As noted in the previous section, Formula 1Formula 1 is the pinnacle of open-wheel, single-seater car racing and arguably the highest level of any motorsport globally. Also... There's more... now runs two formats for race weekends. The standard is one feature raceFormula 1 has one race on most weekends so it is "The Race", however in 2021 F1 introduced a Sprint... There's more... on Sunday afternoon, and for six weekends, we will see an additional Sprint RaceThe sprint race is an additional race over selected weekends. Being is a 100km dash and expected to take approximately... There's more... on Saturday afternoon. QualifyingQualifying (Quali) is a one-hour session used to determine pole position and the order the cars will line up behind... There's more... sets the Sprint Race starting gridThe grid is a reference to the starting order of the race is typically determined by qualifying, however, with the... There's more..., and the result of this race sets the grid for Sunday’s race.
The 2023 schedule was announced with 24 races at 24 different circuits. Subsequently, the Chinese leg has been cancelled due to ongoing covid concerns, with Formula 1 saying it will be replaced with a yet-to-be-announced alternative.
Formula 1 has always been an international sport, but recent popularity has seen its fan base grow significantly in the Middle East, Asia and the Americas. These audiences have fueled the demand for more events, with the US holding three in 2023 – COTACOTA (Circuit of the Americas) A Premier Sports and Entertainment Destination Circuit of The Americas is the premier destination for... There's more..., Miami and Las Vagas. In recent years, covid has presented major challenges with the schedule but led to the return of Turkey and ImolaThe Emilia Romagna Grand Prix is held at the Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari often referred to as “Imola”... There's more....
Circuits vary considerably from dedicated race tracks to temporary street circuits. The teams need to understand how these variances affect the car and find the optimum set-up to counter the conditions. Tracks will be referred to by the level of downforceDownforce is a measure of how much vertical aerodynamic load is created by a Formula 1 car’s aerodynamic surfaces. The... There's more..., and this will dictate the car’s aerodynamicAerodynamics is the science of controlling how the air behaves as the car cuts through it at speed. F1 cars... There's more... set-up.
A high downforce track is one with more emphasis on corners so the set-up of the car will sacrifice straight-line speed. Straights, corners, climate, altitudeMost of the races over a season are at sea level, however, Mexico and Brazil are at Altitude and have... There's more..., track surface and whether the race is day or night all play a part in how the cars work. All this information, along with the data collected through Free PracticeFree Practice consists of three sessions (FP1, FP2 & FP3) held prior to qualifying. It is referred to as 'free... There's more... and Qualifying will inform the overall race strategy.
Find out about specific tracks under our tracks tab – here
(tracks listed are based on 2022 and will be updated as 2023 progresses)
Strategy plays a role throughout the weekend; car set up, which tyresToday's F1 cars are running 18-inch wheels (up from 13 inches in recent years) with the widths unchanged - 305mm... There's more... to use for practice, how to approach Qualifying and when to introduce new parts. Concerning the race, the strategy will focus on pit stops and tyre options. The strategists will run thousands of scenarios through their simulators and consider variables like weather or the likelihood of a safety carThe FIA runs the event and is responsible for the safety of the drivers, crew, marshals and spectators. To manage... and a cheap pit-stopA cheap pit-stop is when conditions on track mean the total time lost during a pit-stop is less than under... There's more....
Pit stop strategy is about getting to the finish line in the shortest time possible. The regulations require a minimum of one pit stop, and teams must run at least two different tyre compoundsThe compound is a reference to the rubber that the tyre's wearing surface is constructed from. Pirelli has developed a... There's more.... So, a “one-stop strategy” is the minimum.
PirelliPirelli is the exclusive supplier of tyres to Formula 1 having secured the contract in 2011. The range consists of... There's more..., F1’s tyre supplier, play a significant part in influencing pitstop strategy by bringing tyre compounds to the track that will be on the limit. This forces teams to decide whether they can push the car on old tyres with reduced gripGrip is the magic that holds the car on the road as it accelerates, turns and brakes at extreme levels.... There's more... or whether an additional pit stop and fresh tyres will give them an advantage. New softs could be a second per lap quicker than another team on old mediums.
Where a team needs to take engine parts over and above their allocation, they will receive a grid penalty. There will be occasions where they may take the parts and the penalty early where they have had a bad qualifying or they know that they are weak for a particular track, and the penalty will have a lesser effect on the championship.
Teams are provided with an allocation of 13 sets of dry weather tyres for the weekend – two hard, three medium and eight soft. They also receive three sets of intermediate tyresIntermediate Tyres (Inters) are the cross-over tyre between slick for a dry track and wets where there is standing water.... There's more... and four sets of wets.
If FP1 and FP2 are wet and FP3 looks like it will be wet, then the teams may return a set and take an extra set of intermediate tyres.
On race day, the drivers and teams will have media dutiesDrivers have to talk to the press. When you see a driver go directly from the track to interviews, it's... There's more..., hosting duties and the driver’s parade, but they will be clear of this and left to focus on the race and prepare well before getting into the car. Pre race routines will include mental preparation, physical warm up, stretching and reflex exercises.
The hour before the race starts is a busy and precisely organised period. The following is a breakdown of how the hour is structured.
60 Minutes Out…
The pit laneThe Pit lane is a 3.5m wide access lane that runs parallel to the race track that the cars use... There's more... opens for teams to start their pre-race preparation. They begin the process of shifting all the equipment needed to complete the car set-up and start the race, including toolboxes, generators, tyres and computer stations.
The team in the garageAn F1 garage is just that. A secure area for teams to set up their equipment and work on their... There's more... spend this time completing their set-up and running through their pre-race checks, including radio checks and confirming that the telemetrynoun: telemetry the process of recording and transmitting the readings of an instrument. "Data will be transferred by radio telemetry... There's more... is working.
40 Minutes Out…
The light at the end of the pitlane goes green, indicating that the track is open. Cars leave their garage on a used set of tyres and carry out installation laps on their way to the grid.
Depending on the track, they may have the opportunity to pass through the pitsThe Pits refers to the area immediately outside a team's garage where they are able to work on the car,... There's more... to do more than one lap to check the car and gather data from last-minute setup changes. There may be an opportunity for a practice start at the pit lane exit.
Cars pull up to the back of the grid and are lifted onto trolleys for the pit crew to roll them through the throng of teams, media and others.
30 Minutes Out…
The pit lane closes, and anyone not on track at that time must start from the pit lane.
On the grid, the driverOK, so we all know what the driver is, right. I've always liked the description that F1 drivers are like... There's more... exits the car to run through their prestart ritual. This might include a bathroom stop, a last-minute briefing with the engineerRace Engineers are a team of experts who manage all aspects of the race and communicate with the driver when... There's more..., focus and reflex work as well as hydrating and keeping cool.
The car is in parc ferme, so there is very little that can be done on the car. Tyre pressures can be adjusted, and electronic settings like the engine mapEngine mapping is a predetermined set of engine mode settings that can be selected as required. Engine mapping allows the... There's more... can be altered. The engineers will run through final checklists, carry out fire-ups to run the fluids and place custom fansThe fans are the life-blood of F1, without us the sport wouldn't be what it is today. From the 300,000... There's more... around the car to keep specific components cool.
17 Minutes Out…
Around the 17-minute mark, the drivers will assemble at the front of the grid for the national anthem of the host country.
10 Minutes Out…
The driver will don his helmetFormula 1 racing helmets are extremely strong and durable safety devices custom-fitted to the driver's head. They undergo compulsory FIA-approved... There's more... and get into the car to be securely strapped in, and a final test fire-up may be carried out.
5 Minutes Out…
Race tyres, still in the tyre blanketsTyre blankets, or tyre warmers, are used to pre-heat the tyre before it is put onto the car. Tyres need... There's more..., are fitted, and the team begin to disperse as only eight are allowed to stay on the grid from this point. They take as much equipment as possible with them.
1 Minute Out…
With a minute to go, the engine is fired-up. The blankets left on the car until the last possible instant are now removed.
30 Seconds To Go…
The crew move off the grid, and with 15 seconds to go, they have to have their feet behind the white lines marking the edge of the track.
Formation LapThe formation lap in F1, also known as the warmup lap, is the slow lap drivers take before the start... There's more...
The grid sets off on a single lap to prepare the car while the crews remove everything trackside. The drivers spend the lap warming the brakesF1 car brakes are similar to normal road cars, only they are made with different materials and operate under considerably... There's more... and tyres, cooling the engine, learning various gears, and preparing the clutchAll cars with a gearbox use a clutch to engage the engine and deliver power to the transmission. F1 cars... There's more....
The last part of the formation lap, after the last cornerIn formula 1, a corner is much more than a turn on the track, it is a considered and deliberate... There's more..., is critical and when drivers test the bite-point with their clutch control and do a sequence of burnouts to get heat into the rear tyres.
The cars line up in their grid positions, and once the last car is in, a marshal signals to the starter by crossing the rear of the grid with a green flagThe green flag signals that the track is clear and drivers can race. The flag is used at the pit... There's more....
The start sequenceStart Sequence The start sequence is the procedure by which a grand prix is started. Once the grid has formed... There's more... is initiated, the drivers build the car’s revs and set the clutch to the bite pointThe point where the clutch engages and power is transferred to the rear of the car to get it off... There's more....
Five lights over the start line come on progressively, followed by a short hold of 1 to 5 seconds at the starter’s discretion, to prevent the drivers from anticipating the start.
Then “It’s lights out, and away we go…”
The feature race is 305 km, give or take, and runs for approximately 90 minutes. The number of laps will depend on the length of the circuitA circuit is a racetrack for car racing. There's more.... MonacoMonaco, officially the Principality of Monaco, is a sovereign city-state and microstate on the French Riviera a few kilometres west... There's more... is the exception where the tight winding circuit is slower than the rest, so the race length is set at 260km, and the time remains the same.
The FIAFédération Internationale de l'Automobile is the association responsible for the interests of motoring organisations and motor car users across the... There's more... regulations stipulate that the race must end within two hours of starting or three hours from the scheduled start time.
The race starts when the lights go out, and the action begins. The run down to the first corner is critical, with the drivers jockeying for position and seeking the best angle to defend their position and optimise the exit. For those in the midfield and back, this is a perilous phase, as the chance of a shuntAn F1 slang term for an accident where two, or more, cars collide or the driver hits the wall. If... There's more... is high.
The race stewards allow a high tolerance for the start of the race and the first lap, with clashes often being noted as a racing incident. The safety car follows the fieldThe field is a reference to the full grid of cars, from pole to the backmarkers. Consider it in the... There's more... for the first lap and returns to the pits, and the DRSThe Drag Reduction System (DRS), is designed to do exactly what it says, reduce drag, resulting in the recipient gaining... There's more... is activated after two laps have been completed.
As the field settles down, drivers will focus on their strategy, managing their tyres and looking for opportunities to move up the standings.
Teams will monitor the driver’s progress and their rivals, tyre wear and track conditions to determine the best strategy. They may switch to Plan B or Plan C, which refers to shortening or extending the first stint. Competing cars follow their competitor or do the opposite, depending on the team’s strategy. The call to the pits in ‘box’ or “boxThe term Box comes from the German Boxenstopp, meaning pit stop and is used as a reference to the service... There's more..., box, box”.
Pit stops take, on average, 25 seconds, meaning when a driver pits, they will drop down the standings, which can artificially show a car as being in the lead. The trick is to watch the number of pit stops and adjust for the driver’s relative position. This may differ towards the end of the race with lead drivers on different strategies. And remember, if the race is stopped for any reason, the driver at the front at that time is the winner, regardless of pitstops served.
Teams will also look at the likelihood of a safety car providing an opportunity for a cheap pitstop, where the total time lost during a pitstop is less than under normal circumstances.
Each track will have a time loss for a visit to the pits. When the car enters the pit lane, its speed is limited to 80kph, down from 300 plus. With the 2 – 3 seconds it takes to change the tyres, the total pit stop will cost around 22 seconds. This differs from track to track due to the length of the pit lane.
During the latter stages of the race, the lead cars will close in and pass the slower cars at the back of the field. These cars are referred to as back markers, and they must let the faster cars through as they are not racing for position.
Occasionally, a team will order a driver to let their driver through, where it looks like the chasing driver has a better chance to make gains. Where this happens but the driver does not make the anticipated gains, they may be ordered to give the position back.
Drivers must follow the directions of the stewards with immediate effect. If Double Yellow flagsDouble Yellow flags are a step up from a single yellow flag and prohibit overtaking until the obstruction is cleared. The... There's more... are being waved, drivers are required to reduce their speed to 60% and prohibited from overtaking until the obstruction is cleared.
Racing resumes once a green flagRace tracks have long used flags as a way for marshals to communicate with drivers. The colour and meaning of... There's more... is waived, usually at the marshal station immediately after the obstruction has been passed.
In addition to the flags, tracks often signal with flashing LED lights.
The first driver to cross the line with the finish flag waving is the winner, and the rest of the positions line up behind. Overlapped cars finish on the same lap but are classifiedTo be classified is the formal result as recorded by the FIA. Official places are recorded for qualifying and finishing.... There's more... in their actual position, so if they cross the line immediately behind the winner but they are a lap down and at the back of the field, they finish in 20th.
Points are allocated as follows, 1st – 25, 2nd – 18, 3rd – 15, 4th – 12, 5th – 10, 6th – 8, 7th – 6, 8th – 4, 9th – 2 and 10th – 1. A further point is awarded for the fastest lapThe driver who records the fastest lap in the race may receive the DHL Fastest Lap award as well a... There's more..., providing the driver is within the top ten.
A driver that fails to finish due to mechanical issues or damage is classified as DNFDid Not Finish (DNF). A classification that is given to a driver that starts a session but does not finish... There's more... (Did Not Finish).
As previously noted, there will be six sprint races in 2023. Sprints are designed to create more racing action and change the grid ahead of Sunday with an extra, shortened race held on Saturday. The sprint race is 100 km, approximately 30 minutes, with no mandatory pitstop or tyre change.
PointsFormula 1 runs two competitions over the course of the season, the Constructor's title and the Driver's title. Points are... There's more... are awarded for the Driver’s and Constructor’s titles as follows; 1st – 8, 2nd – 7, 3rd – 6, 4th – 5, 5th – 4, 6th – 3, 7th 2, and 8th – 1. No fastest lap points are awarded.
During a sprint weekend, the driver who finishes first in qualifying will earn pole positionPole Position (Pole) is the first grid box closest to the start line. The rest of the field lines up,... There's more..., but the driver who finishes first in the sprint will earn the right to start the race from first, and the rest of the field will follow in their finishing order.
Immediately following the conclusion of the race, the cars are placed in parc fermé for scrutineering, and a fuel sampleFIA regulations require drivers to be able to provide a full litre of fuel from their car, for sampling, at... There's more... is taken for testing. The cars can not be touched by anyone, with Max VerstappenMax Verstappen (No 1 as 2021 World Champion, otherwise No 33) is a Belgium born F1 driver, racing under a... There's more... recently receiving a $50,000.00 fine for feeling MercedesMercedes-Benz, a brand of the Mercedes-Benz Group, has been involved in Formula One as both team owner and engine manufacturer... There's more... rear wingF1 cars require dowforce to travel and corner at such significant speeds, with the rear wing generating approximately 20% of... There's more... and Sebastian VettelSebastian Vettel (No 5) is a German-born F1 driver contracted to Aston Martin in 2022. See more Sebastian information on... There's more... was disqualified, from third, as the car could not yield a minimum 1.0-litre fuelIn 2022 F1 cars run on 87 octane fuel which is 10% ethanol As part of their green strategy, Formula... There's more... sample.
The drivers will be weighed to ensure the weight, combined with the car, is not below 796kgs (down 2kg’d from 2022). You will often see drivers, on the cooldown lap, run off the race line to pick up the marblesMarbles is the term used for the fragments of rubber that are shed from the tyre as it is exposed... There's more... and add weight back to the car as a ‘factor of safety’ with the car’s weight.
The first three drivers will be interviewed before heading to the cooldown room and the podiumPodium is the name of the platform that is used for the prizegiving ceremony following the race. Prizes are awarded... There's more... for prize giving. The rest of the field will head to the media penThe pen is the area where the drivers are interviewed at the end of each session. You will see the... There's more... for post-race interviews before heading back to the team’s facilities for their debrief.