HindustanTimes Fri,26 Dec 2014
F1's not-so-frequently asked questions
Hindustan Times
New Delhi, September 04, 2011
First Published: 00:56 IST(4/9/2011)
Last Updated: 01:00 IST(4/9/2011)

HT brings to you an overview of Formula One, the sections of which will be elaborated on in the days to come. But here's where you get your first couchside driving lesson - suit up!

Basics first, what is it?

Formula One is the highest class of single-seater auto racing in the world, the word 'formula' referring to the rules which all participating teams must adhere to. It has its roots in European Grand Prix Motor Racing.

Is there someone who oversees the entire shindig?

Like other sports, F1 also has a parent body to answer to —Federation Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA) that was established in 1904 and is headquartered in Paris.

So, where do these guys race?

An F1 season consists of a series of races called Grands Prix (pronounced graw-prees, not a testimony to the male ego) that are held on 'circuits' with some races being held on public roads too. Twenty races were supposed to be held this year but due to the uprising in Bahrain, there will be 19.

How many teams and drivers? And what exactly are they competing for?

There are 24 drivers on the grid on race day , two each from 12 teams. There are two World Championships up for grabs - one for the drivers, the other for the constructors.

What are all those flags about?

Marshalls are the guys who deliver and ensure efficient, safe racing and are equipped with flags that indicate danger (yellow), stopped session (red), among others to the drivers.

So, how profitable is it and just how many people subscribe to it as a religion?

According to Formula Money report (2011), F1's holding company Delta Topco made $137.1 m (Rs 616.5 crore). Their chief Bernie Ecclestone, who heads the Formula One Management  group, has made more than $148 million from his stake in DT. Last year, F1 commanded a viewership of 527 million - that's more than the population of the USA!

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