There are some big changes happening in Formula One, which means it’s a great time to start watching if you are new to the circuit. With the recent Mercedes-AMG Petronas car launch, new 2021 regulations, and shifting race schedules, there’s a lot to catch up on for long-time fans and newbies alike!
Want to impress your friends with your F1 knowledge? Here are the top 5 facts new F1 fans need to know.
1. The Language of Formula One: Explained
Formula One has a lot of industry-specific terms, which have come to the forefront with the recent car launches. New regulations talk a lot about downforce, dirty air, and floor edges. But what are they and what do they mean?
Here are some key terms, explained:
- Downforce, also called negative lift, pushes the car onto the track and helps with grip
- Dirty Air, related to slipstream, is the wind turbulence caused by the car in front–allowing the car behind it to reduce drag
- Floor Edges refers to the parts of the bottom of the racecar that help with aerodynamics (new regulations have changed what this can look like in 2021)
2. Racing All Over the Map: Why It Matters
If you’ve ever watched James Bond, you’re familiar with the prestige of Monaco. The flashing lights, shiny cars, bedazzled stars–all that is true of a race weekend–but don’t let the glamour fool you. Racing is hard work.
The most important thing you need to know about Formula One circuits is that each racetrack comes with its own set of challenges, whether it’s altitude, angles, speed, or climate–each team has to meticulously prepare for every race.
Here are some quick facts about some of the hardest tracks:
- Monaco Grand Prix: Cars race through the streets of Monaco, taking tight turns onto narrow alleys and through a tunnel–it’s the only race that doesn’t adhere to all F1 safety standards.
- Bahrain Grand Prix: This race has tricky turns and major environmental factors due to the sandy desert conditions. Sand blowing on the track can reduce visibility and traction.
- Singapore Grand Prix: Imagine sauna-like humidity and heat along with grueling driving conditions and blinding lights for two hours straight–this is the Singapore Grand Prix. Just one mistake can wreck a car–no runoffs included.
3. What’s With All the Flags? A Quick Explanation
Flags identify when cars must slow down or exit the track based on external conditions. Believe it or not, racing flags can actually change the outcome of a Grand Prix. A black flag can end a race for the best of drivers. Here’s what they mean:
4. Formula One in the Media: What to Watch
Formula One is no stranger to the movies and every die-hard fan has seen them all. The easiest way to understand the sport (and your racing friends) is to see F1 in action both on and off the big screen.
Here are some of the most famous movies and tv shows you can binge:
- Netflix’s Drive to Survive (2019-2021)
- Senna (2010)
- Rush (2013)
- Ferrari: Race to Immortality (2017)
- 1: The Movie (2013)
- Grand Prix (1966)
5. Mercedes Reigns Supreme: the Ultimate Racing Champions
So who should you keep an eye out for during race weekends?
Mercedes-AMG Petronas is a 7-time world champion in F1. Their premiere driver, Lewis Hamilton, broke over 4 major F1 records just last year. And over our five years of partnership, the Team has amassed more than 50 race wins by using data insights to inform car design, race strategy, and driver performance.
For the latest information on Formula One, keep up to date here, where you can learn how the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team uses data and analytics as a competitive advantage to fuel victory on and off the track.