Psst… kids! We’ll let you in on a secret: Formula 1 isn’t only for grown-ups. Find out what it’s all about with our guide just for you
It might just look like cars zooming around a track, but there’s a lot more to Formula 1 than you think.
The Formula 1 championship is an international series that includes races from March until November. This year, the drivers have already been to Australia, Japan, Mexico and Canada, before making a last stop in Abu Dhabi at Yas Marina Circuit.
Each time drivers complete a race, they are awarded points depending on where they finish, and at the end, all the points are added up.
The drivers are from all over the world, including Spain, France, Finland and the UK, and they compete with different teams, such as Ferrari, Red Bull and Mercedes, with two drivers racing for each team.
The Abu Dhabi track, Yas Marina Circuit, is 5.55km long, and drivers have to complete 55 laps to finish the race. Usually the Abu Dhabi race would determine the winner but Lewis Hamilton has already won as he has the most points.
Learn the terms
It might sound like everyone around you is talking rubbish, but here’s what all these important Formula 1 words mean…
- Chassis (sha-see): This is the car’s main structure. It has to be super-strong to protect the driver from crashes and help him go as fast as possible.
- Cockpit: The driver sits here and it’s specially moulded to his body. Much like in an aeroplane cockpit, this is where the steering wheel and controls are.
- G-force: This refers to gravity – what goes up must come down. On Earth, we experience a g-force of 1g, which means things fall at a certain speed. But when the drivers go fast, they can experience five times that amount – we can even experience it on some rollercoasters – meaning they feel an intense amount of pressure.
- Pit stop: When a driver needs to change tyres or has a problem with their car, they stop at designated areas off the track called a pit stop, where members from their team are ready to help.
- Pole position: This is the first place on the track where drivers start the race, and is given to the driver with the best lap time in the practice round the day before the big race.
- Safety car: The safety car drives in front of the race’s leading driver in case of any problems that require the race to be slowed down.
Know your flags
During the race, you might see lots of different flags being waved about to help things go smoothly. Here’s what the main ones mean…
- Chequered: This is the most famous one. It’s waved at the end of the race when the drivers cross the finish line.
- Yellow: Just like in nature, yellow means there’s danger ahead.
- Green: All clear.
- Red: This flag means the race has been stopped, usually due to an accident.
- Black: If a driver sees a black flag, it’s bad news and he should return to the pit.
Did you know?
- The fastest speed at a Formula 1 race was set by Juan Pablo Montoya in 2005, who recorded 372.6 kph.
- Formula 1 helmets are some of the strongest things in the world – one of the tests to make sure they’re good enough heats them up to 800 degrees Celsius for 45 seconds. That’s the same temperature as lava!
- The very first race took place on 13th May, 1950.
- The suspension, which is the front part of the race car, is so strong that it can hold up to two tonnes of pressure, which is about the same weight as a fully-grown walrus.
- The car tyres get so hot during the race that you could cook an egg on them.
Off to the races? Don’t forget…
- Ear protectors: The race can get really loud, so protect your ears.
- Sunglasses: So you can see all the action!
- Sunscreen: Even the top racers don’t leave the house without theirs.
- Accessories: Why not wear an outfit or bring a flag in your favourite team’s colours to show your support?