How to Start Your Formula One Car — Special Guest Blog!

This is a special guest blog from Sam Schweizer. After careful research, he offers the advice below. Please remember that The F1 Newsletter encourages you to get all necessary legal permissions before trying this at home.

There’s a lot of talk around the Premium Unleaded garage about who would be the best F1 driver (Answer: no one would make it around a Grand Prix track even once without stalling or crashing into something). A better question might be: could we even start an F1 car? Could we Memphis Raines one of these whips and be gone in 60 seconds?

How do you boost an F1 car?
Well, they don’t use keys like production cars (Podcast topic: F1 driver most likely to lose his keys if F1 cars used keys). Though they only seat one, nicking an F1 car is a two-man job. Bring along a Very Special Friend (VSF) who is willing to take the fall for the robbery, and who also possess an external starter motor (pictured below) with a 24V marine/truck battery pack. You might be able to roll-start, but it would have to be down a VERY big hill. The engine has to turn over at a very high RPM to get going, not 800-1000 RPM like your mom’s Corolla.
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Oh, the engine and its fluids have to be very hot. The engines are very temperamental and won’t start if the engine oil is too cold. Let’s just assume you’re stealing this car on an especially hot day in Tempe, Arizona. Your VSF then has to stick the wand into the transmission of the car you’re stealing. Where? Who knows?!!
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You’re almost out of the woods! Your VSF started the car and probably looks like Daffy Duck after a cigar explodes in his face. The sirens are worryingly close, and you just need to perform a quick Bite Point Check (BPC) and be on your way. You stomp around for the clutch. You can’t see your feet at all because there’s no room in the cockpit and you’re basically lying down.
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Where is it?! There are only two pedals! Now you can see the blue lights in your rear view mirrors as you remember that the clutch PADDLES are on the steering wheel. (hopefully the team has kindly left the $50k wheel in the car for you).
You depress both clutch paddles for your getaway BPC, releasing the quick-release clutch paddle (“I had a 50/50 chance.” ~Jack Ryan. You’ll have to guess which is the “full-depress” paddle, and which is the “slow-release” paddle depending on the normal drivers’ preference), you gently release the other paddle as you feel the massively powerful engine, which is revving near ten thousand RPM, start to catch the throttle, just like a normal car! Assuming you don’t stall immediately on account of the enormous difficulty of performing your first BPC under these circumstances, you should be on your way like Sly in Driven, 2001.
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