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Submitted by on Aug 19, 2021

Formula One (sometimes spelled F1) is the highest level of international auto racing for single-seater formula racing vehicles sanctioned by the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) (FIA). Since its inception in 1950, the World Drivers’ Championship, which evolved into the FIA Formula One World Championship in 1981, has been one of the world’s most prestigious forms of racing.

The term “formula” in the name alludes to the set of regulations that must be followed by all competitors’ vehicles. A Formula One season consists of a series of races known as Grands Prix (French for “big rewards”) on purpose-built circuits and closed public highways throughout the world.

The results of each race are used to decide two-yearly World Championships: one for drivers and the other for constructors, using a points system. Each driver must have a valid Super Licence, the FIA’s highest level of racing license. The races must take place on tracks classified “1” (previously “A”), the FIA’s highest category. The majority of the races take place on purpose-built tracks in rural areas, although a few take place on city streets.

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Due to extremely high cornering speeds obtained by creating enormous quantities of aerodynamic downforce, Formula One vehicles are the fastest controlled road-course racing cars in the world. In 2017, substantial alterations were made to the vehicles, permitting bigger front and rear wings and wider tyres, resulting in peak cornering forces around 6.5 lateral g and top speeds of over 325 km/h (200 mph).

The hybrid engines will be limited to a maximum of 15,000 rpm by 2021, and the cars will be heavily reliant on electronics, aerodynamics, suspension, and tyres. Traction control, launch control, automatic shifting, and other electronic driving aids were outlawed in 1994, reinstated in 2001, and then banned again in 2004 and 2008.

While the sport’s traditional home in Europe, the championship is a worldwide event, with 13 of the 23 events in the 2021 season taking place outside of the continent. With an annual cost of US$120 million to run a mid-tier team — designing, constructing and repairing vehicles, pay, and transportation – its financial and political struggles are well-publicized.

Because of its high visibility and popularity has spawned a burgeoning merchandising industry, resulting in significant expenditures from sponsors and budgets (in the hundreds of millions for the constructors). On January 23, 2017, Liberty Media announced that it had completed the $8 billion purchase of Formula One’s controlling company, Delta Topco, from private equity firm CVC Capital Partners.

The Formula One series began in the 1920s and 1930s with the European Championship of Grand Prix Motor Racing (q.v. for pre-1947 history). The formula is a set of regulations that all vehicles in the competition must follow.

After World War II, a new formula was agreed upon in 1946, and the first non-championship races were held that year. The 1946 Turin Grand Prix was the inaugural Formula One event. Before the war, several Grand Prix racing organizations drafted regulations for a global championship. Still, due to racing stoppage during wartime, the World Drivers’ Championship did not become official until 1947.

In 1950, in Silverstone in the United Kingdom, the first world championship race was held. In 1958, a constructors’ championship was held. In the 1960s and 1970s, national championships were held in South Africa and the United Kingdom. Promoters conducted non-championship Formula One events for many years, but the last of them happened in 1983 due to rising competition costs.

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