Are your Sundays now boring and despondent since the NFL is no longer on the calendar? Did you watch five plays of XFL football and shake violently in despair? Never fear, F1 is here to fill that competitive sports void.
Formula One is the highest class of motorsport racing and a dynamite drama-filled spectacle that both casual fans and hardcore sports bettors will love. If you know nothing of the sport or are just now dipping your toes into a world owned by Red Bull, this article is for you.
While exceedingly simple -- the first car to cross the finish line after X laps around a track wins — F1 is remarkably intriguing. Not just due to the intricacies of the sport (of which there are many) but mostly due to the intricacies of the many personalities that litter the field.
Netflix's docuseries Drive to Survive just released its fifth season covering the faces of Formula One and it is chockfull of DRAMA. Each of these drivers and coaches display traits that will either make you fall in love with them or despise their very existence. Like Mercedes Team Principal Toto Wolff, who is pretty much Sean Payton doing an Arnold Schwarzenegger impression. Or Red Bull's Max Verstappen who has Pat Mahomes' talent and Biff Tannen's personality.
Just like on race day, there are winners and losers in this docuseries, and watching just a few episodes will leave you rooting for or against every single competitor
In Formula One there are 20 drivers that start every race. Unlike Nascar, the tracks they traverse are diverse, with twists and turns every which way. The races take place all over the world, from the opening race in the Persian Gulf to Japan, Australia, Hungary and more.
Every race weekend is packed with events, from the practice runs on Friday, to the ultra-important qualifying on Saturday, to the pivotal race day on Sunday.
Once the starting order is set, the boys speed around the track at speeds reaching 215 mph. The first one to cross the finish line wins.
Oh, buddy, there is.
Each race gives out a predetermined amount of points dependent upon where a driver finishes. The winner of each race receives 25 points, second place nets 18, and the point amount continues to descend from there. It stops, however, at 10th place, which grants 1 whole point. If a driver finishes anywhere from 11th to 20th, no soup for you. There is an additional point given out every race to the driver who records the fastest lap.
The driver with the most points at the end of the season is the World Drivers' Champion.
In addition to the 20 drivers, there are 10 teams that makeup Formula One. Each team consists of two drivers and the points they get for each race also count towards an end-of-year team championship known as the Constructors' Championship.
Like in most sports, there are teams at the top and teams at the bottom. Unlike American sports, however, while there is a salary cap, F1 year-to-year results rarely offer parity within the standings.
This year, three teams reign above all -- Red Bull Racing, Mercedes-AMG Petronas, and Scuderia Ferrari. These three teams should compete all season long for the Constructors' Championship as they employ not only the best drivers but build the best cars. Red Bull is favored to win with -160 odds.
As for the Drivers' Championship, it's Red Bull's Max Verstappen's to lose. He won this award the past two years and last year made F1 history by recording the most wins and accumulating the most points ever in a season. Verstappen is favored to win the Drivers' Championship with -160 odds.
He's the best driver in the world driving what likely is the best car in the world. It will be very difficult to match him race after race. There are some hopefuls, however.
Seven-time champion Lewis Hamilton with Mercedes is still looking for his record-breaking eighth Drivers' Championship and his fight with Max in 2021 came down to the final race. Ferrari's Charles LeClerc posed the biggest threat to Verstappen in 2022 but suffered from some head-scratching team decisions. With Ferrari employing a new Team Principal his 2023 fortunes may change.
First place will be tough to steal away but the gap between Verstappen and the field should shorten this season which could make for some exciting television.
Ricky Bobby might not want to hear this but not necessarily. The difference between final placement in the Constructors' Championship yields tens of millions of dollars in prize and sponsorship money. The top three teams will be fight for the top, but there will be fights amongst all of the other teams to finish as high in the midfield as they can.
French team BWT Alpine beat out McLaren for fourth place last season and will look to hold onto their place atop the midfield. Alpine took some hits however as they lost driver Fernando Alonso, a former F1 champion, to rival Aston Martin. McLaren also swooped in and stole Alpine's reserve driver and rising star Oscar Piastri, in a move that resulted in the threat of a lawsuit.
Teams will take any chance they can to gain an advantage over their competitor and move up the standings. In the cutthroat world of Formula One, results are the only thing that matters.
Enter Logan Sargeant. For the first time since 2015, an American will be driving one of the twenty cars in Formula One this season. The kid from Florida will be driving for Williams Racing, a team that finished in last place in the Constructors' Championship last season. While he may be at the back of the field for most performances, the future is bright for the American who has won races in both Formula 2 and Formula 3. USA!
THIS SUNDAY! MARCH 5TH! 10:00 AM EASTERN! 7:00 AM PACIFIC! ON ESPN!
The drama begins in Bahrain with the slate wiped clean and the gas tanks full. F1 will bring the drama and Netflix will be there to capture it. Sundays are boring no more!