Today’s Formula 1 cars have almost as much in common with jet fighters as they have with an ordinary car (an all-in-one combination). Aerodynamics have become a key to success in the sport and all the teams spend millions, if not billions, of dollars on research and development in the field every year to achieve ultimate performance, owing to very high cornering speeds achieved through the generation of large amounts of down force.
History of Formula 1
Formula 1 car racing has its roots in the European Grand Prix championships of the 1920s and 1930s. The foundation of Formula 1 began in 1946 with the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile’s (FIA’s) standardisation of rules. A World Drivers’ Championship followed in 1950. The sport’s history parallels the evolution of its technical regulations.
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A Formula 1 car is a single-seat, open cockpit, open-wheel racing car with significant front and rear wings, and an engine positioned behind the driver, anticipated to be used in competition at Formula 1 racing events. The regulations governing the cars are unique to the championship. Formula 1 regulations specify that cars must be fabricated by the racing teams themselves, though the design and manufacture can be outsourced.
Why are Formula 1 cars that fast?
Formula 1 racing is actually two races happening at once – one fast and one slow. The fast race is the one you’ll watch on TV or in person, and the slow one is the race between technological development and the rules and regulations.
A modern Formula 1 car can accelerate to 62 mph in less than two seconds, pull more gas than a Space Shuttle launch, and hit a top speed over 200 mph in qualifying.
The modern Formula 1 car is a mesmerizing mix of brand-new technology and heavily-regulated conventional technology. They are extremely light compared to most other racecars, but they still have high horse power, giving them a great weight to power ratio. The front and rear wings give them good downforce for handling, helping them keep their speed up during turns. Formula 1 used to allow turbocharged engines, but engine makers were making unbelievably powerful engines— almost around 1000 HP. To control this trend, 2012 rules specify only normally articulated 2.4 L V8 engines, with only four valves/cylinders, and made of common ingredients, allowing these Formula 1 engines to consistently rev up to 18,000 RPM and produce about 300 HP/L for a total production of around 750 HP. Each team gets 8 engines to use over 20 races.