F1 Spa 11
Ferrari F138 Fernando Alonso
F1 Test Bcn 39

The first world championship was held in 1950. Over the years, the sport developed technologically and several innovations were introduced into racing, including wings, the so-called wing car and the turbo engine. Some of these developments compromised safety so they were banned, while others were made mandatory to promote safety, such as the monocoque, the Head and Neck Support (HANS) system and the halo, a protective brace over the cockpit.

Lewis Hamilton and Michael Schumacher are considered among the most successful Formula One drivers. They have both won seven world championships anno 2021.

Formula 1 Description

The sport is at the technological pinnacle of all motorsport. Formula 1 cars reach speeds of well over 300 km/h, varying per circuit, with the turbo engine limited to 15,000 revolutions per minute (rpm). In cars, lateral acceleration in corners can exceed 5g. The cars’ performance is heavily dependent on electronics (although traction control and other driver assistance are banned), aerodynamics, suspension and tires.

The Formula 1 season consists of a series of races, an individual race is called “Grand Prix”. The race is held on specialized circuits and to a lesser extent also on closed street circuits. The total points achieved in a season determine the world championships, one for the drivers and one for the constructors. Both drivers and constructors must be in possession of a super license, the highest racing license issued by the FIA. Drivers must meet a number of conditions to receive a super license. For example, drivers must be at least 18 years old and have earned at least 40 license points in other racing classes.

Europe is the traditional center of Formula 1, where almost all teams have their origins and factories and where about half of all races are held. The reach of Formula 1 has expanded greatly in recent years and grand prix are held all over the world. Some races in Europe and America have been canceled in favor of Asia and the Middle East. In 2009, nine of the eighteen races were held outside Europe.

Formula 1 History

Formula 1 has its roots in the “Grand Prix Racing” of the 1920s and 1930s. The “formula” in the name refers to a set of rules that all participants and cars must adhere to. The creation of the new Formula 1 class was decided in 1946, after the end of the Second World War. Some races were already held that year, but the World Drivers’ Championship did not become official until 1947. The first championship race was held at Silverstone in Great Britain in 1950. The Constructors’ Championship followed in 1958. National championships existed in Great Britain and South Africa in the 1960s and 1970s. Until the 1980s, races were organized outside the championship calendar. However, rising costs made this no longer commercially feasible and this phenomenon disappeared in 1983.

Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari Wintertest Barcelona

Winter break and winter test

The winter break in Formula 1 is a period in which no races are held and the teams continue to develop their new cars. Significant changes to the cars – required by the FIA for the new season – can be made. During the winter break, teams work on improving their cars through racing simulations and wind tunnel tests.

The Formula 1 winter test is a crucial opportunity for teams and drivers to prepare for the coming season. During this testing period, which usually takes place in February at the Barcelona circuit, teams have the opportunity to extensively test and refine their new cars on the track, while drivers can work on building a good relationship with the (new) team and adjust the car to their own driving style. However, since 2021, this winter test no longer takes place at the Barcelona circuit, but at the Bahrain circuit, where the opening race of the season has also taken place since that year.

Manor Sparks Kerbstones Spa Francorchamps
F1 Spa 16


Since 1984, it has been mandatory for all teams to build their own car chassis, making the terms “team” and “constructor” interchangeable. This requirement distinguishes Formula 1 from, for example, the IndyCar Series where chassis can be purchased and GP2 where all cars must be equal.

During the debut season of 1950, eighteen teams competed for the title, but many quickly dropped out due to the high costs. After a few years the field had shrunk so much that Formula 2 cars were used to fill the gaps. Ferrari is the only active team that has continuously participated in all seasons since 1950. The team holds the record for the highest number of constructors’ titles (sixteen).

Companies such as Climax, Repco, Cosworth, Hart, Judd and Supertec were not tied to a team but sold engines to teams that did not have the financial resources to develop them themselves. It has been rare for private teams to manufacture their own engines as this has generally been less successful. Cosworth was the last independent engine supplier but lost its last customers in 2006. But in 2010 Cosworth returned as an engine supplier for the Williams, HRT F1 Team, Lotus and Virgin Racing teams. The large budgets of the existing manufacturers made it no longer attractive to buy engines from third parties. The major teams spend an estimated 100 to 200 million euros per year on the development and construction of their engines.

In 2007, for the first time since the 1984 regulations, two teams used a chassis built by another. Super Aguri used the 2006 Honda F1 chassis and Scuderia Toro Rosso used the same chassis as Red Bull Racing used that year. The Toro Rosso and Red Bull chassis were not built by either team. The chassis was built by a subsidiary of Red Bull called Red Bull Technology. In this way they tried to circumvent the regulations. Super Aguri was virtually owned by Honda and Red Bull Racing owned 50% of Toro Rosso. Although Spyker F1 protested, this was refused. This decision attracted the attention of Prodrive, which also wanted to enter Formula 1.