In such a long lasting sport like F1, many things are no longer what they once were. As such, the sport itself evolves, the drivers change, and so due the rules too. These changes add new layers to the sport and also have the potential to negatively impact it too.
Sadly, some of these interesting facts about F1 and its past seem to fall by the wayside. A large portion of new fans may not even be aware of some of the differences between now and years prior. So, with that being said, there are a litany of impressive and confusing facts about F1 that you may never know about.
10 Drivers Have The Best Helmets
Among the drivers in Formula One, they have some of the best helmets ever made. These particular caps can save a driver’s life after colliding with a wall at over 300 kilometers an hour. They are a technological feat in and of themselves; A true modern marvel.
Driver’s weren’t always this fortunate, however. Back in the old days, drivers had helmets that would barely cover their whole face. These ones provided virtually no help in a high-speed crash and resulted in several deaths.
9 No Traction Control Or ABS
One of the most unknown things for new fans to Formula One is the level of difficulty in driving an F1 car. This is primarily due to the fact that no driver assistance is allowed for teams to use. Such as traction control and anti-lock braking systems (A.B.S.), which greatly reduce strain/effort.
This rule was implemented after the 2007 F1 season where the F.I.A. thought that too much driver aide was ruining the sport. It certainly adds a level of skill required to succeed and livens up almost every wet race.
8 Used To Refill During Pit Stops
You may wonder why F1 cars don’t stop for more fuel during a two hour race. Well, that’s because it has been banned by the F.I.A. since 2010. The use of refueling during races allowed for complete domination by a handful of teams and even created an extra bit of danger to normal pit stops.
Before 2010, the F.I.A. had already banned refueling in 1984. They thought that teams were abusing the privilege and was eventually picked up by multiple teams afterwards. Now, without refueling, drivers need to manage their fuel loads and account for the extra weight to properly fight.
7 Michael Schumacher Is The Most Successful Champion
Of all the F1 drivers to date, the seven time world champion Michael Schumacher is the most victorious. In fact, he has a total of 91 victories which are only ten more than the current Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton.
Along with this, Schumacher holds the most world championships. A total of seven driver’s championships and seven constructor’s championships for his respective teams. Once again, the only driver to come close to this is the current five-time world champion, Lewis Hamilton.
Many speculate that Hamilton will soon cross the threshold of most successful driver.
6 First Grand Prix Was At Silverstone
Some F1 fans may be unaware that the same track still in use today was where the first ever F1 grand prix was held. Silverstone was home to the first race back all the way in 1950. Most of the teams weren’t even competing for a championship back then either.
To this day, Silverstone is still on the F1 calendar and has even been renewed for several more years. Hopefully it stays that way since the British Grand Prix is one of the most intense of the entire season.
5 There Aren’t Many American Drivers
Since Formula One is a sport with such a significant worldwide presence, you may be surprised to find out that there hasn’t been a great number of American drivers in modern season. The last American in the sport was Scott Speed in 2007 too.
However, that isn’t to say there are no successful American drivers throughout the history of the sport. Notable mentions include Mario Andretti and Phil Hill, but those were during a different time period.
The prime cause of this is the fact that F1 is a very European sport, with it’s roots deeply embedded in places like the U.K. and Germany rather than the States.
4 F1 Drivers Are Taller Than Global Average
F1 drivers typically get a bad wrap in terms of height. Many think of them to be smaller so they can fit into the car more snuggly and reduce overall weight. In fact, F1 drivers are actually taller than the global average.
Today, the global average for males is around 5 foot 9 inches. Currently, there are seven plus drivers on the grid who are significantly taller than the 5’9″ standard. This includes Nico Hulkenberg, Kimi Raikkonen, Max Verstappen, and more.
3 Teams Spend Millions A Year
Because Formula One is such a technologically advanced sport, teams need to spend millions upon millions a year to keep up with the changing rules and tough competition. The car alone cost millions of dollars and several hundreds of thousands for just a single piece of the aero-package.
Last year, the top ranking team, Mercedes AMG, had a total budget of $400+ million dollars for the whole season. This was only second place in comparison to Ferrari’s budget of $410 million.
As the seasons roll on, it’s not unlikely that teams will spend even more. That is unless the F.I.A. steps in to regulate the matter.
2 It’s Physically Demanding
Though some may think that driving an F1 car is the same as driving a normal car fast, they are still very wrong. Drivers must workout constantly to maintain the proper weight requirements, keep up strength, and not lose too much water weight.
Drivers actually lose several pounds throughout the span of a single race. This is caused by the intense G-forces and lose of water in the body. So, saying that you need to be in shape to drive an F1 car is the understatement of the century.
1 F1 Is The Pinnacle Of Motor Sports
This is a slightly controversial point, however, F1 is agreed by many racing enthusiasts to be the pinnacle of motor sports. There are several factors contributing to this, but the primary ones seem to be the immense budget and technological prowess.
F1 cars are some of the fastest in the world. They decimate track records around the world, constantly improve on speed and innovation, and have an aero-package that can take drivers around tight corners at full throttle.
All of this is why F1 is one of the hardest sports to partake in. Everyone is gunning for a seat, and you really need to prove your worth to sit at a table with the big boys.
Sources: WTF1, Formula 1, Formula 1 Dictionary, Wheels 24
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