Formula One race cars zoom by on city streets around the world
From Monaco to Jerusalem, fans flock to experience the sights and sounds of these incredible feats of engineering.
Race fans around the world know that nothing can compare to the glamor and excitement of Formula One – from Monte Carlo, Monaco, site of the 1966 film “Grand Prix”; to Austin, Texas, the home of Formula One in the United States; to Jerusalem, Israel, where earlier this month, some 300,000 people came out to see and hear these stunning open-wheeled race cars speed through town in a demonstration event called the Formula Roadshow.
Formula One evolved from a French motor racing tradition dating back to the dawn of the 20th century, was officially defined in 1946 and had its first championship in 1950. Racing at speeds that can easily top 200 mph, the open-cockpit, single-seater Formula One cars are head-turning aerodynamic wonders that bear little resemblance to the cars we drive on the interstate. A Formula One season consists of up to 20 races (grand prix) held in different countries around the world. In an impressive display of logistics, all the cars, teams and equipment are shipped from location to location for each grand prix weekend. Practice and qualifying begin on Friday, and the races are held on Sunday. Eleven teams, each made up of two drivers, compete to race a predetermined number of laps around the high-speed track to take home the driver and constructor trophy for each race. Finishers in the top 10 are awarded points, and at the end of the season, the driver with the most points is crowned world champion.
Red Bull Racing driver Sebastian Vettel drives during the third practice session at the Circuit de Monaco in Monte Carlo on May 25, 2013, ahead of the Monaco Formula One Grand Prix. (Photo: BORIS HORVAT/AFP/Getty Images)
Here in the States, Formula One received a recent boost in visibility thanks to Ron Howard’s 2013 movie “Rush,” based on the true story of the rivalry between drivers Niki Lauda and James Hunt as they vied for the 1976 world championship. Though Formula One’s popularity in the U.S. still pales in comparison to that of NASCAR, the United States Grand Prix at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas, drew a quarter of a million fans last year, with 60,000 tickets sold in the first week. And recently, Formula One CEO Bernie Ecclestone sounded confident that a Las Vegas grand prix may be in the circuit’s future as well.
"Until you have a race in the country, the F1 fans in that country are kind of invisible. Because there’s nothing for them to show up to, nothing to rally around," said Geoff Moore, chief marketing officer at the Circuit of the Americas.
But with only 20 races on the calendar each year, it’s impossible for every major city to host one. Fortunately, roadshow events like the one in Jerusalem give fans a chance to see some of their favorite cars in action, even if their city doesn’t have a grand prix on the circuit.
The 2014 Jerusalem Roadshow was the second of its kind, with the first held in June 2013. “The show was a massive success last year,” said sponsor Eugene Kaspersky in a promotional video. “It’s exciting, it’s loud, it’s good fun, and it’s all happening in an incredible old city. I think it’s a recipe for a truly great event.”
In addition to the Scuderia Ferrari F1 racing team with drivers Giancarlo Fisichella, Antonio Fuoco and Daniel Mancinelli, participants in the roadshow included stunt motorcyclists and off-road vehicles.
Check out a video from the event below:
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