All About F1 Racing
Claire Miles - June 12, 2023

To make their cars quicker than those of their competitors, Formula 1 teams invest millions of dollars on their vehicles’ development. However, decisions on strategy—often decided at a team headquarters thousands of miles away—are frequently what determine whether races are won or lost.

The team radio is used to communicate with drivers and engineers about track conditions, the weather, and accidents that occur during the race, but tire use offers the most compelling opportunity to overtake the competition. Teams will begin to design their tyre strategy using computer simulations and tyre data before they even arrive at the racetrack. They have a choice between three tyre compounds—soft, medium, and hard—with the additional requirement that two of them be utilized at once during a race. Making the right decisions may make a car quicker than the competition’s vehicle and cut down on time-consuming pit stops. Additionally, during a race, the strategy is continually shifting.

Getty Images/ Anadolu Agency/ David Mareuil

Teams must make sure the car always has the same tyre compound on each wheel and change all four tyres during a pit stop. Each wheel has a specific tyre assigned to it. The front tyres cannot be switched with the rear tyres because the rear tyres have 10 millimeters more thread than the front tyres. They also must choose which option will result in the fastest race finish: using the slower, more durable tyres that require fewer pit stops, or deciding if the faster, softer tyres are worth spending more time in the pits for. Engineers will be assigned to each team to analyze the data collected by sensors embedded in the tyres to assess each team’s performance.

These judgements are frequently made at the corporate office, where strategists and engineers are crunching figures and monitoring what other cars are doing. Staff members will be assigned tasks like listening in on other teams’ radio transmissions, monitoring tyre wear, or checking the weather radar in case of rain. They will be stationed in mission control-style rooms with rows of displays and computers.

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