Grand Prix Circuits Everyone Should Experience

Watching a Grand Prix race on television is quite an experience as you get to see all of the best camera angles with up-to-the-moment commentary. However, nothing compares to being there. Even though you may not always have the best overall vantage point, you will get to experience the race in a manner few ever will: seeing the cars up close, smelling, and hearing the unique elements of races.

Which Grand Prix circuits should you see? A few stand out.


Circuit de Monaco

The Circuit de Monaco is an interesting, challenging course for drivers, who often need to slow down significantly while navigating turns and other challenging areas. Of course, its locale attracts many, as Monaco is one of the most beautiful places in the world. The Monaco Grand Prix is also viewed by many as Formula One’s most historic and revered competition, and that alone is enough reason to visit this course.


Circuit of the Americas

The Formula One capital of the United States is this gorgeous course, which was the first built in this country that was designed especially for Formula One races. It’s located in Austin, Texas, and has been hosting Formula One races since 2012. Race fans get to enjoy watching drivers navigate challenges such as an uphill run to the first turn as well as the course’s fascinating technical layout.


Melbourne Grand Prix Circuit

This one encircles Australia’s Albert Park Lake, providing a cool aesthetic element to the festivities. As far as the racing goes, the track is fast, faster than most races being held on public roads, while also providing many challenges to be navigated. If you can situate yourself near one of its more difficult portions, you can enjoy a great view of how the different racers navigate those sections.


Red Bull Ring

Much of what makes Red Bull Ring, which is in Spielberg, Austria, such a destination race for many Formula One fans are its aesthetics. It’s set amidst incredible countryside while the course itself has a fascinating blend of classic and modern designs. Visitors also report that it’s a well-organized experience for fans and that the energy level amongst spectators is high.

The Differences Between F1 Racing and Indy Car Racing

Different Races

IndyCar, Formula One (F1), and NASCAR are three of the most popular racing series in the world. These three franchises attract automotive enthusiasts of all ages and genders from around the world. However, many people do not realize that there is a difference between IndyCar and Formula One. The cars both used in Formula One and IndyCar look very similar because they constructed using an open-wheel and open cockpit design. While both Indy and F1 cars use similar technologies, the cars share many differences from one another.



The cars used in IndyCar and Formula One perform differently from one another due to a few reasons. Indy cars are required to use a 2.2-liter V6 engine, while F1 requires that their teams utilize a smaller 1.6-liter V6 engine platform. While the individual systems may vary, both series allow their drivers to use push-to-pass systems in their cars. The systems allow drivers to pass other drivers or prevent overtaking by providing additional power to the vehicles at the press of a button. As a result of larger engine layouts in addition to a few other factors, Indy cars are capable of reaching up to 235 miles per hour on average while their F1 counterparts reach an average figure of around 200 miles per hour.



IndyCar and Formula One are both guided by several regulations. One of the most significant regulation differences lies in the fuel that the cars use and the refueling guidelines of the cars. Indy cars use methanol fuel while Formula One cars use gasoline. While IndyCar teams are allowed to refuel their cars in the pit lanes, teams in F1 are not allowed to refuel during the races. Additionally, IndyCar allows its drivers to complete warm-up laps before the start of the race. However, racing begins immediately after the cars have lined up in Formula One.



Formula One is immensely popular around the world. While IndyCar is popular as well, it is mostly known in the United States because it is an American racing series. Formula One races are held throughout Europe and North America, while IndyCar races are solely in the United States.


Top F1 Race Cars of All Time

Formula One (F1) has changed a lot since its inception. Many innovative designs and models have hit the tarmac in hopes of winning the number one spot. While many designs and cars have been banned from the sport for various reasons, many legendary cars will always be a part of F1 history. These are a few of those legendary cars. In one way or another, all of the vehicles on this list have proven themselves and earned their spots.


1984-1986 McLaren MP4/2

The McLaren MP4/2 is one of the most recognizable F1 cars ever, with its white and red Marlboro livery. The MP4/2 won consecutive Drivers’ Championships from 1984 to 1986. Both Niki Lauda and Alain Prost raced the chassis. The most significant advantage the MP4/2 had in its races was that it was one of the only F1 cars using carbon-ceramic brakes.


1988 McLaren MP4/4

The 1988 McLaren MP4/4 was driven by one of the greatest F1 champions in history, Ayrton Senna. Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost won 15 of their 16 races using the MP4/4 chassis. The record set by the two champions with this chassis still hasn’t been beaten by another F1 team.


1991 McLaren MP4/6

The McLaren MP4/6 was the last model in F1 history ever to have won a championship using a manual transmission and a V12 engine. Ayrton Senna drove this model through two consecutive World Championship wins.


2011 Red Bull RB7

Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber drove the 2011 Red Bull RB7. Sebastian Vettel, who was 23 years old at the time, made F1 history as the youngest driver to win two consecutive Drivers’ Championships. The 2011 Red Bull RB7 finished 19 of its 27 races in a pole position.


2016 Mercedes F1 W07 Hybrid

The 2016 Mercedes F1 W07 Hybrid is the only F1 car that comes close to the dominance that the 1988 McLaren MP4/4 had during its run. To meet new F1 regulations, the F1 W07 Hybrid was equipped with a hybrid power unit that utilized the heat energy produced under braking conditions to generate electrical energy for the engine.


Alternative Fuel Options for Cars 

Carl Turnley Alternative Fuel Options for Cars

A growing demand exists for alternative fuel vehicles due to government regulations and environmental concerns. Substitutes for conventional engines that are gasoline-powered and contain internal combustions are important for both consumers and the manufacturers who will provide them. Which direction should be taken is a tricky dilemma for both. There are several options.


Gas-Electric Hybrids

The original hybrid models, the Toyota Prius and the Honda Insight, each reached the U.S. in the year 1999. Today there are roughly 40 gas-electric models available for sale. Using electricity to power vehicles to some extent has significant benefits, both for emissions and fuel economy. A battery power at low speeds and handles stopping and starting. Regenerative braking and the gas engine charge the battery so it does not need to be plugged in.


Plug-In Hybrids

PHEVS, or plug-in hybrids, have larger batteries that can get the car moving with the use of electricity alone, generating zero emissions. These batteries are charged by plugging them in to a power source. Fewer models are available in the U.S., and the larger batteries add a hefty amount to the price tag.



EVs, or electric vehicles, run free of gasoline entirely. They make use of a battery to store electric energy used to power the motor. Acceptance of EVs has been growing since their introduction to the market. Range anxiety is a deterrent that continues, as is the limited number of charging stations that lie outside of major cities.


Ethanol and Flex Fuel

Corn ethanol has made its way into the fuel supply of the nation thanks to the 2007 Renewable Fuels charge of the government. Ethanol has received a backlash because it contains less energy than does gasoline, which results in a fewer number of miles per gallon. It also takes a fair bit of energy to produce, leading to increased carbon dioxide emissions.



Biodiesel, which is manufactured from animal fats, vegetable oil, or grease recycled from restaurants, raises conventional diesel fuel’s octane rating and burns in a cleaner fashion. It is also biodegradable and non-toxic. It can be used alone but is generally mixed with conventional diesel fuel. Biodiesel can be found in many vehicles that boast conventional diesel engines that lack modification.

Debunking Car Transmission Myths

There is a lot of mystery and misinformation surrounding automatic transmissions, even within the automotive industry.  While some of these myths might have been true decades ago, modern technology has helped to level out the performance disparity between automatic and manual transmissions. Today’s blog is going to take a closer look at common transmission myths and the facts that will debunk them. 


Automatic transmissions are sealed units that are neither serviceable nor repairable.

It all depends on finding the right technician. Even though it seems like the only fix for a problem with an automatic transmission is a complete replacement of the unit, they are repairable and can benefit from being serviced. Those who don’t work with automatics can find the task daunting and nigh impossible, but for those who do, the task is still difficult because it’s easy for things to go wrong. The reason for this is that automatic transmissions contain a lot of small parts that are easily forgotten, so many mechanics don’t like to work on them. 


Cars with manual transmissions always cost less than their automatic counterparts.

While cars with manual transmissions tend to cost less, this isn’t always true. Consumer Reports notes that buying a car with a manual transmission can help consumers save between $8,000 and $12,000, but a number of cars on the market today, such as BMWs and GM models, cost the same regardless of their transmission. The maintenance cost of automatic transmissions may be higher, but better design has helped them to last the life of the vehicle, so long as the driver is taking care of it. Manual transmissions tend to not last as long and may need a few replacements during the car’s lifetime. Of course, this depends on the driver’s behavior and other variables as well. 


Automatic transmissions are less fuel-efficient than manual transmissions.

This claim is unfortunately true, however, manufacturers are closing the gap in fuel efficiency between manual and automatic transmissions. That being said, manual transmissions tend to beat automatics in fuel efficiency by a small margin in most cases. At its simplest, the problem boils down to weight and friction. Automatics are heavier than manual transmissions, which require more work and thus require more fuel. Depending on the abilities of the driver, though, automatics can be more efficient at times by switching gears at the most efficient time as opposed to manual if the driver isn’t good at hitting the optimal shift time. 

The Biggest F1 Races Taking Place in 2019

2019 brings another exciting year for Formula 1 racing! Even though we are past the halfway mark for the year, we still have a number of races to look forward to. Here are some of the biggest F1 races taking place in 2019.


Formula 1 Singapore Airlines Singapore Grand Prix 2019 – 20-22 September

Singapore’s Marina Bay Circuit is known for its nighttime races, having hosted the first one in F1 history back in 2008. The physically demanding 5.063km course provides no shortage of challenges for the driver, from bumpy surfaces to high humidity. What’s more, the circuit features 23 corners during the high-speed lap. This race gives visitors a chance to experience Singapore at its best.


Formula 1 VTB Russian Grand Prix 2019 27-29 September

The Sochi Autodrom was the site of the Formula 1’s first-ever Russian Grand Prix in 2014. The circuit itself grew from the internal roads of the park built for the Winter Olympics that same year. One of the unique features of the track is right at Turn 3, a 750m constant-radius left turn that takes drivers around the outside of the Poyushchiye fountain. This early autumn race means that it’s still warm enough for visitors to take advantage of some of Russia’s best beach resorts in Sochi. Unfortunately, ski season doesn’t start until at least December. 


Formula 1 Japanese Grand Prix 2019 11-13 October

While the Suzuka International Racing Course (better known as just “Suzuka”) was built in 1962, it didn’t see its first Grand Prix until 1987. The track is one of the seminal courses in Formula 1, with driving challenges like snaking S curves and a crossover and remains a favorite among drivers. Kimi Räikkönen holds the current lap record of 1:31.540 from 2005, but we’ll see if anyone can beat that this year. 


Formula 1 United States Grand Prix 01-03 November

The Circuit of the Americas’ first Grand Prix was in 2012, which drew a crowd of over 100,000 spectators. The crowd witnessed Lewis Hamilton’s last win in a McLaren before he made the switch to Mercedes the following year. The circuit draws inspiration from a few of the other famous tracks in F1 history, like Suzuka and Hockenheim. The uphill run into Turn 1 provides the opportunity for some overtaking action.

A Brief History of the Hunt/Lauda F1 Rivalry

Few sports are as dangerous and misunderstood as Formula 1 racing. The fast-paced race-track based automotive contest is both exhilarating to watch and potentially deadly to partake in. So naturally, a little bit of rivalry between racers helps to dial the intensity up to eleven.

In the 1970s, when F1 racing was still in a somewhat formative stage, two men developed a unique relationship on and eventually off the race track. The British racer James Hunt and the Austrian racer Niki Lauda would spend the better part of the decade racing against each other in a fierce personal competition.

It all started in 1970 on the Crystal Palace circuit in London, England. Both drivers experienced some technical difficulties, but Hunt would ultimately go on to win the race. This was enough to kindle Lauda’s fighting spirit, and the two men would clash at nearly every high profile event for the next few years.

Things came to a tragic head in the 1976 racing season when Niki Lauda was involved in a crash on the Nürburgring circuit. Lauda suffered third-degree burns and was permanently disfigured as a result of the accident. Both men would go on to compete in the rest of the season, however, with James Hunt becoming the 1976 Formula 1 racing champion.

The Hunt/Lauda rivalry has since become a legend within the arena of automotive sports. Much has been made of the relationship between these two men, who in many ways were very different, especially in the wake of James hunt’s untimely death in 1993. There has even been a film made about the subject titled Rush and directed by Ron Howard; although it was apparently not very accurate to history.

One of the more dramatized aspects of the story is the animosity between Hunt and Lauda. While it is true that there was some heated competition between the two, they became friends relatively quickly. So while the races were intense and very much winner takes all, the spirit was friendly. Hunt was particularly disturbed after his friend was injured in 1976.

Despite their friendship, James Hunt and Niki Lauda were two very different people. It was a fast and reckless lifestyle of drugs and sex that helped contribute to Hunt’s early death. Indeed, after his victory in 1976, James Hunt had a diminished interest in competing as his status of champion allowed him all the luxuries he could want.

Lauda was a more reserved character and would go on to live to the age of 70 despite his terrible accident many decades ago. Niki Lauda died in May of this year. While both men are now gone, their heroic struggles on the race track will live on in the hearts of race fans from around the world.

Equipment Trends in F1 Racing – 2019

By looking at the latest tech designs for the 2019 F1 racing teams, we can get an idea of who will get a jump on the season. It seems that a shipment of new parts arrived in Canada providing a glimpse of what the teams are up to, and how similar some of these designs are. First up, at the Circus Gilles Villeneuve, Red Bull unveiled nose horns that will be used by the team. These horns sit in the nose transition area and help to control the airflow of the region. Mercedes tested a design pre-season, dog-leg shaped winglets where the chassis and nose meet in an effort to draw air around the chassis more effectively. Alfa Romeo Racing has developed an alteration of the design, using four fins on either side of the chassis for better results.

Since the beginning of the season, Renault F1 Team showed up in Monaco with dog-legged winglets on either side of the chassis. They have also developed the R.S. 19 rear wing, which has a more defined tail, and with deleted bounding lines on the three upwash wings has allowed for another strake in outer bounding lines. The outer surface of the endplate has been modified to for better airflow direction. A DRS Actuator pod has been given a tail which limits the amount flap that occurs when it swings upward. Renault has opted for a singular fin, as opposed to multiple, with a finned floor arrangement, hoping to boost floor performance.

Ferrari has the SF71H Azerbaijan GP is a similar finned solution which is designed to improve performance by relying on fully enclosed holes that lie on the floor slightly ahead of the rear wheels. Racing Point has been feeling the struggles they had last season, both technically and financially. This time they are bringing a series of parts to help them improve performance that has been previously untapped. First, is an add on solution for the nose similar to the cape one used by Mercedes. It is around the side and under the nose to guide the airflow already taken in by the nose downstream. Williams also began using Mercedes cape solution in 2018 and has an improved suspension to combine it with the hopes of performance improvement. Also using a cape solution is McLaren with the Spanish GP. It is a very complex solution in use since 2018, but they have made changes to the complexity of the nose to streamline performance.

F1 Safety: a Brief History of Innovation

carl-turnley-crashToday’s F1 races are the product of a long and layered history — especially in terms of safety. From mechanical designs to racing regulations, the sport has greatly evolved since its inception in the early 1950s, and this has generally made it better for drivers, officials, and fans alike.

Here is a brief look at F1 safety’s rich past.

Early designs and ideas

F1, as a competitive sport, can be traced to 1950, the year of its inaugural season. Early F1 cars had features designed purely for speed in lieu of handling components or, disturbingly, necessary safety mechanics; they featured front engines and drum brakes and were first put on display at the 1950 Formula One World Championship, held at Silverstone in England.

Proper safety measures, such as roll bars, were not formally introduced until the early 1960s. Other emerging concepts included flag signals, fire prevention components, and interrupters for electronic systems.

The 90s and early 2000s

Flash forward to the 1990s, when many of the aforementioned safety measures continued to be tested, supplemented, and innovated as the need for such measures endured. The early 90s saw the introduction of larger rearview mirrors, mandatory detachable steering wheels, and new regulations pertaining to car width and cockpit size.

In the early 2000s, these changes were complemented with numerous shifts — some drastic — in racing rules and protocol. For instance, new time penalties were implemented to drivers triggering a false start, causing an accident or collision, or forcing another driver off the course — a move generally intended to cast a deeper negative connotation over such potentially dangerous activity.


While today’s F1 cars are arguably more uncomfortable than their primitive predecessors, they are much safer — and typically not at the expense of speed or efficiency. Crashes remain a regular part of the sport, some of them overwhelming and spectacular from a viewer standpoint, but, fortunately, many of the worst crashes have not been as severe as they look. Consider a 2014 crash from driver Kimi Raikkonen, which looked potentially fatal on screen, but resulted in nothing more than a sore ankle. 

This phenomenon is a direct product of modern racing safety, which itself is a product of continuous, relentless campaigning to keep the sport as safe and stable as possible. Now, cars undergo a series of dynamic, static, and load tests — all while maintaining the best aspects of the past, such as advanced fire suppression systems.


Tips for Getting Into F1 Racing

carl-turnley-f1Formula One racing is one of the world’s biggest entertainment pastimes — a competitive sport that demands dedication and perseverance from its participants. If you’re just looking for a new hobby, Formula One racing might not be right for you – but if you have the drive to succeed and the patience to train for years, these tips can lead you to victory.

Consider Racing School

If you’ve been driving on normal roads for years, you might think that you have an understanding of what it takes to drive a Formula One car – after all, it’s just faster, isn’t it? Not exactly. Formula One cars require faster reflexes than normal driving and involve higher stakes, not to mention the inherent differences in the designs of the vehicle platforms. Racing schools can give you an opportunity to refine your skills and see what you’re made of – not only that, but they allow access to vehicles you might not be able to try out otherwise. This is a great way to make sure this is the right path for you.

Start Slow in a Kart

Some suggest that you should train with a go-kart before you actually start Formula One racing – while this can be a valuable way to train your skills, it isn’t always necessary. That said, if you do need to start out slow, try earning a go-kart certification and finding a nearby course that has their own karts. That way you’ll save money overall and you’ll always have somewhere to train – and some go-kart races even have cash prizes, meaning you could earn back the price of your membership to the course.

Meet Racing License Standards

Since this is a rather dangerous sport, you’ll need to meet a number of requirements to become a Formula One racer – you’ll need to spend two years of licensed racing in a junior class of single-seat vehicles, like go-karts, as well as 40 race points from victories. You’ll also need 300 hours in a Formula One car itself on a course or as a junior member of a team – and, of course, you’ll need to be a legal adult.

Keeping all of this in mind, Formula One looks like a hard hobby to break into – but if you’ve got the skill and the commitment to go the extra mile, those steps should help you get started.