Race Weekend

Ah the race weekend…it’s not all about Sunday you know! There’s a whole week of preparation during the run up to the race; and regardless of where it is in the world, it’s the same set-up. Apart from Monaco, where Friday practice happens on Thursday instead.

Monday/Tuesday:

It’s the job of the crew to lug their kit from their home base to the various tracks in the calendar. The European races tend to be the favourites as it’s just a matter of hopping on the trucks and driving there. However with the advent of a more global F1, it’s more likely that they have to freight the goods over…and tackle customs. And jet-lag. And food poisoning.

Once they have arrived it’s time to begin setting up the motor homes and garages.

Wednesday/Thursday:

The mechanics get on with piecing the cars together; this has to be done by Thursday so they can undergo inspection, just to make sure they’re conforming to the technical regulations. This is also a time where the race team can practice pit stops outside their garage, as well as do a walk of the track to check conditions.

The drivers and media also arrive. FIA Press conferences are held in the afternoon and teams often offer interviews with their drivers in their motor homes.

Friday:

Considered the first day of the racing weekend at it features the first and second free practice. (All times are approximate).

FP1 (Free Practice 1): 1.5 hours, this doesn’t count towards grid position on Sunday, but is instead used for getting the car set up for qualifying.

FP2 (Free Practice 2): 1.5 hours long. Same as above. Another FIA press conference takes place after the second practice.

Saturday:

FP3 (Free Practice 3): Final preparation for qualifying.

Qualifying (the big one): Split into three sections, the aim is to set the fastest time.

Q1: Everyone goes out for 20 minutes, the bottom 6 drop out

Q2: Top 17 go out for 15  minutes, bottom 6 drop out

Q3: Top 10 go out for 10 minutes to determine pole position

On both Friday and Saturday, teams also allow the media to conduct interviews with their drivers and staff in their motor homes and hold special events with their sponsors (essential for securing funding).

Sunday:

At the majority of Grand Prix locations the race will start at 14:00, with exceptions due to what time they air on television. Races are, on average, 190 miles and usually take 1.5 hours in dry weather. One important rule to note is that there is a maximum time of 2 hours, and if the race hasn’t finished by then the race is ended with the current leader winning. If less that 75% of the race has been completed then half points will be awarded.

Points System:

Position Points
1 25
2 18
3 15
4 12
5 10
6 8
7 6
8 4
9 2
10 1

Once the race has finished and the winner declared; the top three are awarded trophies on the podium by local dignitaries. The fourth person you see up there is chosen by the race winner; and is usually their race engineer or team principal, they accept the constructors’ trophy. Then the top three take part in a televised press conference, followed by one for the print media.

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