SAN ANTONIO – Formula 1 is exploding in popularity in America, thanks in large part to the Netflix series Formula 1: Drive to Survive. The globe-spanning series, which has held over 1,000 grands prix since its inception in 1950, is widely regarded as the pinnacle of global motorsports. With that in mind, here are some fast facts about the world’s most popular racing series.
1. Formula 1 cars can go from 0-60 mph in 2.6 seconds.
According to Autosport.com, Formula 1 cars are among the fastest in the world, thanks in large part to the sophisticated aerodynamics that help the car stay “glued” to the ground at high speed. The fastest an F1 car has ever gone is 246.9 mph (397.36 km/h), achieved in a special test by Honda at the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah in 2006.
2. Formula 1 cars can generate enough downforce to theoretically drive upside down.
Though it likely will never be tested in real life due to safety concerns, f1chronicle.com reports that with a few modifications, an F1 car could be driven on the roof of a tunnel, as they can generate as much as five Gs of downforce, meaning that the force causes the car to act as if it weighs five times as much as it actually does.
3. Formula 1 cars cost millions of dollars to build.
The true cost to build a Formula 1 car is a closely guarded secret. However, we do know that the Federation Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA), Formula 1’s governing body, has placed a cost cap of $140 million on the teams for the 2022 season. This cost cap, first implemented at $145 million in 2021, is intended to shrink the spending gap between the bigger and smaller teams. Along with several new regulations (including new rules for car design), it is hoped that this will create closer racing.
4. The 2022 Formula 1 schedule had the most races ever.
Prior to the cancellation of the Russian Grand Prix, the 2022 schedule had 23 races, one more than the previous record of 22, which was set last year. The season began in Bahrain on Mar. 20 and will conclude in Abu Dhabi on Nov. 20, with stops in locales such as Italy and Japan along the way.
5. In 2022, F1 will host multiple races in the US for the first time since 1984.
Formula 1 is growing rapidly in popularity in the United States, with gpblog.com reporting that viewership Stateside was up 56% in 2021 for an average of 946,000 viewers per race. With that in mind, F1 owner Liberty Media has scheduled a brand-new race around Hard Rock Stadium in Miami on the weekend of May 8th. The traditional United States Grand Prix, held at Circuit of the Americas in Austin, will be run on Oct. 23rd.
6. Formula 1 races are a minimum of 305 kilometers (about 190 miles) in length.
According to the 2022 Formula 1 Sporting Regulations, the minimum distance of a Grand Prix is “the least number of complete laps that exceed a distance of 305 km” or the end of the lap following a two-hour period, whichever comes first. There are two exceptions: if the race is suspended, the total time allotment is increased to three hours, and at Monaco, the shortest track on the calendar, the race distance is shortened to 260 km (about 162 miles).
7. The longest track in F1 is the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium.
Measuring just over 7 km (about 4.35 miles), the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps in the Ardennes region of Belgium is F1’s longest track, with a race distance of 44 laps. In contrast, the shortest track is the aforementioned Circuit de Monaco, with its 3.3 km (2.05 mi), 78-lap race winding through the narrow streets of one of the world’s smallest countries.
8. Lewis Hamilton and Michael Schumacher are tied for the most World Driver’s Championships.
As of the start of the 2022 season, Hamilton and Schumacher have both won seven championships. Schumacher won the 1994 and 1995 championships with Benetton, and dominated in the early 2000s, winning five consecutive titles from 2000-2004 while driving for Ferrari. Hamilton, meanwhile, won his first title with McLaren in 2008, and the Briton has won six of the last nine titles while driving for Mercedes. Hamilton also has the most wins in Formula 1 history with 103.
9. Red Bull Racing holds the record for fastest pit stop ever.
One of the most crucial elements of a Formula 1 grand prix is the pit stop, with teams looking to change tires and/or make repairs as fast as possible. The fastest pit stop ever recorded took a mind-boggling 1.82 seconds, and it was performed by the Red Bull pit crew on Max Verstappen’s race car at the 2019 Brazilian Grand Prix. In contrast, the longest pit stop was at the 2021 Monaco Grand Prix, with the Mercedes pit crew taking more than 43 hours to remove the right front wheel from Valtteri Bottas’ car, finishing well after the race had ended.
10. Ferrari is the most valuable F1 team.
According to Forbes, as of 2019, Ferrari is the most valuable of the 10 F1 teams, with a worth of $1.35 billion. Second on the list is Mercedes, at $1.015 billion. Alfa Romeo brings up the rear, valued at $105 million.
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