between team members. No one likes playing second fiddle; but there can be only one champion. Vettel defied orders and sped ahead of team-mate Webber to steal a victory at the Malaysian GP. In the 2002 Austrian GP, Barichello was asked to reduce his speed to allow Schumacher a win. The deal was done. Schumacher returned the favour later on in the season. Racing can be manipulated too!
7. Schumacher No piece about F1 racing can be written without a mention of Michael Schumacher. The greatest racer of all times, he has won a total of 7 Championship Trophies with five of them being consecutive wins. He retired for a brief while before entering the arena again in 2009 but with little luck. He is currently in a coma from a skiing-induced accident. His fans wait for him to wake up.
8. Accidents and Danger Racing comes not without its share of injuries. It can be quite a dangerous sport; especially when changes are made to the tracks or car. Possibly the most brutal accident was that of Ayrton Senna’s, in the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix. It was at the same track that his teammate was injured and Austrian driver Roland Ratzenberger met his death. It was one of the darkest days for F1. A fitting tribute to the legend was done by Top Gear in its 15th season.
9. Cinema and racing There’s 1966 film Grand Prix. Also, Disney movies Lovebug and the one about junior drag racing, Right On Track. Both were adorable and stuff that wholly entertaining films are made of. The most recent one was Rush, about the exciting rivalry between drivers Niki Lauda and James Hunt. A gripping entertainer.
The next race is the Grande Prix de Monte Carlo on May 25, 2015. Mark your calendars! We’ll definitely be watching it live.
Want more sports lowdown? Read our notes on tennis this year and the International Tennis Premier League coming to India.
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