Time to face the facts, America. Formula 1 auto racing blows NASCAR away. Nothing like open-wheel racing at the highest professional level.
Don’t believe us? Check out the Netflix series Formula 1: Drive to Survive. That should settle any debate.
With drivers routinely hitting top speeds well over 200 mph, Formula 1 is the real deal. Since the first World Championship Grand Prix in 1950, 43 drivers have died in the seat of a Formula 1 car. It’s a life-or-death sport, and that’s why the rules are strict and precise.
The “Formula” in the name, after all, refers to a set of rules to which all participants and vehicles must conform. Many of which you’re probably not aware of. So let’s take a look at some them.
F1 drivers have to have an “F1 Super Licence”
With European spelling, of course, as it’s issued by the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA). The licence involves an intense written test and prior racing experience. Sorry, but your state-issued driver’s license is not enough.
F2 drivers must be 18 years old to compete.
The Max Verstappen rule, implemented after Verstappen made his Formula 1 debut at age 17 in 2015. The 24-year-old driver is the reigning Formula 1 world champion. Born in Belgium, but he races under the Dutch flag.
Cars and drivers must meet a weight minimum
For the 2022 season, the driver and car must weigh a combined minimum of 1,759 lbs for safety and speed reasons. Weights are added to cars where the driver is too light to help level the playing field.
Drivers have to weigh themselves after each race
To make sure the car and driver meet their minimum weight. And because drivers often drop four to eight lbs during a race due to sweating in the high temperatures in the car – it can reach up to 122 degrees Fahrenheit. Drivers sometimes require medical attention or an IV after a race.
There’s only one way to change car number
And that’s to win the season-long championship. At the very start of their F1 career, drivers must choose a permanent racing number. Only the reigning world champion can swap numbers following his winning season – and the only number he can switch to is #1.