The Formula of Speed


The desire for ultimate power and speed pushed man to invent a sport like F1 in the 50s. Thrusting post world war technologies into making the fastest cars on the planet with the most powerful engines known to mankind. Manufacturers like Alpha Romeo & Ferrari roared through F1 tracks like Monte Carlo, Silverston, Nurburgring & Monza.
But F1 cars are just man made machines and nothing more without its driver. Its the legends like Fangio, Nikki Lauda, Ayrton Senna & Michael Schumacher that defined F1. Such legends who were driven by a common vision in their minds which was to cheat death and win, & so did many of them. F1 is a sport that is one of the most dangerous ones in the world where you are witnessing drivers pushing their cars to the scary limits of physics & speed, putting their foot down, full acceleration, braking as late as possible, coming as close to the side walls and the limits of the tracks, trying hard not to crash into one another from centimetres away. Races go on in all weather conditions be it rain, heat, sleet, tropical & cold. Drivers need to deliver their best. F1 houses 2 competitions going side by side. First is of the drivers competing other drivers. Second is manufacturers keeping up with the rules of safety and engagement with FIA. Every team can have 2 cars & drivers, and sometimes you even get to see the drivers of the same team competing for pole positions, like Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost and mist of the times. This also leads to rivalries that make them go into separate teams later so they can have full advantage of their competition and ego.

But this isn’t where all of it ends. Fans gather up from all over the world to witness the action in reality. The thrill and the sweet noises the V12 engines make, fans like to capture all of it in the moment and in their own way. F1 cars are designs keeping in mind the safety regulations, performance output, a common carbon fibre tub and chassis & most crucial, the aerodynamics. You know , you could almost say the F1 is all about aeronautical engineering because most of the technologies percolate down from fighter jets. It is said that an F1 car with all its spoilers & diffusers & front splitter creates so much downforce travelling at 300kmph that it almost measures up weighing more than two double decker buses put on top of it, all of this just to keep it from flying off the track. Imagine your family car travelling at those speeds and hitting a side curb, it would probably send it off track and maybe off to another continent all together. Jokes apart its a terrible idea and should never be tried at home. Instead you can always visit you nearest local F1 track on a weekend to feel all the thrill and speed it has to offer.
For an F1 driver though this is just another day at the office. Its a life like that of a superstar or a rock star or even that of a prince for whence he enters the track he is greeted by fine young women holding an umbrella for him in the sun & a big bottle of champagne & a trophy waiting for him at the end of each race, if only he makes it in the top three that is. But a single hairline mistake could change just all of that and send him spinning out of the track. The present drivers are lucky to be in the 21st century as the yesteryears were not as forgiving, these days if a driver is distracted, or looses control of his car, or if another car hits his car, then the car crashes and the race is over for him. The driver steps out safely and curses himself to be a fool to make that mistake and walks off the crash in one piece and calls it a day. But back in the early days till the 90s the story was rather different and much harsh. The drivers making such mistakes would have to pay it with their lives, no one got to live to see another day. One of the unucky souls to lose his life on an F1 track was the legendary Ayrton De Silva Senna who’s steering column broke while making a long turn at the speed of 300kmph +. The car sprung out of the track & hit the side walls of IMOLA while flying, taking the legend’s life in the next 15 minutes due to massive brain haemorrhaging. After which FIA was forced to take massive and drastic measures to take necessary. Steps to ensure the driver’s safety and to consider it as top priority in F1.

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Shivendra Pratap Singh

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