Formula 1 is full of numbers and statistics. It is a sport that lives by and for figures: every tenth, every hundredth, and every thousandth-second counts. That is why it is essential to unravel the details that are not only about numbers. This sport is also about stories, memories, traditions, and coincidences.
Because there are not only 20 crazy people who risk their lives every weekend to try to be the fastest: behind every athlete and every hero, there is a chronology, as well as a context and a legacy.
Many people are fascinated by the world of car racing, and want to unlock the mysteries behind it so that they can engage more deeply with the sport – whether that’s because they want to bet on it and increase their odds of winning, or just because they want to be able to share interesting facts with friends.
Formula 1 represents many different things to different people; it’s a way of bonding, an opportunity to feel the thrill of speed even as a viewer, and a chance to make money if you’re into the gambling side of things. You don’t have to be a pro already in order to enjoy this, either – you can always skim through some history of past races and check out the F1 odds for the last races of the season; you’ll soon know everything you need! You’ll also see what we mean when we say that this sport is about so much more than colorful cars that go around the track until they get tired.
F1, apart from being complex and convoluted at times, is nourished by countless behind-the-scenes adventures that deserve to be told – for their extravagance, for the fun of it, or to broaden the general knowledge about an increasingly popular sport among society. For this reason, we invite you to learn about 6 curiosities of Formula 1!
1. Why is F1 called “Grand Circus”?
In every Grand Prix, the same family of drivers, engineers, bosses, organizers, suppliers, logistics, etc., travels. It is always the same faces that go around the world, traveling to each circuit – just like a circus when it tours. The Grand Circus is also associated with the Roman circus, and this term began to be used in the 1950s and is still used today.
2. What is the halo used for on F1 cars?
The halo is a safety feature that F1 incorporated as a result of the accident suffered by Jules Bianchi in the 2014 Japanese GP. It is a component that surrounds the driver’s cockpit and protects him from flying parts, tires, and various external elements of the track. It supports up to a weight of 12 tons and began to be used officially in the 2018 season.
3. 18-inch wheels
Pirelli introduced new, larger tires in 2022. The rims became 18 inches instead of 13 as in previous years. The Italian brand carried out more than 10,000 hours of testing and more than 5,000 hours of simulation and developed more than 70 virtual prototypes, accumulating more than 20,000 kilometers of running between all the teams. Due to the increased size, pilots complained about the lack of visibility, but, as with the halo, they got used to it.
4. The most embarrassing race in history
The 2005 United States Grand Prix went down in history as the ultimate F1 embarrassment in living memory. That year, a tire war was going on: Michelin versus Bridgestone. Going into Indianapolis, the teams using the Michelin compound could not handle the loads of the oval, exposing their drivers to the risk of serious accidents at high speeds.
Before the race, Michelin had lobbied to include a chicane to reduce speed and minimize risk on the oval. In the end, it didn’t happen and on the next day’s formation lap, all the teams with Michelin shoes pitted and refused to participate. Only six cars (all Bridgestone) raced in that GP: the Ferraris, the Jordans, and the Minardi.
The F1 ticket-paying public started to boo and throw objects on the track. This was Michael Schumacher’s only victory in 2005 and Jordan’s last podium in the category – but what fans really remember was the failed race. It took years for F1 to regain the trust of the American audience.
5. Fastest stop in history
Max Verstappen holds the current record. His pit stop tire change record is 1.82 seconds. It happened during the Brazilian GP in 2019, a race the Dutchman won. The record is unlikely to be beaten in the coming times: the 2022 tires weigh more than the previous ones, and, to top it off, F1 introduced sensors in the middle of 2021 to monitor the speed of the tire change to reduce the danger and make sure the tires are fitted to the axels correctly.
6. The hybridization of F1
In 2014, F1 gave way to the hybrid era, but with a lot of criticism. The engines were slower and quieter, the races were more tedious, and there was no equality. In addition, it was a disaster statistically since only one team won until 2021: Mercedes. The superiority of the German team inflated Lewis Hamilton’s F1 numbers.
Previously, in the era of naturally aspirated V8 engines, the current seven-time champion was subordinate to Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso. Fortunately, Ferrari and Red Bull have begun to stand up to the star team in recent years, bringing interest back to the sport and generating new audience growth.