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Believe it or not, Formula One or F1 racing has been in existence since the 1920s. The sport originated in Europe and was initially referred to as Grand Prix Motor racing. After World War II, Grand Prix Motor racing was given a new formula - known today as Formula One. Formula One gave precedence to the later established, World Championship racing rules and the first World Champion race in 1950. The introduction of sponsorship and some fancy car upgrades over the years have turned Formula One racing into a billion dollar industry loved by many.
Today, the Formula One racing season is comprised of a series of races referred to as Grands Prix, which in English, means Grand Prizes. The Grands Prix is held on purpose-built circuits and public roads. The results of each race within the Grands Prix are used to determine two annual World Championships: one for drivers and one for constructors.
In order to participate in the Grands Prix all drivers, constructor teams, organizers, track officials, and circuits are required to hold a valid Super License, which is the highest class of racing licenses issued by the FIA.
It makes sense that Formula One participants would need the highest class of racing license available, especially since the Formula one cars themselves are comprised of some of the highest racing standards in the industry of car racing. As a result, Formula One cars are considered to be the fastest circuit-racing cars in the world. Formula One cars can reach speeds of up to 220 mph and a lateral acceleration in excess of 5 g in corners - but how? The performance of Formula One cars is said to rely heavily on electronics, aerodynamics, suspension and tires.
A typical Grand Prix racing event normally lasts one week. Teams are allowed three practice sessions before hand. Next, a qualifying session is held to determine the order for the race. The qualifying period today is referred to as the “knock-out”. During the knock-out period, drivers pursue three rounds, racing for a fast enough time to move on to the next round. Participants are knocked out until there are 10 remaining cars. The third and final round is then completed in order to establish a pole position.
During the actual race, participants form along the starting grid in the order they qualified. First, a warm-up lap is taken so that each driver can establish the conditions of the track. The winner of the race is the first to cross the finish line, having completed a set number of laps, which when added together should give a distance of approximately 190 miles or 160 miles (in Monaco).
After the race, participants are awarded points. As of 2010, the top 10 cars are awarded either 25, 18, 15, 12, 10, 8, 6, 4, 2, or 1 points, with the winner receiving 25 points and 10th place receiving 1 point. The total number of points won at each race are totaled, and the driver and constructor with the most points at the end of the season are World Champions.
Formula One racing has come a long way since it’s inception in the early 1920s. The expansion of the industry itself into a billion dollar venture as well as the number of Grands Prix being held today are a testament to the steadily increasing popularity of the sport.