Formula One, also known as Formula 1 or F1 and referred to officially as the FIA Formula One World Championship, is the most restrictive class of single seaterauto racing sanctioned by the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA). The "formula" in the name refers to a set of rules with which all participants' cars must comply. The F1 season consists of a series of races, known as Grands Prix (translated to English as "Big Prizes"), held on purpose-built circuits and public roads. The results of each race are combined to determine two annual World Championships, one for the drivers and one for the constructors, with racing drivers, constructor teams, track officials, organizers, and circuits required to be holders of valid Super Licences, the most restrictive class of racing licence issued by the FIA.
Formula One cars race at high speeds – up to 360 km/h (220 mph) – with engines the performance of which is limited to a maximum of 18,000 revolutions per minute (RPM). The cars are capable of lateral acceleration in excess of 5 g in corners. The formula has had much evolution and change through the history of the sport. Europe, where all the Formula One racing teams are based, is the sport's traditional base and where about half of each year's races occur. However, the sport's scope has expanded significantly during recent years and an increasing number of Grands Prix are held on other continents.
Joseph Gilles Henri Villeneuve (January 18, 1950 – May 8, 1982) was a Canadianracing driver. An enthusiast of cars and fast driving from an early age, he started his professional career in snowmobile racing in his native province of Quebec. He moved into single seaters — winning the US and Canadian Formula Atlantic championships in 1976 before being offered a one-off drive with McLaren at the 1977 British Grand Prix. He was taken on by reigning world champions Ferrari for the end of the season — in only his fifth season racing cars — and from 1978 to his death in 1982 drove for the Italian team. He won six Grand Prix races in a short career at the highest level. In 1979 he finished second by four points in the championship to teammate Jody Scheckter. Villeneuve died in a 140 mph (225 km/h) crash with the March of Jochen Mass during qualifying for the 1982 Belgian Grand Prix at Zolder. At the time of his death, Villeneuve was extremely popular with fans and with many journalists, on whom his death had a profound effect. Since 1982 he has become an iconic figure in the history of the sport, renowned for his car control, aggressive driving style, and a 'never give up' attitude. His son, Jacques Villeneuve, became a Formula One world champion in 1997.
The 2008 French Grand Prix (formally the XCIII Grand Prix de France) was a Formula One motor race held on June 22, 2008 at the Circuit de Nevers Magny-Cours, France. It was the eighth race of the 2008 Formula One season. The race, contested over 70 laps, was won by Felipe Massa for the Ferrari team after starting from second position. Kimi Räikkönen, who started from pole position, finished second in the other Ferrari car; Jarno Trulli was third in a Toyota. Räikkönen and Massa both made a clean start. Renault's Fernando Alonso, who started third, was overtaken by Trulli and BMW Sauber driver Robert Kubica. The front three of Räikkönen, Massa and Trulli maintained their positions through the first round of pit stops. On lap 30, Räikkönen led Massa by six and a half seconds, and Trulli by 30 seconds. Just before half distance, Räikkönen's right exhaust pipe broke, which caused the engine to lose power. Massa, in second place, began lapping quicker than Räikkönen, and he caught and passed him on lap 39. Massa maintained his lead through the second round of pit stops, and won the race; Räikkönen finished almost 18 seconds behind. Trulli fended off McLaren's Heikki Kovalainen, who challenged him in the latter stages, to take third.