The Race Start

Formula One starts each race with a formation takeoff. Eight planes line up in rows of 3-2-3. Planes stage on the runway 10 minutes before race start.

Each team has a tow vehicle with a tow bar to pull the plane from its pit to the runway. After the tow vehicle parks the plane on the runway, the pilot and three crew members stay with the plane. The crew helps the pilot with his/her helmet, Nomex gloves, and harness. Most pilots choose to start their engines with five minutes remaining on the countdown clock. The crew holds the wings and the tail while the pilot completes an engine run up and other pre-race checks. These aircraft have an incredible amount of power, and their brakes are not enough to keep the aircraft stationary during a full-power run up.

At three minutes to go, the flag officials dismiss the crew. When the countdown ends, the flag drops, and the pilots go full power for takeoff.

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