Formula 1 World Championship British Grand Prix Silverstone

Formula 1 World Championships

Name a more iconic (or formidable, entertaining, daring – you get the idea) sporting duo than Senna and Prost. We’ll wait. 

Once you’ve managed that, name a more revered sporting destination than the Autodromo Nazionale di Monza, built from the raw passion and infatuation for motor racing that the red-chested Tifosi bring to each and every race on the calendar. 

And, finally – and perhaps hardest of all – name a sporting moment that has set hearts racing more than Niki Lauda’s stunning (and against-all-odds) return to the track in 1976, just six weeks after a collision at Nürburgring that left his body bruised and burned.

Or, if you’ve joined Formula 1 a little more recently, how about the season climax of 2021 – that elbow-to-elbow tussle between reigning champion Lewis Hamilton and hot-blooded contender Max Verstappen? Highlights include a tire-to-halo collision at Monza, and a controversial overtake following the safety car that sealed Verstappen’s first title and ended Hamilton’s 4-year streak.

Formula 1 is a sport unlike any other. From the stands, fans mirror the drivers’ anguish and fury on their own faces. Every second has the power to prove calamitous or rapturous; every lap could be dissected in its own thousand-page volume. Drivers, pit crew, commentators and fans step outside of the usual flow of time each time the engines start, and a new world with new rules is created on the tarmac. 

Whether you’re a devout fan or a newcomer, here is our complete guide to Formula 1.

Formula 1: 101

  •     Formula 1 sits at the top of the pyramid for motor racing – or, more specifically, for racing open-wheel, single-seater cars. 
  •     Each year, the Formula 1 calendar is centred on the World Championship. Drivers fight for the coveted title through a series of Grand Prix.
  •     The traditional format for a Grand Prix spans 3 days – typically Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. The first day is known as Practice, the second is Qualifying, and the third is Race Day. However, since 2021, a number of Grand Prix have been spread across four days, with a Sprint Race hosted between Practice and Qualifying. This has been met with mixed opinions from drivers and fans alike. 
  •     Since the first Grand Prix in 1950, a total of 34 countries have played host to these esteemed races. Autodromo Nazionale di Monza has hosted the most Grand Prix of all. 
  •     Each season, two separate points systems are used. The first is for the drivers, who score points based on their performances in each Grand Prix, and the second is for the constructors – a reflection of the strength of the cars themselves. 
  •     F1 can reach speeds of up to 360 km/h (which is around 220 mph). Drivers are constantly battling the high heat of the cockpit, and G-forces on their bodies. 
  •     The cars themselves have gone through some incredible evolutions since the invention of the sport. One of the most significant (and controversial) changes came in 2018, when the halo was made a compulsory addition to the car. It is there to protect the driver’s head should the car be upturned, and has already proven its necessity for driver safety multiple times since 2018. 
  •     These cars cost millions of dollars to design and build. The constructors are limited to a certain amount of money each season, but teams will use underhanded tactics to slip past this cost cap. The engine alone (good for four or five Grand Prix before it needs to be replaced) is worth around $15 million – and each car has around 80,000 components. 
  •     Despite a rocky few years, Ferrari remain the most successful team in Formula 1. The Prancing Horse, backed by millions of devout ‘Tifosi’ (Ferrari fans) has seen the chequered flag some 242 times – 39 times more than second-best team McLaren, who have won 183 Grand Prix.

A Supersonic History of the F1

The history of motor racing is almost as long as the history of the car, which stretches way back into the nineteenth century. The first ever recorded motor competition, held in Paris in 1894, featured cars moving at an average speed of just over 10mph. You might be surprised to know that they weren’t actually racing, but competing on reliability instead…figures!

Anyway, Formula 1 doesn’t start to appear in the history books until much later – in 1946. The war had put a spur on technological progress – particularly of vehicles – and the world was a very different place to what it had been in the 20s and 30s. Before the war, motor racing had been gaining traction – regulations for racing had been established – but, post-war, things were finally organised into something we might recognise today. 

Interestingly, 1946 represents the year that Formula 1 (or Formula A as it was known at the time) was ‘defined’, but nobody can agree on when the first Formula A Grand Prix actually took place. Several races associated with FA took place, but the most convincing argument seems to be that the first official race took place in 1947, at the Pau Circuit in France. 

1950 marked the introduction of the first Formula 1 World Championship. The schedule included just seven races – a small number by today’s standards – beginning in Britain’s famed Silverstone Circuit and ending in Italy’s Autodromo Nazionale di Monza. This was great news for Italian fans, as Alfa Romeo’s Guiseppe Farina won the championship that year. 

In fact, Italian teams continued to dominate throughout those early years. The following three Championship titles were won by Italian teams Alfa Romeo and Ferrari (much to the delight of the Tifosi). El Maestro Juan Manuel Fangio, who had already won the 1951 Championship, broke this streak with two consecutive wins for Mercedes in 1954 and 1955, before moving to Ferrari and winning a third title in 1956

This third title was, in many ways, one of the most memorable in F1 history. British Driver Collins famously gave his car to teammate Juan Manuel Fangio during a pitstop, as Fangio’s own car was rendered undriveable by a broken steering wheel. These days, sportsmanship is, more often than not, replaced with shows of super-charged competitiveness on the track.

Fangio’s fourth title would come the following year – this time, for Maserati. 

Over these early years, the number of races within each season rose and fell. 1958 saw many changes. For starters, the Championship included an all-time high of 11 races across 11 countries, but this number dropped back down over the next decade before climbing once again. The Constructors’ Championship and rear-engines were introduced, while car sharing – the reason behind Fangio’s third title win, thanks to Collins – was outlawed.

A New Era

1958 represents the start of British dominance on the track. In the space of 18 years, British drivers won the Championship title no less than 10 times, with many of the most legendary names of British racing making their mark on the track. Anyone from the era will feel their ears turning at the mention of Mike Hawthorn, Graham Hill (father of 1996 title holder Damon Hill), Jim Clark, John Surtees, and Jackie Stewart – and for good reason. 

While we are used to seeing sponsorships tattooed across F1 cars, it remains a relatively new introduction. 1968 marked the first year for brand sponsorships – a major catalyst for the incredible wealth of F1 teams. 

The 1970 Formula 1 Championship is the only to be awarded posthumously. German driver Jochen Rindt (Lotus) suffered a fatal crash part-way through the season, but contender Jacky Ickx was unable to close the gap in the races that followed. This cemented Rindt’s name in the F1 history books – and rightly so. 

By the 1970s, some of the most revered names make their entry into the history books. Niki Lauda, Nelson Piquet, Kiki Rosberg and Jody Scheckter all began their own F1 odysseys during this decade.

1977 represented the beginning of the ‘Turbo Era’ – thankfully short-lived, as it proved incredibly dangerous to drivers (not to mention expensive). 

The 1980s were no different in terms of big names. Nigel Mansell and Alain Prost made their debuts in 1980, while Ayrton Senna first raced in F1 in 1984. Ten years later, Senna and Roland Ratzenberger both lost their lives to the sport. Their legacies would prompt a significant overhaul of safety standards in F1 cars and Grand Prix circuits. 

This was also the year that Michael Schumacher won his first Formula 1 Championship – just three years into his F1 career. He would go onto win 6 more, and rise to the very tip of the pecking order (only to be rivalled by Lewis Hamilton more than 15 years later). 

In 1996, Damon Hill won the Championship title – and, for the first time, legendary commentator Murray Walker lost for words. There was only pride. 

The Twenty-First Century

Between 2000 and 2004, Michael Schumacher went unrivalled. He matched Fangio’s record in 2001, and passed it in 2002. He would retire in 2006, a legend of the sport. 

The early 2000s also welcomed many names onto the podium that will prove familiar to younger viewers. Fernando Alonso (still racing to this day), Kimi Räikkönen, Jenson Button, Lewis Hamilton, Sebastian Vettel, and Nico Hülkenberg all enjoyed their fair share of chequered flags.

Lewis Hamilton bagged his first Championship title in 2008, but it wasn’t until 2014 that he began to dominate in the sport. Across seven years, Hamilton won 6 titles – losing once to Nico Rosberg, with whom he shared an infamous rivalry. The British driver finally matched Schumacher’s 7-title record in 2020.

Since then, young and fierce driver Max Verstappen has dominated the podium – and the F1 table. While his first title win in 2021 proved controversial, following a bizarre interpretation of the safety car rules in the final two laps of the closing race of the season (at which point, Verstappen and Hamilton were perfectly matched on points), his second win in 2022 was far more convincing. Mercedes faced a struggle to match Red Bull as constructors – and, despite early promise for Ferrari drivers Charles Le Clerc and Carlos Sainz – the Prancing Horse failed to pose a true rival to Red Bull.

Which Races are Confirmed for 2024

With the release of the 2024 F1 calendar, we can begin preparations for the next season – even as the 2023 season remains ongoing. Part of those preparations may be praying that anyone gets closer to Verstappen than they have so far in 2023, but it’s preparations nonetheless. As for the teams themselves, McClaren and Aston Martin will be looking to continue building on their successes in 2023, while Mercedes remain under pressure to get the cars back to their former glory. As for Ferrari, the tifosi are crossing their fingers that 2024 will be Charles Leclerc’s year at long last, after yet more bad luck in 2023. 

All signs point to Red Bull retaining their (at times rocky) pairing of Verstappen and Perez, but don’t expect the 2024 season to feel like a carbon copy of 2023. The upcoming season represents a key year in F1 history for two reasons: 

  • The calendar has been designed with its environmental impact in mind. To reduce flight distances, the emphasis has been placed on regionalised travel. A back-to-back-to-back clustering of Australia, Japan, and China is one such example. The scheduling of Qatar and Abu Dhabi as the final two race meets in the season is another.
  • 2024 marks the debut of a Las Vegas Grand Prix – another indication that F1 is continuing its journey stateside, whether you’re a fan of the star-studded pit walks or not. 

The 2024 calendar begins, as is routine, in Bahrain, quickly followed by Saudi Arabia. After these races is the Australia-Japan-China cluster to finish the first two months of the season. 2024 then continues as follows:

  • May 3rd-5th May: Miami
  • 17th-19th May: Emilia Romagna
  • 24th-26th May: Monaco
  • 7th-9th June: Canada
  • 21st-23rd June: Spain
  • 28th-30th June: Austria
  • 5th-7th July: United Kingdom
  • 19th-21st July: Hungary
  • 26th-28th July: Belgium
  • 23th-25th August: Netherlands
  • 30th August – 1st September: Italy
  • 13rd-15th September: Azerbaijan
  • 20th-22nd September: Singapore
  • 18th-20th October: USA
  • 25th-27th October: Mexico
  • 1st-3rd November: Brazil
  • 21st-23rd November: Las Vegas
  • 29th November – 1st December: Qatar
  • 6th-8th December: Abu Dhabi

DAZN Bet’s Predictions: The 2023 FIA Formula One World Championship

The Verstappen-Hamilton rivalry remains a hot topic – perhaps the hot topic – for fans and drivers alike. While last season didn’t quite live up to the fierce example of the 2021 Championship, fans – particularly of Hamilton – are hopeful that 12 months of R&D will prove sufficient for the Mercedes team to return with a car that lives up to its driver’s skill and expertise. If that’s the case, we may finally see a reprise of one of the most memorable battles in F1 history. 

Verstappen, of course, will not go back down the board without a fight. His teammate, Sergio Perez – who proved pivotal to his 2021 title win – remains at Red Bull. Toward the end of the 22 Championship, Verstappen shocked fans when he refused to aid in Perez’s fight to end 2nd on the table, stating only that he ‘had his reasons’. Red Bull donned their firefighter garb to put out the gossip, but it spread across the paddock regardless – particularly when Perez lost out to Charles Leclerc. 

The new season will see a few new faces in the paddock. First, there’s 21-year-old Oscar Piastri, who recently signed with McLaren following a promising journey through Alpine’s Driver Academy. Next, 27-year-old Nyck de Vries who signed with AlphaTauri, who enjoyed a successful (though brief) debut in F1 last season after Williams driver Alexander Albon took ill. And, finally, now driving alongside Albon for Williams is 22-year-old Logan Sargeant, fresh from the driver academy.

Fans are also excited to see a familiar friend – Niko Hülkenberg, who is returning to the track with Haas alongside new teammate Kevin Magnussen. F1 legend Fernando Alonso remains a prominent contender in the race, only he has relocated from Alpine to Aston Martin, where he will race alongside Lance Stroll. Canadian Nicholas Latifi is not set to return to the track this year – nor is Sebastian Vettel, who retired at the end of the season. 

All signs point to Ferrari making another strong go for the top of the table – but, if Mercedes can match Red Bull on speed and reliability, the Prancing Horses will face a tough fight.