Formula 1 – How it works

Phew, the 2014 season was unbelievably tense.  The drivers are having a much needed rest before the 2015 season starts in March.  If you are new to the sport and are interested in starting to follow the sport here are the basics.

Formula 1 is a team event that revolves around two championships, The Constructors’ Championship and the Drivers’ Championship.  Each team has two named drivers plus a supporting cast of managers, engineers and test drivers to keep it all working.  There is lots of inter-team rivalry (between each of the constructor teams) and extra intense intra-team rivalry (between the two drivers).

Ten teams will be competing in the 2015 F1 season. Drivers compete individually in the Drivers’ Championship while their combined points go towards the team’s tally in the Constructors’ Championship.  The driver and the team with most points at the end of the season are each crowned World Champions.

In 2014 Mercedes Petronas won the Constructors’ Championship and Lewis Hamilton won the Drivers’ Championship.

In 2015 there will be are 20 races, starting in Australia on 15 March and ending in Abu Dhabi on 29 November.  For each race the winning driver receives 25 points, with descending points allocated down to 10th place – receiving one point:

Points awarded at Formula 1 race weekends

1st – 25 points 6th – 8 point
2nd – 18 points 7th – 6 points
3rd – 15 points 8th – 4 points
4th – 12 points 9th – 2 points
5th – 10 points 10th – 1 point

A race weekend consists of three practice sessions, qualifying and the race itself. On the Friday there are two 90-minute practice sessions, with a 60-minute session on Saturday ahead of a 60-minute qualifying session on Saturday afternoon.  There are three stages to qualifying – Q1, Q2 and Q3.

The race itself cannot run longer than two hours actual driving, unless there is red-flag and it is stopped due to bad weather, a serious accident, etc.  The race can continue after a red-flag but the entire duration of the race cannot exceed 4 hours.