Formula One Racing For Dummies
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If you want to follow Formula One racing, there are a few essential things you need to know, like when the races take place, who the drivers are, and what race numbers they carry with them throughout their career.

It is also really useful to know what the warning flag colors mean when you see them waved at the side of the track, and how the current crop of racers compare to some of the most successful competitors of the past.

2024 Formula One World Championship calendar

You can never plan too early to go to a Formula One event, as races can get sold out many months in advance. Here is the provisional calendar for the 2024 F1 season:


Date Grand Prix Venue
February 29 – March 2 Bahrain Sakhir
March 7-9 Saudi Arabia Jeddah
March 22-24 Australia Melbourne
April 5-7 Japan Suzuka
April 19-21 China Shanghai
May 3-5 Miami Miami
May 17-19 Emilia Romagna Imola
May 24-26 Monaco Monaco
June 7-9 Canada Montreal
June 21-23 Spain Barcelona
June 28-30 Austria Spielberg
July 5-7 United Kingdom Silverstone
July 19-21 Hungary Budapest
July 26-28 Belgium Spa
August 23-25 Netherlands Zandvoort
August 30 – September 1 Italy Monza
September 13-15 Azerbaijan Baku
September 20-22 Singapore Singapore
October 18-20 USA Austin
October 25-27 Mexico Mexico City
November 1-3 Brazil Sao Paulo
November 21-23 Las Vegas Las Vegas
November 29 – December 1 Qatar Lusail
December 6-8 Abu Dhabi Yas Marina

Formula One teams and drivers

Following, is the list of teams and drivers who raced in Formula One in the 2023 season.

Team Drivers
Red Bull Max Verstappen / Sergio Perez
Ferrari Charles Leclerc / Carlos Sainz
Mercedes Lewis Hamilton / George Russell
Alpine Esteban Ocon / Pierre Gasly
McLaren Lando Norris / Oscar Piastri
Aston Martin Fernando Alonso / Lance Stroll
Alfa Romeo Valtteri Bottas / Guanyu Zhou
Alpha Tauri Yuki Tsunoda / Daniel Ricciardo
Haas Kevin Magnussen / Nico Hülkenberg
Williams Alex Albon / Logan Sargeant

Drivers' race numbers

Formula One’s rules require drivers to pick a race number that stays with them for their career. The only time they can change it is if they become world champion, when they can switch to the number 1 for the following campaign. Here is a list of the race numbers being used in 2023:

Race Number Driver
1 Max Verstappen
2 Logan Sargeant
3 Daniel Ricciardo
4 Lando Norris
10 Pierre Gasly
11 Sergio Perez
14 Fernando Alonso
16 Charles Leclerc
18 Lance Stroll
20 Kevin Magnussen
22 Yuki Tsunoda
23 Alex Albon
24 Zhou Guanyu
27 Nico Hulkenberg
31 Esteban Ocon
44 Lewis Hamilton
55 Carlos Sainz
63 George Russell
77 Valtteri Bottas
81 Oscar Piastri

Meaning of the flags

During a Formula One race, you will see trackside marshals waving flags at various cars. Each flag has a particular message. Here is a summary of the most common flags:

Flag Meaning
Yellow Warning, danger ahead. No overtaking
Waved yellow Extreme caution, be prepared to stop
Blue A faster car is closing in on you
White A slow-moving vehicle — maybe a course car, maybe a troubled car — is on the track
Black Go immediately to the pits
Red The race or the session has been stopped
Yellow flag with red stripes Slippery track surface warning
Checkered flag End of the race or practice session

A few Formula One records

They always say that records are there to be broken, and for Formula One, some previous feats that many thought unachievable have been smashed. Here is a look at some notable records.

The Most Championships Won

Position Driver Number of Championships Years
1 Michael Schumacher 7 1994, 1995, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004
Lewis Hamilton 2008, 2014, 2015, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020
3 Juan Manuel Fangio 5 1951, 1954, 1955, 1956, 1957
4 Alain Prost 4 1985, 1986, 1989, 1993
Sebastian Vettel 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013
6 Jack Brabham 3 1959, 1960, 1966
Jackie Stewart 1969, 1971, 1973
Niki Lauda 1975, 1977, 1984
Nelson Piquet 1981, 1983, 1987
Ayrton Senna 1988, 1990, 1991
Max Verstappen 2021, 2022, 2023*

* Leading world championship at time of publication

The Most Formula One Race Victories

Position Driver Number of Victories
1 Lewis Hamilton 103*
2 Michael Schumacher 91
3 Sebastian Vettel 53
4 Alain Prost 51
5 Max Verstappen 45*

* Correct at time of publication


The Youngest Winners

Position Driver Age Race Won
1 Max Verstappen 18 years, 228 days 2016 Spanish Grand Prix
2 Sebastian Vettel 21 years, 73 days 2008 Italian Grand Prix
3 Charles Leclerc 21 years, 320 days 2019 Belgian Grand Prix
4 Fernando Alonso 22 years, 26 days 2003 Hungarian Grand Prix
5 Troy Ruttman 22 years, 80 days 1952 Indianapolis 500


The Oldest Winners

Position Driver Age Race
1 Luigi Fagioli 53 years, 22 days 1951 French Grand Prix
2 Giuseppe Farina 46 years, 276 days 1953 German Grand Prix
3 Juan Manuel Fangio 46 years, 41 days 1957 German Grand Prix
4 Piero Taruffi 45 years, 219 days 1952 Swiss Grand Prix
5 Jack Brabham 43 years, 339 days 1970 South African Grand Prix


The Most Pole Positions

Position Driver Number of Pole Positions
1 Lewis Hamilton 104*
2 Michael Schumacher 68
3 Ayrton Senna 65
4 Sebastian Vettel 57
5 Jim Clark 33
Alain Prost 33

* Correct at time of publication

About This Article

This article is from the book:

About the book author:

Jonathan Noble is Grand Prix Editor for Autosport magazine, the world’s foremost motor sport publication. Mark Hughes is a Grand Prix writer for Autosport magazine.

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