About Formula 1
A fast action sport like no other, Formula One has captured the hearts and minds of legions of fans around the world and is second only to football in its popularity.
The drivers have become legends and the 220mph cars are considered the most technically advanced machines on the planet. Even the car manufacturers themselves plough hundreds of millions of pounds into Grand Prix racing every year in a bid to show their technical superiority and F1 provides a stage for Ferrari, McLaren, Renault and Mercedes to go to war under the same set of rules.
The F1 World Championship actually officially came into existence in 1950, although Grand Prix racing had been going on for decades by then.
Since then F1 racing has grown steadily in popularity and the cars have become even more advanced thanks to improved aerodynamics and development budgets that did, at their peak, approachÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂ£1 billion a year. Corporate sponsorship has been an essential part of the sport's growth and the cars of today, festooned with company logos as they are, a world away from the basic machines that Juan Manuel Fangio and Sir Stirling Moss drove all those years ago.
F1 World Champions are hailed as heroes wherever they go and as well as Britain's Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton, greats of the sport include Michael Schumacher, Alain Prost and the late Ayrton Senna.
There's a massive market for merchandise in F1, with replica team clothing, model helmets and cars and old programmes forming just some of the possibilities. Some collectors even buy parts of cars and genuine driver clothing that has been signed comes with a serious price tag.