Formula 1 is truly a World Championship event, featuring races at 18 different circuits all over the globe. The season starts in Australia and ends in Japan with stops in Bahrain, Monaco, Hungary, the United States and other locales in between. A person who races an F1 car is called a pilot. These pilots experience more g-force on the ground during a race than a fighter pilot in the sky.
Don't just watch the race! Each race is preceded by a practice session and a qualifying session. Race position is determined during qualifying. Sometimes a pilot is penalized for making a mistake or for an unsanctioned modification to their car during qualifying, resulting in a starting position in the back of the grid. When this happens, a pilot will quickly try to advance during the race to compensate for the penalty--exciting racing!
Learn the circuit. Each race circuit presents its own challenge. Sometimes the challenge is racing on a city street! Other times a quick turn has to be taken at the start of the race or at the end of a long straight.
Check the weather. The temperature of the race track and the possibility of rain will affect the choice of tire. Each team arrives with a hard and a soft compound set of tires to run based on weather conditions.
Follow the race storylines. Televised races feature storylines about something relevant to the race. Will a certain pilot make a comeback? Will a particular car have a bad day? Will a team run two different strategies for each car?
Watch the celebration and press conference after the race. The press conference is an informative way to learn about the effort it took to win a race or to finish in the top 3.
The Cars - Turn up the volume! The start of an F1 race is unlike anything in the world. Twenty cars accelerating from 0 to 100 MPH in 3 seconds is an incredible sight to see and even more thrilling to hear! Know something about the technical sophistication of the cars. The cars are powered by V8 engines running special fuel to produce 750 horsepower. The combined weight of the car and pilot is less than 1500 pounds. But there's more to it than just horsepower. Notice when a pilot has an accident, he removes the steering wheel--the steering wheel in an F1 car costs 100K and has more computing power than a desktop computer. It is the inspiration for regular cars which feature "paddle shifting" on the steering wheel.
Know where the manufacturer stands in the points total. F1 features two championships. One for the pilots and one for the manufacturers. The two teams with the best records each spend 400 million dollars a year and these two teams aren't the sport's biggest spenders.