RaceThe pinnacle of high-speed auto sport, Formula One or F1, is estimated to be worth $4 billion per year. The commercial rights to the sport alone generate annual revenues of $1 billion. Nearly 600 million sport enthusiasts from 128 countries tune in regularly to follow F1 circuit championships.

The season includes a series of races, known as Grands Prix, organized around the world on F1 circuits and public roads. The results of each race are evaluated using a points system to determine two annual World Championships—one for drivers and one for constructors.

F1 Yoga: Body, Mind, and Soul

Modern Formula One cars are mid-engine open cockpit, open wheel single-seaters primarily made of carbon-fiber composites. The entire car weighs only 1,523 pounds, the minimum weight set by regulations. F1 cars can race up to speeds of 220 mph with the rev limiter reaching an astronomical range of 15,000 RPM while being capable of lateral acceleration in excess of 5g when turning. In sharp contrast, a high-performance 2-seater mid-engine street car like the Porsche Cayman, which is considered ultra-light and weighs around 3,600 lbs., can only reach 7,500 rpm while achieving 1g of lateral acceleration.

Since 1981, F1 teams have been required to build their car chassis, which is distinct from most other races like the IndyCar Series which allows teams to purchase their chassis. When the Formula One series began in 1950, eighteen teams competed for the coveted title. Ferrari remains the only team competing today since the formation of F1 series in 1950.

Cost to Play

Inductees are required to cough-up a princely sum of £25 million. Because of the  stiff barrier to entry, potential entrants/constructors prefer to buy existing teams (e.g., B.A.R. purchase of Tyrrell and Midland purchase of Jordan). In 2006, the total spending of all eleven competing teams was $2,900 million (Toyota $418.5, Ferrari $407, McLaren $402, Honda $381, BMW-Sauber $355, Renault $324, Red Bull $252, Williams $196, Midland F1/Spyker-MF1 $120, Toro Rosso $75, and Super Aguri $57 million).

The cost of designing and building mid-tier cars can reach $120 million. F1 teams pay entry fees of $500,000 plus added amounts based on prior performance. F1 drivers pay a Super-license fee of $10,000 plus added amounts based on prior performance. Therefore, you must pay-to-play.

F1 drivers earn the highest salary of any class of drivers. The highest paid driver in 2010 was Fernando Alonso, who received $40 million from Ferrari. The top Formula One drivers get paid more than IndyCar or NASCAR drivers who earn around a tenth of F1 pay. Teams get substantial amount of money for winning F1 series races, or even finishing in the top 10 list, which can hover around the $100 million mark. the bottom line is that it pays to play.

The Maestro

In 1978, Bernie Ecclestone became the President of Formula One Constructors’ Association (FOCA). He has been credited with rearranging and managing F1’s commercial rights and catapulting the speeding autobahn into a multibillion-dollar business. Ecclestone trick was to persuade the teams to bargain as a collective group rather than contract individually (we are well aware of the economic benefits of collective bargaining!). The new contracting arrangement meant that FOCA, or the constructors, effectively acquired the responsibility of negotiating and distributing television revenue.

Grands Prix

The inaugural 1950 world championship season included seven races. The number for the 2014 season was nineteen. Not surprisingly, much of the races are held in Europe. Traditionally, the country hosting a Grand Prix carries the name of the country. The United States has held six separate Grands Prix, including the Indianapolis 500, with the additional events named after the host city.

Recent additions to the calendar include the Singapore Grand Prix (2008), Abu Dhabi Grand Prix (2009), Korean Grand Prix (2010), Indian Grand Prix (2011), United States Grand Prix (2012),a and Russian Grand Prix (2014).


In 2014, Mercedes emerged as the dominant force with Lewis Hamilton winning the championship closely followed by his main rival and team-mate, Nico Rosberg. Mercedes won 16 out of the 19 races in 2014 (the other 3 victories went to Daniel Ricciardo of Red Bull). In 2015, only Ferrari posed a negligible challenge for Mercedes. Ferrari’s driver, Vettel, won the three Grands Prix that Mercedes did not win.

Are you ready to play?

March 18, 2016; 9.48P


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