Heine's Ramblings and Rumblings

Formula 1: The world’s nerdiest sport

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Formula 1: The world’s nerdiest sport

By Ryan Biggs, NERDVANA

Nerds and sports don’t mix. We are taught this simple fact from an early age through media bombardment and social interaction. Jocks rule the high schools and ruthlessly prey on the bottom-feeders in the teenage caste system. Pro-athletes make millions without ever needing to obtain a degree, while the intelligent must slave away in our nation’s corrupt colleges to make a name for themselves. It’s unfair, and the nerds ain’t happy. Is there really a sport that nerds could love?

For those of you who are unfamiliar with Formula 1, here’s a little background info. Formula 1 (F1 from here on) is the world’s premier automotive sport. The best drivers and the best car manufacturers put their talent on display for the whole world to see. While popularity of the sport is lacking in the United States, F1 is one of the most watched and loved sports throughout the world.

Not to be confused with NASCAR or Indy Car, F1 cars are some of the most technologically advanced pieces of machinery on Earth. They weigh in at only 1 200 lbs (about 1/3 the weight of a typical sedan), and per pound they are the most expensive machines on the planet. The average car has between 10 000 and 30 000 parts. A much lighter F1 car has about 80 000 individual parts. They produce over 750 horsepower and have brakes that can withstand temperatures of 1 800 degrees F (that’s the melting point of copper, by the way), allowing them to accelerate from standstill to 100 mph and back to a stop in about 4 seconds. By comparison, a Bugatti Veyron performs the same task in 10 seconds.

Oh, and you know how most racing video games have a turbo button? Yep, you guessed it. F1 cars have a KERS (kinetic energy recovery system) device that stores up energy from braking and gives the drivers an 80 horsepower boost at the push of a button. How cool is that?!

I think we’ve established the fact that F1 cars are wicked fast and crammed full of technology. So what makes F1 the nerdiest sport in the world? It’s the simple fact that the engineers are just as important (if not more important) than the driver. A great driver is vital to victory, no doubt, but even the greatest drivers will struggle to win without a competitive car. However, great cars can turn average drivers (by F1 standards) into race winners. In what other sport do you have this many aerodynamicists, physicists, mechanical engineers, and other super intelligent research and development gurus? I dare you to find one.

Formula 1 is like a science fiction novel, only it’s real. Although they look like normal people, the drivers are required to possess super powers. A space shuttle (R.I.P.) launching into space inflicts approximately 3Gs on the astronaut’s body over the course of a few minutes. An F1 car, in contrast,can put loads of up to 5 times the normal weight of gravity on a driver for up to two hours at a time.

Now ponder how much training astronauts need just for the launch itself. Makes you wonder if F1 drivers really are human. The cars are so advanced and loaded with aerodynamics that one wouldn’t be crazy to imagine they had come from another galaxy. It’s rumored that the cars produce so much downforce with the use of spoilers that they could even drive upside down. Sounds like Mythbusters needs to get in on the action.

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