Classic races, abandoned tracks and trivia teasers – 10 summer-break survival tips

Formula 1

Formula 1’s summer break is here, giving drivers, team personnel and weary journalists a well-deserved break after a flurry of five races in the past six weeks.

For the rest of us, it leaves an F1-shaped hole in our lives that can prove difficult to fill.

Here, BBC Sport presents 10 ways you could navigate these tricky few weeks.

Don’t mention it.

1. Digest our half-term report

By Andrew Benson, chief F1 writer

So far, it has been a classic.

At stake? For Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel, a huge prize – to become the first driver of their generation to be able to call themselves a five-time world champion.

For Mercedes, a chance to equal Ferrari’s record of five consecutive world title doubles; for Ferrari, ending Mercedes’ domination since the introduction of turbo hybrid engines in 2018, and their first title for more than a decade.

It’s so close. Five wins for Hamilton, four for Vettel, three for Red Bull – split between Daniel Ricciardo (two) and Max Verstappen.

The lead has ebbed this way and that; races are turning on small twists of fate – a safety car here, a misjudgement there, even the weather – as at the last race in Hungary.

There’s nothing to choose between the cars – first the advantage appeared to lay with Mercedes (although it was really Hamilton’s genius in Melbourne), then Ferrari, then it swung to Mercedes, then back to Ferrari. But will Vettel be made to pay for a failure to capitalise on their obvious improvement in engine performance in July.

What happens next? Spa and Monza are historically Mercedes tracks but, with this new Ferrari engine, could favour the red cars. New engines from both are due, and that could change things. And how will chassis development go?

Hamilton has had his ups and downs, but the feeling in the paddock is he is that crucial bit stronger than Vettel. If Fernando Alonso was in a Ferrari this good, it might be another matter. But he’s not.

It’s been so intense that the summer break is welcome, but soon everyone will be raring to go again.

As Hamilton says, it’s been “epic” so far.

Pick a winner? Right now, you’d probably say Hamilton, but it’s so hard to say and it could easily swing the other way. Brace yourselves, the last nine races could be awesome.

2. Take a pilgrimage to a historic F1 venue

Giorgio Scarlatti and Innes Ireland take to the pit lane at the 1959 French Grand Prix at Reims-Gueux

Travelling in France this summer? You could do worse than take a detour to the former grand prix circuit at Reims-Gueux.

The stage for 11 F1 French Grands Prix between 1950 and 1966, the circuit was closed in 1972 owing to financial difficulties but mercifully parts of the original infrastructure remain intact.

Pit boxes, the timekeepers’ building and grandstands remain in place, untouched since the track’s heyday.

It’s a poignant place to visit – and a real treat for F1 fans.

Should your summer travels take you further afield (and still within the orbit of current F1 tracks), the majority of the current crop offer guided tours.