• This is Formula 1 Racing

A Formula One car is the highest class of single seat, open wheeled, opened cockpit racing car, sanctioned by the FIA or Federation Internationale de le Automobile, which is located in France. The “Formula” is the specifications on how the car is built.

Current F1 cars have large front and rear wings with the fuel cell and engine behind the driver. The engine is a hybrid type with a 1.6 litre V6 piston engine using a single turbocharger, with a 7-speed gearbox and an energy recovery system. The frame or chassis, suspension and body of the cars are mostly of a honeycomb core covered in carbon fibre and resin. The part of the chassis where the driver sits is a safety cell, which must pass rigorous crash testing before each team can build the rest of the car.

The cars are very complex and have a lot of electronics and computers onboard. The driver is very busy, not just steering the car around the track and changing gears, but also adjusting the switches on the steering wheel. There is much strategy to be applied as well, like a high speed chess match. Part of that strategy is applying the benefits of the energy recovery system.

The way the energy recovery system works, is when the brakes are applied, the kinetic energy is recovered from the brakes and the energy is stored in the batteries onboard the car; hence the name KERS or Kinetic Energy Recovery System. This stored energy helps boost the car’s speed down the one or two straights around a track in the DRS zones. DRS is the Drag Reduction System. The way this works is if a trailing car is within one second of a leading car in the DRS zone, then the trailing car’s driver may press the DRS button on his steering wheel. Pressing the DRS button does two things. It flattens the rear wing to reduce the wind drag down the straight and the car’s engine gets a boost of speed from the KERS. The drag reduction and speed boost typically gives the car about a 12 mph higher speed to pass the car ahead.

Each team has two cars in each race, which lasts for about 180 miles or 2 hours; whichever comes first. The cars must cary enough fuel to last the entire race, as there is no re-fueling allowed for safety reasons. In dry race conditions, two compounds of tires must be used according to the race rules. If if rains, the two compound rule is eliminated and any tires may be used. The team’s race strategists must figure out when to bring each team car in to change tires to get the best race results.

See what current F1 cars look like on www.formula1.com and read the race schedule to see there the F1 calendar visits around the globe. You can watch most of the races on NBCSN