Formula 1 Racing Rolls to New Popularity on The Hill
Formula 1 (F1), originally created in 1950, has recently started gaining popularity in the United States, and many Hopkins students are paying close attention to the outcomes of this season.
F1 runs on the basis that there are ten teams, two drivers on each team, with every team racing at 21 tracks throughout a season lasting eight to nine months. In a race week, there are three practice sessions before the qualifying round, where cars do timed laps around the circuit to determine the order cars will start for Race Day, which falls on a Sunday. F1 is the premier tier of a group of racing, which includes Formulas from 1 to 3. Formula 3 and Formula 2 drivers are rookies who are often younger than those in F1 and are planning to climb up to the 20 seats on a Formula 1 grid. F1 is split between two race tracks: street circuits and permanent tracks. The most famous street circuit is the Monaco Grand Prix due to its long history and tight track. Some of the most well known race tracks are Monza (the Tifosi of Ferrari), the oldest used track in F1, as well as Silverstone, one of the most widely attended races of the year. The 2022 season has come at the end of a pandemic and thus the end of mask and distancing restrictions that plagued the past two years. This is the first year in a long time where Mercedes is not the dominant F1 team. Benji Porosoff ’25 said, “I think that the most shocking thing about this season was the fall of Mercedes because they have been so dominant for so many seasons and now they are not.” Though Ferrari has also been having reliability issues in recent years, in 2022, this probably has reached a new level. Ferrari has also been widely criticized for lacking a reliable strategy. Luca Molinari ’24 agreed: “I can’t help but be sad about Ferrari being held back by strategy and incompetence off track.” Luke O’Connell ’23 added, “I’d say the most surprising thing about this year’s season is Ferrari’s performance. In the beginning of the season Ferrari looked absolutely amazing, exceeding everyone’s expectations out of the gates in the season's early races. In recent races, however, Ferrari have lost the strength they had early in the season due to costly mistakes.” At the midpoint of the season, the Red Bull team and Max Verstappen are clear favorites in both the Drivers and Constructors Championship, but the rest is unknown. Porosoff said, “I think that Max Verstappen will win the Drivers Championship and Red Bull will win the Constructors Championship. Additionally, I think that Mercedes will finish second in the constructors despite Ferrari having arguably the best or second best car.” O’Connell agreed: “I believe that Max Verstappen and Red Bull are the only true locks for their final position in the Championship, both in first place. For the Drivers Championship, I think that the remaining final positions are unpredictable; at the moment, it truly is anyone's race for 2nd Place and below. The Constructors Championship, on the other hand, is a little easier to predict. I can see Mercedes edging out Ferrari in the final stages of the season for 2nd place.” In recent F1 history, the top three teams have been Red Bull, Ferrari, and Mercedes. The second-tier teams switch out depending on the years, but they vie for fourth place in the Constructors Championship. O’Connell’s predictions for this year are “McLaren sneaking past Alpine for 4th place following the recent news and drama with the announced departures of Fernando Alonso from Alpine and Daniel Ricciardo from McLaren at the end of 2022 season.” Formula 1 has had extremely famous drivers throughout the years. One of the most well known is Lewis Hamilton, often regarded as the greatest of all time. Grayson Storer ’23 agreed with this sentiment, saying: “I think the greatest driver of all time is [Hamilton] because his performance has been incredible, but he also has off-track influence.” Having been knighted in 2020, Hamilton has earned this reputation through results. O’Connell said, “[Hamilton] won his first title in only his second season, which came after falling one point short of the championship in his rookie season. He would then move from McLaren to Mercedes, where he would win six championships in an eight-year span, finishing second in the two other years.”
Regardless of favorite drivers and outcomes, F1 can easily be enjoyed with friends, which has contributed to its growing popularity among Hopkins students. O’Connell explained, “the more and more [I talked with a friend] about it, the more I began to follow the sport. Eventually we ended up watching a few races together, created an [F1] Fantasy League, and introduced the sport to our fellow classmates at Hopkins.”