What is Formula One?

If you’ve been a wealth management client of mine for any amount of time, you’ve heard me talk about my love of Formula One racing. This website gives me the opportunity to tell you a bit about F1 and to share the love.

The first thing many people ask is, What does “Formula One” mean? In racing, a formula is a set of rules specifying how the race cars can be built.

McLaren-Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton.

Rules govern each car’s length, height, width, weight, and a host of other technical parameters.

Think of the formula as a recipe for building a car — like a recipe for baking a cake. You get the idea.

So, “Formula One” means “Recipe One,” loosely speaking.

Formula One cars are the highest performing cars on the planet. They’re built for one reason: to go around a race track in the shortest time possible. Looks, comfort, cost — the things we consider important in road cars — don’t matter in F1. It’s all about speed.

To give you an idea of the staggering performance of these cars, consider this: When I was young, a car that traveled from 0 to 60 in 6 seconds was considered fast. Today, an F1 car can go from 0 to 100 mph and back to 0 — in less than 6 seconds! Think about that. From a complete standstill to 100 mph and back to a complete standstill in less time than your sedan can get up to speed on “The 405.”

Each year, new rules are passed. In other words, the “formula” is changed. This is done mostly to reduce speeds in the interest of safety. And each year, the designers find ways to claw back the speed that was lost.

  • Today’s F1 cars have something like 25 percent less horsepower than they did in the ’80’s, yet they are faster than ever.
  • Use of composite materials, new developments in tires and aerodynamics all contribute to this amazing fact.

Driving these cars takes incredible talent. Only a handful of people in the world can do it. Just 24 drivers start every Grand Prix, the name for a F1 race. In comparison, each Major League Baseball team has 25 players on its roster, and there are 30 teams. That gives you an idea of how select the group of F1 drivers is.

Watch this space in the future for more on these phenomenal cars and the people who drive them.