Formula One (F1) is the pinnacle of motor racing. It brings together the world’s top racers, nearly all possessing larger-than-life personalities. Then it sends them around the globe to compete in 22 races (Grands Prix) every year.
F1 is already one of the most popular sports in the world. Yet its popularity continues to grow by leaps and bounds. Over 70 million worldwide watch each F1 race, and it’s not unusual for 200,000 or more to attend an F1 race. In fact, Sports Illustrated claims Formula One is now the “fastest growing sport” in America.
Ready to become a true Formula One fan? You picked the perfect time to start.
1. Silly Season Is the Best Season
This is F1’s “silly season.” Every August, the sport takes a month-long break. No races, no new developments on the engines: a time to refresh and refocus. In the United States, no major sport has this long of a summer pause. Don’t be fooled by the downtime, however. There is plenty of news taking place off track, making this month the best time to green-light your fandom.
Will a team announce a new driver line-up for next year? Will one team poach another’s top engineer or aerodynamics expert? What are the drivers doing on their summer break? Now is the perfect time to immerse yourself in all the breaking news, silly rumors, and fan allegiances.
2. Pick Your Favorite Team
There are currently ten teams in Formula One, with each team having two cars on the track. Ten teams, twenty cars competing. Ready to pick your favorite F1 team?
There’s Ferrari, the longest-running F1 team, known for its passionate fan base—the Tifosi. There’s the upstart American team, Haas; fan favorite but long-struggling Williams, and seven others. TIBCO is the long-time data analytics partner with the Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team. For us, picking a favorite F1 team is an easy choice.
Each race, the Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team uses TIBCO predictive analytics, including TIBCO Spotfire analysis, to help determine optimum race strategy and car set-up. The Team simulates millions of scenarios and car configurations. With TIBCO’s help, Mercedes turns this data into insight—making for faster cars, better design, and improved on-track performance. The Team has reached the podium in the last six consecutive races and is the only team this year to earn points at every race. Mercedes-AMG Petronas is also the most popular team online, with nearly 10 million followers on Instagram and over 11 million followers on Facebook.
Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team at the Hungarian Grand Prix 2022
3. Choose Your Favorite Driver
F1 is a global sport, and the current driver line-up features drivers from across Europe, China (Zhou), Thailand (Albon), Mexico (Perez), and points in between. There’s two-time champion Fernando Alonso, current champion Max Verstappen, and four-time champion Sebastian Vettel. But Vettel has announced his retirement at the end of this season, so perhaps consider his friend, Haas driver Mick Schumacher, son of legendary F1 driver Michael Schumacher. There are no wrong choices!
But if you want a recommendation: Sir Lewis Hamilton. Hamilton is the winningest driver of all time. He races for the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Team. He is knighted. And he shows no hints of slowing down.
4. Which is Most Important? Driver or Car?
This question is the source of countless debates—and rigorous data analysis. Can an average driver win in a superior car? Would world champions Hamilton and Verstappen finish near the back in a less competitive car?
One of the more compelling aspects of Formula One is that it seeks to maximize the performance of both car and driver, extracting the very best from its melding of people, machinery, and data. Data from racing simulations, practice runs, qualifying laps, and races themselves are intensely analyzed to help the driver improve his performance. This data is also used to improve the car. This demanding task is complicated by the fact that each team must abide by a spending cap. Teams can’t simply spend their way into a better car.
With strict spending controls in place, every dollar spent must contribute to a faster, better car. Toto Wolff has noted the importance of tracking “every single process and every single part that comes into the car.” The Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 team uses the TIBCO Cost Visualizer Tool (CVT) to visualize the financial impact of any new parts or design changes to its car. This allows the engineers and designers to instantly assess the trade-offs of cost versus on-track performance. No other team has this.
5. Lights Out and Away We Go
Ready to accelerate your fandom? Tune into the upcoming Belgium Grand Prix, the first race following “silly season.” It’s also the first race where a new technical directive affecting car aerodynamics is predicted to benefit the Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team while hampering rivals Red Bull and Ferrari. There will be controversy! Plus, these final nine races will include stops in the United States, Mexico, and two races in Asia.
Even better, there are potentially six racers with a legitimate chance of winning the World Driver’s Championship (WDC) and three teams with a strong chance at winning the World Constructor’s Championship (WCC). You can explore how the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team uses data and analytics as a competitive advantage to fuel victory on and off the track.
Follow Formula One Online
To learn even more about your new favorite sport, read “The Top 5 Facts You Need to Know” about Formula One Racing. Knowing these common Formula One terms will also help your understanding of Formula One. What’s a Constructor? Who are the Stewards? What’s the difference between an undercut and an overcut, and why is clean air not always better than dirty air?
And be sure to follow along on all the excitement with TIBCO on our LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts with the hashtag #TIBCOfast.