Formula One, also known as Formula 1 or F1 and referred to officially as the FIA Formula One World Championship, is the premier class of single seater auto racing sanctioned by the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA).
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.
The "formula" in the name refers to a set of rules with which all participants' cars must comply. Formula One cars race at high speeds – up to 365 km/h (227 mph) – using hybrid power units, the performance of which is limited to a maximum of 15,000 revolutions per minute (RPM). The cars are capable of lateral acceleration in excess of 5g 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. However, the sport's scope has expanded significantly during recent years and an increasing number of Grands Prix are held on other continents to where now more than half of all Grands Prix are run elsewhere in the world.
Joseph Gilles Henri Villeneuve (January 18, 1950 – May 8, 1982) was a Canadian racing 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 Italian Grand Prix (formally the LXXIX Gran Premio Santander d'Italia) was a Formula One motor race held on September 14, 2008 at the Autodromo Nazionale Monza, Monza, Italy. It was the 14th race of the 2008 Formula One season. The race, contested over 53 laps, was won by Sebastian Vettel for the Toro Rosso team after starting from pole position. Heikki Kovalainen finished second in a McLaren, and Robert Kubica third in a BMW Sauber. Vettel began the race, started under the safety car, ahead of Kovalainen in second. Red Bull's Mark Webber started from third. Rain early in the race allowed Vettel to establish a solid lead over Kovalainen, which he extended as the track dried. Kubica and Fernando Alonso finished in the top four after starting from 11th and eighth, respectively. McLaren driver and Drivers' Championship leader Lewis Hamilton was able to move through the field after qualifying in 15th, finishing in seventh, one place behind rival Felipe Massa, of Ferrari. Vettel's victory made him the youngest driver to win a Formula One race, in addition to giving Toro Rosso its maiden Formula One win.
Current World Championship standings