Fuel up on F1 facts

Many might consider Formula One to be a super car race on beautiful stretches all around the world. Well, there are quite a few facts that most of us do not know and believe me you will love to have a glance on these interesting lesser known specifics. To start with.

• The first Formula One race was in 1947; The first World Championship season was 1950.

• Moving on, how many of us knew that the steering wheel of a Formula One car costs approximately 23,000 Euros!! Anyone trying to calculate in terms of rupees? Let me do the honours please. It is a whooping Rs 14, 37,157 (approx). Interesting? Well, that is just the beginning.

• If the steering wheel is for 23,000 euros, let me not get into the cost of the engine. To top it, one engine is used only for 2 races and the tyres changed after 0.1mm wear. Lot of money involved I must say.

• There are more than 1000 parts in a Formula One car.

• The driver of a car loses about 2 kg of his body weight and about 1 litre of body fluid in hot conditions at the completion of a race. Nice way to lose weight, hmm... Heavyweights can get into the cockpit and hit the track rather than the gym.

• Is there a petrol pump where 12 litres of fuel can be injected into the tank in one second? Well, if you don’t have the patience to get your tank full at a petrol pump, rush to the pit stop. But don’t forget to learn the mechanism to spin the car to place it in the right position for refuelling.

• Read on… Ever heard of g-force? Let me explain. g-force (also g-load) is a measurement of an object`s acceleration expressed in g`s. It may also informally refer to the reaction force resulting from acceleration. More precisely, g-force measures the net effect of the acceleration that an object actually experiences. When we humans sneeze, we experience a force of 2.9g. That is merely for a fraction of a second. If you want to experience more force, try coughing. You can then feel a force of probably 3.5g. Formula One drivers experience g-force only lesser to the Red Bull Air race pilots, who experience a whooping 10g for several seconds during turns while F1 drivers face 2g during acceleration, 5g while braking and 4-6g while cornering. So, they keep feeling the bone crunching load throughout the race while you are all over the couch admiring and dreaming to own those appealing, super fast cars.

Another instance when the driver experiences immense pressure is when the brakes are applied to bring the car from 200kph to standstill. It takes 55 metres or 1.9 seconds, producing deceleration forces of up to 5g - five times a driver`s bodyweight!

• Another point to ponder is the speed of a formula one car. Believe it or not, the Formula One car weighs only a fraction of what a road car weighs. These cars generate high speed owing to the weight of the car apart from the technicalities involved. A formula one car weighs only 605 kilograms, which seems quite less when compared to the city cars. The use of high-tech materials, including carbon fibre, has made modern Formula One cars super lightweight and, therefore, very fast. These cars race at high speeds, often greater than 200 miles per hour! That is a hasty 320 kph. Now that you know the approximate speed at which these dream cars race, don’t get into your driving seat and imitate.

• Thinking how these cars twist and turn at sharp curves without toppling? The cornering speed of Formula One cars is largely determined by the aerodynamic downforce that they generate, which pushes the car down onto the track. This is provided by `wings` mounted at the front and rear of the vehicle. In the context of Formula One, a pit stop is where the racing vehicle stops in the pits during a race for refuelling, new tires, repairs, mechanical adjustments, a driver change, or any combination of the above.

• A pit stop involves about twenty mechanics, with the aim of completing the stop as quickly as possible. It lasts for six to twelve seconds depending on the adjustments required in the car. Lesser the time taken in the pit stops, the better it is for the constructors as it helps the drivers to save more time and utilize it to take a lead.

• An exciting term "Lollipop Man" is associated with this enthralling sport. He basically holds the team`s pit sign, helping the driver identify his pit stall on a possibly crowded pit road.

• A Formula One car changes gears around 3,100 times during the Monaco Grand Prix. Wondering why? It is so because there are quite a lot of sharp turns on the track. It is not just the speed that’s too hot to handle, carbon brake discs and pads generate surface temperatures in excess of 1000 degrees Celsius.

• For security reasons, the drivers and the pit workers wear fire-proof clothing, including fire-resistant balaclava underneath their racing suits.

• Formula One racing features a single tyre supplier, with all teams using identical Pirelli rubber.

• The advantages of this (over multiple tyre suppliers) include closer racing and reduced testing and development costs. A high-end city car would take more than at least 15 seconds to go past the 100kph mark. Add to that the braking time, i.e. the time to bring the car to halt from 100kph. What is the timing? Don’t put in so much effort. By the time you would calculate this, a Formula One car would accelerate from standstill to 200kph and be back again a couple of times because it takes only seven seconds to zip to the 200kph mark and come to a halt.

• Flag signals are a vital part of the running of a Grand Prix. They are the only way that race officials can communicate directly with the drivers. Flag Signals:

Yellow – Danger. Red and yellow stripes – Slippery track. White – Service car on track. Black– Car must stop in pits. Red – Race has been stopped. Green– All clear.

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