The single word “car” can be used to describe any one of a number of different kinds of vehicle, from the comfortable family sedan to the armored people carrier, and indeed to the sports cars that are driven around tracks by professional drivers. You’ll never see a Formula One car on a public road outside of special circumstances, but it’s a car all right.
The Formula One car has little in common with a road legal vehicle. The shape is different – it is much lower and more aerodynamically proportioned. It is as small as it can safely be while containing a driver and the necessary safety features, and it is built for high speeds – faster than any road legal car.
The best Formula One drivers over the years have been the likes of Juan Manuel Fangio, Gilles Villeneuve, Ayrton Senna and Michael Schumacher. Although in many cases, these drivers have been helped by having the best car on the circuit, an uncommon level of skill and determination to win has set these men apart. Senna was tragically killed while competing in the San Marino Grand Prix in 1994, but statistically Formula One has had a low level of fatalities for all the speed of the races.
Formula One is similar in many ways to its American cousin, Indycar racing. However, it is felt that the drivers at Formula One level are slightly more technically gifted and the cars more conducive to fast lapping than Indycars. Many young Indycar drivers will make a move to Formula One after succeeding in the States, while few will move the other way.