Superfast Missile on wheels. Gorgeous Ladies. Fan following in the millions. Team budgets in the range 200-300 million Euros !! Race season like none other.
Hello reader. :) I'm vrooming past with a new post. By now you must have guessed what I am talking about. Formula 1 !! The ultimate in the world of racing sport. What makes this sport "ultimate" is what il be trying to touch up on here. You may at first think that it is simply getting into the car and racing against others. That’s like looking at the movie "Avatar" thru a pinhole camera. I intend to show you, my reader, the amount of sophistication and Physics that this sport involves. To amateurs who have wondered what Formula 1 means, here is what Wikipedia has to say:
Formula One, also known as Formula 1 or F1 and referred to officially as the FIA Formula One World Championship,is the highest class of single seater auto racing sanctioned by the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA). The "formula" in the name refers to a set of rules with which all participants' cars must comply.
Imagine a cruise missile. Add four wheels to it. You have just pictured an F1 car. Of course, the whole setup is more complicated than adding wheels to a missile :).
The most important part of an F1 car is the Engine. There used to be a time when F1 allowed the team to have a free hand in the specs of the car, but now things have really taken shape. This shaping up allows for all cars in the race to have exactly the same configuration. More like a battle between equals. You will be surprised to know that according to the "formula", engine capacity should be exactly 2400 cc (2.4 L). This is very much like the engine of a standard long car or sedan that we may find on the Indian roads. What makes them different from our long-cars or sedans?? I'm glad you asked :). F1 engines are tuned for peak performance. Hence clause of durability of engine gets thrown out of the window. An F1 engine gives output of up to 700 HP with the drive shaft of the engine rotating @ 19000 Revolutions per minute(RPM) - 317 times a second !! Our normal car's engine drive shaft rotates @ 3000-4000 RPMs maximum - 67 times a second. An F1 engine lasts only for a maximum of two or three races. That is like a maximum of 600 kilometers. With the forces it encounters when it is ravaged during the race, that kind of performance is epic. The most obvious question would be of efficiency in terms fuel consumption. You can drive an F1 car for 1.7 kms for every liter that you have the capacity of buying. And of course, there are many other technological breakthroughs making up an entire F1 car. Another device that I find particularly interesting is the steering wheel of an F1 car. This item is detachable!! For an F1 driver to be able to enter the car, the steering wheel needs to be removed. So it makes a real tight fit inside an F1 car. This wheel can control the steering capabilities, gear shifts, and provide an extremely sophisticated heads up display unit.
Bleeding-edge technology at your finger tips. Earnings in the millions of Euros. A chance to make a name in the most aspired sport. Destination Pole position (Rank 1 in a race). This is what the F1 racer lives for from the career front. You may think that this is an easy job. Think again after you read the following facts.
- F1 drivers have prolonged exposure to high G forces (force that is ‘n’ times their body weight) and temperatures for little over an hour. This results in an average F1 driver losing about 4kgs of weight after just one race. However he regains weight afterwards.
- Before race, drivers drink lot of water to avoid dehydration. The Formula One cockpits generate lot of heat and make drivers sweat off their weight during the race.
- The drivers can lose approximate 2 to 3 liters of water during a race.
- Sports studies have underlined the importance of fluid level in the body. A person who has lost 4% of body weight can lose up to 40% of their psycho-physical ability.
- In the days preceding very hot races like Australia, Malaysia, and Brazil, the drivers can drink up to 8 litres of water.
- A week in a F1 racer’s life during racing season goes like this –
Thursday: The F1 racer flies into the racetrack and spends some time with the team, checking that his car is OK and working out strategy for the weekend. He usually attends at least one press conference, and signs autographs, and takes part in a sponsor function or press dinner, before escaping at about 10 p.m. to go to bed.
Friday: Practice starts very early in the morning, especially if the driver's team has signed up for the extra two-hour test session. The driver usually gets to the track at about 8 a.m. (after having already spent maybe an hour in the hotel gym) and runs through the day's program with the team. The driver spends most of the rest of the day in practice and technical debriefs, when the team evaluates the set-up of the car and its performance. Afterward, he attends even more press conferences. Amid all these other responsibilities, the driver completes the first qualifying round, which decides the running order for Saturday's main qualifying session. In the evening, he usually attends another sponsor function, which can run on quite late.
Saturday: Saturday is a very important day, because what happens today decides the grid for Sunday's race. The driver attends two practice sessions in the morning and then a warm-up before he actually qualifies his car. He has to make sure that everything is absolutely perfect with his car because he has only one lap to get his time in — if he makes a mistake and spins off the track or suffers a mechanical problem he could find himself starting right at the back of the grid. If qualifying goes well and the driver's time puts him in one of the top three positions, he attends a special press conference, broadcast all around the world. After this press conference he must attend more debriefs with the team and then even more press conferences. If an evening function has been planned for Saturday night, he must attend that, as well, although these don't run too late because the driver must get a good night's sleep before race day.
Sunday: Race day is by far the most important, and busiest, day of the week. While in the past, drivers could just turn up a few minutes before the race started, jump in their cars, and then head off home as soon as the chequered flag came out, that's no longer the case. The day often involves everything from warming up and meeting sponsors to race day parades and post-race functions. And if the driver can't get a helicopter into the circuit he could find himself having to get up even earlier to beat the traffic jams caused by the fans.
Monday: If a driver is lucky he'll wake up in his own bed on Monday morning(he could end up on a hospital bed - don't always think in the same direction) — but it's back to work straight away. Even though he'll be tired and maybe a bit sore from the race, he has to go to the gym for a few hours to make sure he stays in shape. Monday afternoon, if he hasn't been called up for a sponsor function, he'll fly out to one of the European tracks to get ready for that week's testing schedule.
Tuesday: Less than 48 hours after the Grand Prix, the Formula One driver is back in the cockpit, working hard on developments and improvements for the next race. The teams will be experimenting with new parts or different set-ups to try to make the car even quicker. Testing a Formula One car is a relentless job, and the track usually stays open from 9 a.m. until darkness. After that, the driver usually spends a few hours with the team, working through a technical debrief of the test, before dinner and then maybe an interview with journalists. (Many drivers prefer to do major interviews at tests because there's a lot less pressure on their time; the only time anyone gets to speak exclusively to Michael Schumacher is at a test.)
Wednesday: Another day of testing, although a driver may be able to fly home this evening to get ready for the following week's Grand Prix. Big teams usually have one or two test drivers who help ease the workload on their regular drivers.
So there you have it. Hopefully, you have got my point. Maybe this post was a tad bit technical for your taste, but that’s what this sport involves. Amazing calculations, mathematics, physics all thru the core of the subject. And as an Engineer, I really appreciate all the respect & fine attention to detail that this sport gives to the beauty of science.
PS:- Also we have the pleasure of F1 coming to India this year when we will be hosting the first Indian Grand Prix. :) .Can’t Wait for October. Go Force India. Go Team Red Bull.
Thanks to Wikipedia, Dummies.com & Google.com.