Formula 1: How It Works And What To Expect

Fernando Alonso shoves Lewis Hamilton off of the track in the 2022 Belgian Grand Prix. Credit:

With lots of sports starting up in the fall, Formula 1 is still going strong. Bringing millions of viewers per race, this season of Formula 1 has been very interesting so far. Teams are now in the later half of the season and are desperate to pick up some much needed points. Teams like Ferrari and Mercedes are in an epic battle for 2nd place. Rivalries between drivers are at their peak. Every race matters twice as much and there is no room for error. For someone who is new to Formula 1, this is a general idea of what it looks like.

How it works:

Formula 1 is the most popular racing series in the world, where ten teams fight to win the Constructors Championship and are crowned the greatest team in the world. Within these teams, there are two drivers in their organization. These drivers are not only fighting for their team but for the Drivers Championship. This award goes to the driver with the most points at the end of the year. This is the award that all of the drivers have been dreaming of winning.


A lot of people wonder how the race starts. Well, before the race even starts, some drivers have an advantage over the competition. How do they get this advantage? Through Qualifying. Qualifying is done the day before the race where each driver races around the track for 20 minutes. Drivers try to get the fastest lap to better their position for the rest. 

The bottom five drivers are eliminated from the next round. Next they do the same process and the next five are eliminated, and again for the last ten drivers, which fully sets up the 20 man grid. The fastest lap starts in pole position, or first place. 

Famous Tracks:

In order to spice up the season teams travel across the world to the most prestigious tracks in the world. This causes teams to have to adapt because each track is different making their car effective on some tracks but not on others. Some of these famous tracks include Monaco, known for its sharp turns and high level of difficulty. This is a driver’s nightmare. 

Monza, known as the fastest track in F1, these races are always close and keep you on the edge of your seat. Lastly there is Abu Dhabi. This grand prix is always the last race of the season and it usually lives up to the hype. This is the race you can’t miss. 

Rules and Regulations:

Since there are a total of 22 races this year, it is very difficult to make the perfect car. This is why teams like Mercedes spent $500 million dollars in 2019. 

Recently, however, F1 has started to crack down on teams spending so much money. As of 2020 teams will now have to work with a budget of $145 million dollars. This was made to further level the playing field due to certain teams dominating in the past. With this comes the need for better staff. If your team’s staff is better than the competition, you are likely going to have a fast car. 

Over the next couple years, teams are going to figure out how to make better cars. This is where some regulations come in. Every couple years Formula 1 will update their rules regarding what you can and can’t do, which makes the teams think outside of the box in order to create a better car. The better the team can adapt to these rules, the more performance they will have on the track.

This Season So Far:

This season of F1 has not disappointed this year. As of now we are 15 races into the season and Max Verstappen is dominating the drivers championship. He currently has a total of 310 points and has shown no sign of stopping. Right behind him is Charles Leclerc who has had a very up and down season. His team, Ferrari, has suffered from some major errors this season.

Now in the constructors championship it’s not very close. As of now Red Bull, led by Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez, are currently leading the constructors championship by 135 points. In second place is Ferrari, led by Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz. They have really struggled this year having 7 DNFs (did not finish) in just 15 races. In third, only 30 points behind Ferrari, is Mercedes. 

At the start of the year they had big issues with their car, but as of recently they have been the 2nd best team over the past 5 races. Though this is still disappointing for them as they have been dominating the F1 scene for the past 5-10 years.

Drive to Survive:

If you have never heard of this show, this is F1’s attempt to expose the world to F1. Now four seasons in, Drive to Survive’s popularity has skyrocketed in recent times.  It has got F1 going from 949,000 viewers last season to 1.4 million now (per race), reeling in many new F1 fans. That’s a 49% increase from last year’s viewership.

This series shows you everything behind the scenes and features some of the best driver rivalries. The show featured a massive rivalry between Alpine and Alpha Tauri for the 5th place position in 2021, which was a very intense rivalry that came down to the wire. Drivers Lando Norris and Daniel Riccardo also get into a bit of a rivalry, and in an epic drivers championship race, it all comes down to the last race of the year between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton.

How to Watch F1:

If you want to watch Formula 1 most of the races are on ESPN. The only exceptions are the US and Mexican Grand Prix, which are on ABC. ESPN also has the rights to qualifying.