The weekend, the Formula One racing season starts in Bahrain. I am thrilled. The favored cars are Ferrari, McLaren, Mercedes, and Red Bull. (For an earlier post that is a very short explanation of F1 – as it is usually called – click here or click here for a longer Wikipedia explanation.) The fact that Red Bull is one of the favorites just goes to show how much money can be made in the energy drink biz.
F1 is pretty much considered the pinnacle of auto racing. In an effort to slow the cars down and bring the costs back into some form of reasonableness – the top teams were spending over $400 million per season – the engines have been made smaller; but they are still staggering fast cars. They are now only 2.4 liter engines that can rev to 18,000RPM and put out around 700HP – in a car that only weighs 1334 lbs. They can go from 0 to 100 km/h (62mph) in about 1.5 seconds, and 0 to 200 km/h in about 3.8. Over and over again for a couple of hours. They have a top speed of about 225 mph.
One thing I like about F1 is how international the drivers are with 2 British, 6 German, 1 Australian, 2 Brazilian, 3 Spanish, 1 Polish, 1 Russian, 2 Italian, I Swiss, 1 Finnish, 1 Indian, and 1 Japanese driver racing this year. That is a total of only 22 drivers and they all must have a FIA - Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile -Super Licence.
The cars themselves are ridiculous in their complexity with all sorts of little areo devises to make them slip through the air – every team has it's own windtunnel – and inverted wings to push them down to the ground so they will hang on to road better. The cars are meticulously made, but the resulting design is an acquired taste at best.