Grit, glitz, glamour...!

Grit, glitz, glamour...!

Formula One

Grit, glitz, glamour...!

Not just a race: From swanky cars to saucy pit girls, Formula One has everything it takes to catch eye balls.

But why is Formula One considered the pinnacle of motor sport? Irrespective of whether it deserves that status or not, the glamor and glitz attached to it can’t be associated with other motor sport desciplines.

The awe-inspiring World Rally Championship -- Production World Rally Championship included --  has become a mere whisper in the crowd while Moto GPs are poorly marketed and as a result have taken a beating. The Superbike series has and will remain a foothold.
Moto cross, auto cross, super cross, dirt, drift, karting etc are all just other ways of one expressing the thrill of speed, but they have all struggled to attract the number of eye balls that F1 manages.

It’s not difficult to understand the reason for the yawining gulf in popularity between F1 and others. All one needs to do is stand next to an F1 engine -- without ear guards -- running at 18,000 rpm.

Once you get over the fact that your ears are pointless appendages at the end of a tuning session, it makes you wonder how a 2.4 litre, V6 engine could pump out more than 700 brake horse power.

Brilliant aerodynamics, super suspension settings, life-saving monocoques, interesting tyre compounds, to go with one of the most technologically advanced engines in history, have played a role in making Formula One what it is today.

But the car is certainly not the only thing that has given F1 the tag of ‘world’s greatest single seater racing event’.

As much as people want to argue that Formula One is not about drivers and their skills any more, one cannot altogether eliminate the inspiring presence of the journeymen. The men, who despite all safety regulations in place, always tread the thin rope and brave through pilot-like G forces -- sometimes as high as five Gs.

It’s quite fascinating to think that Formula One is meant to come up with the greatest cars in the world and that can only be provided with great technology. Great technology makes life easier for a driver -- that’s not something the viewers want. Without the viewers there is no Formula One, but without technology there is no growth.

Formula One has constantly undergone this tumultuous battle within itself, but somehow has come on top time and again. And one of the primary reasons behind their success even in a day and age when eco-friendly cars rule the roost, is the Federation Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) and an eighty-year-old man by the name Bernie Ecclestone.

The FIA, headed by former Ferrari team principal Jean Todt --  who was behind Michael Schumacher’s dominance during the start of the nineties -- has been the most pro-active motor sport organisation in the world, but it was Ecclestone who made the Grand Prix (Grand Prize) as grand as it is today.

When Ecclestone bought the Brabham team in 1971, he gained a seat in the Formula One Constructors’ Association, and eventually went on to become the president in 1978.
Before Ecclestone made a move to make F1 a money-making machine, the circuit owners controlled the income of the teams and negotiated with each team individually. The little man, however, persuaded every team to hunt in a group through the FOCA (Formula One Constructors’ Association), and overnight got hold of all the rights required for advertising Formula One. F1 has never been the same again.

During the early 1990s, Formula One Group created a number of trademarks, an official logo, and an official website to give it that corporate image, and through this period Ecclestone experimented with a digital television package -- known as Bernievision -- which was launched at the 1996 German Grand Prix in cooperation with German digital television service ‘DF1’.

What the service offered was several simultaneous feeds -- super signal, onboard, top of field, backfield, highlights, pitlane and timing -- and this was introduced across the world. Even though, due to some financial issues, the package was no more in their delivery system, it returned during the late 2000s with a bang.

The close-circuit racing championship, after these developments, has attracted one of the largest global audiences in the world, with a ball-park figure of 600 million viewers per race since. Which is astounding considering the so-called drop in interest for the race of the cars more than the men behind the cars.

While the tv ratings have gone up by a small number every weekend, work on the cars continues and now FIA, much to the delight of many an envioronmentalist, has brought a series of stipulations to help cut down pollution. FIA has even decided to convert the engine to a 1.6 litre, V6 engine in 2014.

From BMW’s 1,300 bhp mania to a 700 bhp cruise, from an elitist racing series to the world’s most recognised motor sport event, from dirty mechanics to swanky cheer girls.

Formula One has seen it all, and if history is anything to go by, it will continue to reign supreme, even in a world where motor sport is considered a waste of resources.

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