Formula One

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The Grand Prix Race happening.

Every year we have the baseball and football seasons where all the athletes tie up and play against various teams throughout the nation. Suddenly, our Sundays consist of the smoked barbeque pork sandwiches and loud screams of the men and women cheering on their favorite football team, hoping they score a touchdown. However, that isn’t how we get ready for the Formula One racing season. The season has twenty-one races a year that take place world wide. The legends prepare with their strict diets and long hours of driving for their March-November racing season. What do Formula One athletes have to endure in the process of preparation? The one seater, racing cars speed up to over 200mph in qualifying. The dangers behind that, the pressure it puts on families, racers, and the deaths that occur annually will be further discussed throughout this paper.

The Grand Prix takes place in thirty-six countries and occurs during the months of March through November. The season packed with traveling,  jet lag and long hours in the car. The single-seated,open cockpit racing car is unique in the racing world and used  strictly in the competition of Formula One.  Jan Lammers, one of the most famous known race car drivers, prepares for his upcoming Le Mans Race in mid July and takes his adaptation skills to new environments, triggering excellent scence into racing worldwide. The open cock-pit checkered black and white 1800 mm car races through the track exceeding no more than 369.9 km/h (203mph). The tracks vary and each particular location has its own unique historic tale behind it. In Mexico, the track has a large effect on overall speed because the meters above sea level cause the air to be less dense, resulting in less drag. With the air and sea level affecting the drag, the turbo speed is able to spin faster than it would on other tracks. The record was accomplished by Lewis Hamilton and Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, as they hit top speed at 360 km/h. The most unique race track located in Spa Belgium, housing multiple Gran Prix races and one that Lammers attends at least twice a year. The track located in the countryside is rich with greenery and historic landscapes giving racers a beautiful scenic view. Iconic corners like the EauRouge are stunning for giving scenic spots. The Formula One team ensures that the drivers attend various races, usually rounding up to three men fairly average in height, and age ranging from eighteen year old Max Verstappen to sixty year old Lammers. The alluring tracks and countries chosen allow for a majestic experience and an electrified adventure for the racers and their fans.

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Formula One race Jan Lammers heading for a pit stop.

“JAN!?! JAN?! JAN LAMMERS HOW DO YOU THINK YOU DID?!?!” The fans and press scream and his ears tremble as he mentally imagines his turnout.  He focuses on his preparation, confidence and delivery. Sixty year old race car driver Jan Lammers has been racing since he was just sixteen years old and he swears by the mental standpoint. The preparation is not so important the night or even week before. It is the precautions you take six months before your race that really matter. The sport of racing is ninety percent mental, and the process you go through, both physically and mentally, fixates the results. Many racers focus on meditation and using their mental state to really push for an outstanding outcome. “Thoughts become things and the main focus is like programming a chip”. When spending the time creating your future results. A lot of discussion that was brought up was that of the brain. The alpha level of the brain at about eight to twelve on the cycle, is when your brain is open to most suggestions. That is when racers focus on the task ahead, what the primary objective is, and the commodities that should be avoided. When interpreting these thoughts it is crucial to make it real, insinuating your mind and the wave cycle it is at to endure the reactions of team members, family, and the crowd. This is the main trick and tactic Jan Lammers discussed when concentrating. As an athlete, their physical condition has to be at an almost olympic level. At a peak level with their stamina playing a crucial role for their upper body, back and arms. The racers own the responsibility to prepare their bodies and strength. Does that affect the age range of racers? No, because of the fact that, as discussed before, racing is ninety percent mental.  “Meditate. Imagine. Picture and believe in the outcome. “ There are a lot of activities such as rigorous swimming and long runs to help build the stamina. They train like olympians and spend roughly around six months focusing on the key to strength. For their diet they have to be very cautious to take in the right amount of calories and have a balanced and versatile meal plan. Variety seems to be the key to stay focused on their healthy diets without meals gaining boredom. No wine or alcohol should be drank before the race. The sport is somewhat materialistic so the preparation of the cars is just as crucial as that of the racers themselves. Teams have fuel, tires, contractors, and other equipment they need for the race to run smoothly. Usually a large truck is packed full and driven to the tracks, for the races around Europe. Formula One races occur on Sundays so the equipment should all be there by Friday morning and ready for qualifying to begin. Assembling with the team, race engineers and drivers is crucial for the race to succeed. With different weather conditions, the tires must be watched. The strategies are tweaked as the race plays out and the conditions change. The Grand Prix or Le mans, or any race for that matter, calls for a lot of attention, detail, and focus. Equipment CAN NOT be forgotten as it is not easily replaced. The drivers must formulate vigorously and should all be on the same page within a twenty-four hour period. This is not an easy task.

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An arial view of the car being prepared.

“Hang tight, open your eyes, focus on what’s going on”. I sit in the race car with my father as he practices his laps, exceeding speeds of 150 km/h sending a nervous shrivel all the way down to my spine. The racers know the dangers behind their sport so they must also know that if something happens, they have to be quick to react. Jan Lammers carefully explained this as he raced around corners and begged for me to pay attention and stop being afraid. The concept seemed amusing, as this was scary and it was better to know what to do if something went wrong. There are myths and true facts to endure the real dangers of racing. The danger is no longer so much about the difficulty or the drag reduction or even the financial burdens many teams face, but more about the lack of danger that is now presented. Grand Prix races are all dangerous but with the developments and advancements in safety precautions for many racers, the dangers aren’t as problematic as they were in the past. That takes the essence away from the sport. A little bit, that is. The dangers decreasing is a positive development and it makes families and friends more comfortable. However, the mindset the driver is in and the behavior they extract is how the peers around them will behave. If they show fear and concern, their peers will feel the same. If the athlete extracts confidence and focus, the people around them will also be confident and focused. After the developments in the safety spectrum the sport is no longer perceived as a bloody one, the races don’t have deaths nearly as often and the accidents don’t cause as much trauma to the athletes. Recently, an article was published that reported an accident where a car slammed into a steel barrier on the opposite side of the track and came to rest, the driver did not die. He suffered a sprained ankle and minor concussion. If that were to have happened twenty years ago, he would have surely died. They know that their chances of dying aren’t as high as they were in the early days when death was a regular occurrence. Between 1955 and 1961, there was only nine deaths. Proving the previous evidence to be true.

Formula One sounds a lot better than barbecue pulled pork sandwiches, Bud Light and football. I think I’d prefer a Red Bull and Grand Prix on my Sundays. The preparation and the meditation to set racers in the right state of mind makes the race very rigorous to prepare for. Focus seems to be key as discussed in the interview. The thoughts created can lead to a spot on the podium in almost every single race. I can finally open my eyes when flying 150 km/h around the corners, knowing that the chances of my death occurring at this time are less likely compared to what they would have been in previous years.  Formula One racing is a sport that many are not familiar with, but is highly recognized in Europe. The tracks circle around the world consisting around thirty-six countries. The unique qualities about each track and the components that make up this sport sets it on my number one watch list. I always told myself that at some point in my life I wanted to train for at least one race.

                                                 References:

.By Matthew Walthert , Featured Columnist Dec 14, 2013. “Has Safer F1 Now Lost Its Edge?” Bleacher Report, 2 Nov. 2016, m.bleacherreport.com/articles/1888781-formula-1-and-the-relationship-between-death-danger-safety-and-popularity#-.

2. By continuing to browse this site you give consent for cookies to be used. To find out more about cookies and how to manage them click here. “Formula 1®.” – The Official F1® Website, www.formula1.com/.

3.Lammers, Sumaya. “The Other End with Jan Lammers .” 19 Oct. 2016.

4. RedBullRacing. “24 Hours Behind the Scenes – Preparing for a F1 Race Weekend | Red Bull Racing Formula One Team.” Red Bull Racing Formula One Team, 30 Oct. 2014, www.redbullracing.com/video/24-hours-behind-scenes-preparing-f1-race-weekend.

5. “Top 10 Most Beautiful Formula 1 Destinations.” TheRichest, www.therichest.com/sports/racing-sports/top-10-most-beautiful-formula-1-destinations/.

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