Inaugurated in 1950, Formula 1 has long been the pinnacle of motor racing – even if it has faced stern opposition from endurance racing categories and even the World Rally Championship at times. But nowadays F1 far outstrips any other form of motorsport with its global reach, vast television audiences and star drivers who are among the highest paid athletes in the world.
How much of F1’s recent popularity can be attributed to the Netflix documentary Drive to Survive? Plenty, no doubt, but Formula 1 would surely become more popular still if its latest set of regulations, introduced at the start of the 2022 season, fulfil their stated objective of closing up the field and encouraging more wheel-to-wheel racing. F1 certainly has the globally recognised personalities to back up its top-flight billing – multiple World Champions like Lewis Hamilton, Fernando Alonso and Max Verstappen are among the biggest names the sport has ever produced, while the likes of Lando Norris, George Russell and Charles Leclerc are helping to bring new, younger fans to F1.
Car manufacturers have long treated Formula 1 like a cheap hotel, coming and going as they pleased – or when it suited their marketing plans (and budgets) to do so. Ferrari has missed only a handful of Grands Prix in the F1 era and is surely the marque most closely associated with F1. It is certainly the most successful car maker in terms of F1 World Championships, its tally running to 16 Constructors’ titles and 15 Drivers’ crowns. British marque McLaren is next with 20 championships in total.
In recent times Mercedes has been a dominant force, clinching eight Constructors’ titles in succession from 2014 before stumbling in 2022 as it misjudged the vastly different technical regulations. Red Bull Racing will be hoping to dominate the sport in a similar way, and in Verstappen and design boss Adrian Newey, it clearly has the people to do so.
The Intercooler’s Formula 1 coverage, led by former F1 driver and current Sky Sports F1 television pundit Karun Chandhok, always looks for the truth behind the sensational headlines, delivering insight that others often miss. We also celebrate the sport’s incomparable heritage, recognising the great drivers, teams, cars and race tracks that have made Formula 1 what it is throughout its eight decades.