F1

Formula 1 is the pinnacle of single seater motor sport, and is officially called the FIA Formula 1 World Championship. It is the highest class not only in terms of technology, but also in speed and number of race events in a season. It also draws the largest audience in terms of crowd and global TV audience.

The sport is governed by the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile are based in Paris, France, and FIA determine the sporting regulations for F1 as well as the regulations for car design and the races that are known as Grand Prix, the name Grand Prix is derived from the French translation of the great prize.

The FIA not only create the regulations but also play a major role in the running of an F1 Grand Prix, and are overall responsible for the race control and race safety. The FIA provides to each Grand Prix the Race Director who is the official starter and safety delegate, race control operators, rescue co-ordinator, the safety car driver and co-pilot, medical car driver and doctor. Technical scrutinisers, software analysts and fuel analyst to ensure fair play and a communication director.

The sport was formed in 1906 but came under regulation by the FIA in 1946 with the introduction of detailed rules. Early pre-war races used front engined cars and the main rule governance was engine size with 4.5l aspirated engines racing against 1.5l supercharged engines, and the season was 6 major European races and the Indianapolis 500. The World Championship were formed shortly after in 1950 and this bought about the professional race driver and team. In 1958 the Constructors World Championship was introduced but it was not until 1960 that the Indianapolis 500 was removed from the calendar as European races reduced the race distance.

Rule changes have occurred frequently since these early days but today the race grid is usually made up of 22 drivers from 11 constructors and a race length is governed either by a maximum of a 2 hours duration or by the distance covered. The numbers of laps in a Grand Prix varies from circuit to circuit based on the length of a lap. The distance to be covered is the minimum distance over 305km with the exception of Monaco which is 260km, and the races take place on both race and street circuits.

The sport is awash with money and it earns its revenue by marketing promotion through sponsorship by carrying global branding on the cars. A team will earn 80-85% of its income from sponsorship. A main team sponsor could pay between $15-50m for the side pod and engine cover, smaller logo’s on the wings or bodywork could cost $1-3m.
The race promotor and teams earn revenue from ticket sales and the size of a crowd at the Silverstone British Grand Prix is circa 310,000 fans paying from £170 per ticket plus parking and camping from £65. Each team earns additional revenue through merchandising, and the huge revenue now being generated by TV and TV advertising rights. The F1 TV audience is now circa 530m viewers.