By:  Chris A

Formula 1

              Have you been hearing more about Formula 1 recently?  How about the inaugural Grand Prix in Miami?  Or the news about the race coming to Vegas in 2023?  The USA is hosting two Formula 1 races in 2022 and will be hosting three races in 2023.  Which is the most out of any country by a margin of two.  Once again, we are the best folks! Ignore the fact we haven’t had an American driver on the grid since 2015, but hey we’ve got Haas.  Haas are the only American team on the grid, and they’ve already scored more points this year in two races than they managed to score in the entire two previous seasons.. combined.  So if you need a team to root for and aren’t afraid of a little masochism then by all means let me introduce you to Haas.  Anyway I digress.

I believe the stage is set for the sport to take hold and explode in the United States in the coming years.  I have a nose for these things and this one I can smell.  No, I didn’t fart.  Well, I may have, but this isn’t that.  American expansion is clearly a major objective of the FIA considering 2023 we will host three Grand Prixes within our border.

So if you’ve ever been interested in cool shit then Formula 1 is FOR YOU my friend. The world’s fastest cars, manufactured by the greatest companies, driven by the most elite drivers, all out for 305km.  It beats the piss out of a bunch of Fords making a left turn for two hours.

So, if you’re new to the sport allow me to be your sherpa.  I will guide you into the world of Formula 1 and reveal to you a glimpse of its glory or I’m going to try at least.  For those of you more experienced I ask you bear with me while we cover the basics and initiate the neophytes to the grid. 

Why start watching now?  The sport is now more accessible than ever, and we are only two races into the 2023 season with the third race approaching fast this weekend.  And weren’t you paying attention to all that stuff about it taking hold in the USA?  C’mon man!

Now with that covered let’s set the stage for this season.  The FIA initiated a massive overhaul of the rules for the 2022 season with the key focus being on “race-ability.”  The new regulations also slightly reset the field, ending Mercedes dominance over the last 8 years.  After the first two races it’s clear the new regulations have worked, the cars are able to battle better than I’ve seen in the last four years, and all signs point to a blood bath.  So this is the perfect moment to jump in.

This upcoming race week F1 is travelling to Australia for the Australian GP at the Melbourne Grand Prix Circuit.  ESPN always covers the races, considering this one is on the other side of the globe the race starts for us at 1AM Sunday (Eastern Time) or 12AM Sunday (Central Time).  Full Weekend Schedule can be found here.  The timing for this race is unfortunate for Americans, but this is a rare case.  If you want to go all out check out F1-TV ,but the ESPN coverage will suffice unless you’re like me and want to geek out with live data and onboard driver cams. 

What to watch for this week?  We haven’t raced in Australia since 2019 and there have been track modifications since then.  This iteration of the Australian GP will include 4 DRS zones.  We saw the advantage in the straight-line speed from Redbull compared to Ferrari last race at Jeddah, but Ferrari still had the overall pace advantage.  I’m expecting another Redbull vs Ferrari battle for P1, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Mercedes has made significant improvements and begins to apply pressure.

Qualifying will give us a fresh benchmark on all the teams. I hope Haas can continue to improve and remain a top midfield contender this season.

As for drivers I think we will see a more calculated battle between Max and Charles.  As we saw in Jeddah, it pays to lurk behind until the DRS detection zone.  Making your move too early results in your opponent picking up the DRS and just taking the position back.  I expect we will see a lot of calculated positioning due to the DRS zones this season.  Considering the 4 DRS zones this race- it will be telling.

DRS– You will hear this acronym a lot, and if you don’t know what it is then you had no idea what I was talking about up above.  DRS stands for Drag Reduction System.  Essentially the rear wing of the car moves into a more aerodynamic position allowing for higher top speeds on a straight.  Drivers only receive the ability to use the DRS if they are within a 1 second interval of the car in front of them when they pass through the DRS detection zone.

Simply put DRS gives the chasing car more speed on an upcoming straight to make overtaking easier.  

Thanks for reading folks -that’s really all you need to start watching, but the more you know the more spectacular the sport becomes so if I’ve piqued your interest then please continue to follow me for updates and more in-depth background.  In the future I will do an analysis on the upcoming race weekend, and then do a deep dive on a relevant topic.  Considering the 4 DRS zones in this upcoming race I thought that might be a pertinent start.

Again, I think we are in for a hell of a race, considering the DRS zones, and this is going to be a thrilling season. Whether you are new or experienced I hope you’ll tag along for the journey with us.

-F1 Six Pack Coverage 

BONUS:  Brief background on DRS – It was introduced to encourage overtaking because the cars had trouble following each other through turns and corners.  The reason being essentially a chasing car will lose downforce which equals grip when following another car due to the aerodynamics of the vehicles. 

The following car is riding in what’s referred to as “dirty air.”  I mentioned “Race-ability” earlier and here is how that links in.  All the massive 2022 season regulation changes were focused on this key concept.  The changes reduced the dirty air effect allowing a chasing car to follow closer which leads to more overtaking and more exciting racing.  Now with DRS, and the ability to chase closely through corners, this season is primed for more dog fights than we’ve seen in any season of the last decade.  It’s early to tell, but at this rate I wouldn’t be surprised if the FIA decides to nerf DRS next season.  


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