Lawson Program Personal Interest Project: Formula One Racing

In the Lawson Program, time is set aside each week for students to work on a personal interest project (PIP) of their choosing. Many of our students enjoy dedicating this time to creative pursuits such as model making or art, while others might research a topic of interest. This term, one of our students with a passion for Formula One racing has been using his PIP time to research the history and details of this sport.

Here is a short excerpt from this excellent and very detailed project:

F1 is short for Formula One , a world wide sport that started on the 13th of May, 1950 at Silverstone, Britain, with 21 drivers.  Among them was a Thai prince called Birabongse Bhanudej Bhanuband (also known as Prince Bria or B.Bria).  There was also a Swiss Baron, Emmanuel ‘Toulo’ de Graffenried, and a well known jazz musician.

The First Formula One Race, 1950

The most well known F1 drivers are Micheal Schumacher, who is the overall most successful F1 driver, and Lewis Hamilton, the most successful F1 driver in recent history. 

     Michael Schumacher             

Lewis Hamilton

The best driver of all time in my opinion is Ayrton Senna. He may not have the most wins or world championships but in his time of racing between 1984 to 1994 Senna proved to be one of the best, with 3 championships and winning 35 races. Before his tragic death on the 1st May 1994 at the San Marino Grand Prix he proved that he was the best F1 driver in history.

Other people think it’s Micheal Schumacher who is the most successful F1 driver; he has won the most World Championships with a total of 7 World Championships and 91 Grand Prix wins. He retired in 2012 but permanently retired in December 2013 due to a tragic injury while skiing with his family. He has been in a coma ever since, with very few details released about his condition.

People new to F1 think Lewis Hamilton is the best F1 driver. He has a total of 6 world championships, one away from Michael Schumacher’s record of 7 World Championships. Lewis also has 90 Grand Prix wins and counting. He is the most dominant driver in recent F1 racing history.

Ayrton Senna

Who’s the best team? The best team in F1 is definitely Ferrari with a total of 16 world championships and 239 race wins over the past 70 years; although they have dropped off in recent years with their last constructors’ championship win in 2008. The best team in recent history is Mercedes, with a total of 6 world championships and 97 race wins over the past 50 years. Mercedes has dominated in the last decade or so with their last constructors’ win in 2019 and the team is probably going to win this year’s constructors’ championship as well.



How does Formula 1 work? F1, like most other sports, has a point system, teams, strategy to win and rules/regulations that everyone needs to follow, including the drivers and teams. However, it is also very different from other sports. Teams have a certain amount of laps you need to finish, which differs for each track but the average is around 55 laps. Some races go under 44 laps but the race with the longest amount of laps is Monaco with 78 laps. Monaco has the shortest lap length with 3.3 kilometres, so it needs more laps to finish. The longest track on the F1 calendar is Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium. It is 7 kilometres long and is also considered one of the most difficult tracks.

Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps

There are 2 drivers in a team: number one driver and number two.  The number one gets the preferred strategy of the race, is usually the better driver and most of the time has been in the team longer. There are two championships: the constructor and the driver championship. Points are given to the top 10 drivers: first place gets 25 points, second gets 18, 15 for third then 12, 10 , 8, 6, 4, 2  and 1 point for tenth place. An additional point is given to the driver if they get the fastest lap of the race and are in the top 10. Constructor points are given the same way, but you have two drivers so both of their points will be added up and given to the team, whereas the drivers also keep their points separately.

There are currently 10 teams and 20 drivers. Mercedes, RedBull Racing, Racing Point, Mclaren , Ferrari, Renault, AlphaTauri, Alfa Romeo Racing, Haas F1 team and Williams. The 20 drivers are Lewis Hamilton, Valtteri Bottas, Max Verstappen, Alexander Albon, Lance Stroll, Sergio Perez, Lando Norris, Carlos Sainz, Charles Leclerc, Sebastian Vettel, Daniel Riccardo, Esteban Ocon, Danil Kvyat, Pierre Gasly, Antonio Giovinazzi, Kimi Raikkonen, Kevin Magnussen, Romain Grosjean, Nicholas Latifi and George Russell.

2020 Formula One teams

Taken from F1 Racing Personal Interest Project by F.S.