Atlas F1 The F1 FAQ

  by Mark Alan Jones, Australia

Have a question about Formula One statistics or history? Well you're not the only one, and it's about time someone came up with the answers to Formula One's most Frequently Asked Questions. Send us your questions, to - we may not know everything, but we will sure make the effort to find out

While I don't have a picture handy, imagine your humble correspondent dressed in long shorts with braces, a zig zag multi-coloured yet drab looking knitted sweater, and wearing a handkerchief on my head. Yes, I am now a Gumby. In the last FAQ I had said Graham Chapman was the head of Lotus, but as far as I can tell the comedian of Monty Python fame had nothing to do with Colin Chapman's Team Lotus operation. About the only thing Graham and Colin had in common apart from nationality was that they were both taken from us before their time. Thank you for those who wrote in informing me of my slip.

"Who is the first French driver to win a Grand Prix in Formula One? Thank you in advance for your answer."

France has been both the birthplace and traditional home of Formula One but it's never been an outstanding producer of drivers. As far as the world championship goes, the first Frenchman to win a race was Maurice Trintignant who took a Ferrari 625 to win the 1955 Monaco Grand Prix. Trintignant never made a great impact on Formula One, though - his only other win came three years later at the same circuit.

It wasn't until the 70s that the French arrived. And Arrive they did. Francois Cevert was the first to pick up a race win racing for Tyrrell in 1971 at Watkins Glen, followed the next year by Jean-Pierre Beltoise in a BRM at Monaco. The next French win was in 1977 to Jacques Laffite at Anderstorp, Sweden. Laffite would win six races between 1977 and 1981 driving for Ligier.

Patrick Depailler chipped in with a win each for Tyrrell and Ligier in 1978 & 1979. Jean-Pierre Jabouille grabbed a couple of wins for Renault, including winning that race at Dijon ahead of the famous battle between Rene Arnoux and Gilles Villeneuve, in 1979. Arnoux himself won two races for Renault in 1980 and later picked up five more wins for Scuderia Ferrari in 1982 & 1983, coming within points of winning the 1983 world championship. Didier Pironi would pick up three wins for Ligier and Ferrari, and Patrick Tambay would pick up a couple of wins at Ferrari. Later Jean Alesi would win the 1995 Canadian Grand Prix and Olivier Panis the 1996 Monaco Grand Prix for Ferrari and Ligier respectively.

But standing above them all was Alain Prost. Prost's first win came in 1981 for Renault at the home circuit of Dijon. He would win two more races for Renault in 1981, then two more in 1982 and four more in 1983 when he just lost the title. A switch to McLaren in 1984 brought seven wins and a half point loss to Niki Lauda in the world championship. In 1985 there was no stopping Prost, and after five wins became world champion. In 1986 the pickings were slimmer but still won 4 races, and the championship a last gasp Australian Grand Prix. Three more wins in 1987, seven in 1988 and four in 1989 (and another world championship). A move to Ferrari in 1990 brought five more wins. After a sabbatical in 1992, Prost joined Williams in 1993 and was world champion again, winning seven more races before retiring, having won more races than anyone else in F1 history.

"Dear Sir, I have been wondering for some time now, why F1 cars are not allowed to use the turbo function. They did before 1996, I think... Anastasiadis L"

Turbo engines were banned at the end of 1988, to reduce the outrageous power outputs the turbo cars were creating, thus increasing driver safety, and also to encourage more manufacturers to join Formula One under the perceived cheaper 3.5 litre naturally aspirated regulations. It worked on both counts.

"Many F1 Teams are named after an individual, e.g. Jordan as in Eddie Jordan. What I would like to know is which teams are so named and what is the background of the person after which the team is named. Were they drivers? Interested enthusiasts? Just very wealthy? Or what? For those teams not named after an individual, how did they acquire their current name? I would be interested in current teams and teams from the past. A sort of related question is F1 teams mutate over time taking on a new personae eg Stewart to Jaguar, Tyrell to BAR? I am interested in how and when have F1 teams started, stopped and mutated over time. Are there any books that cover the content of the above 2 questions? Ken B, Australia"

Taking into account the current teams:

  • Ferrari today are the promotional arm of Ferrari Cars and FIAT in general, but was originally named after Enzo Ferrari, who founded Scuderia Ferrari in the immediate post war years, at first running the Alfa Romeo factory Formula One team before billing his own Ferrari cars. Enzo Ferrari ruled the team well into the 1980's.

  • McLaren was named after the New Zealand born founder, Bruce McLaren. A driver himself, McLaren followed the lead of former Cooper teammate Jack Brabham and began building his own cars in the early 60's. McLaren won races for both Cooper and his own McLarens. McLaren came to dominate Can-AM racing in the US before being sold in 1980 to Ron Dennis who has built it into the team of today.

  • Eddie Jordan created Jordan many moons ago and promoted the team from Formula 3000 in 1990 to Formula One in 1991. The team struggled for many years before starting to win races two years ago.

  • Jaguar is a name inspired by Ford to achieve commercial success to Ford's luxury car market.

  • Sir Frank Williams created and recreated his Formula One team several times in the 70's but once the combination with Patrick Head and Alan Jones settled, the team became a race winner. Williams was a racer who maxed out in Formula 3, having found that running a team was something he was better at.

  • Beneton is named affer the team owner and largest sponsor, the Benetton group of companies which in turn is named after the Benetton family, which owns and runs the business.

  • Sauber is named after Swiss Peter Sauber who created the team to run the Mercedes Sports Car operation in the mid 1980's before joining Formula One in 1993. As a Sports Car team Sauber won both World Championships and Le Mans, but open wheeler success has eluded them thus far.

  • Prost is named after the four time Formula One world champion, Alain Prost, who took over Ligier in 1997.

  • Arrows was a team created by former Lotus Formula One driver Jackie Oliver, and is now owned by Tom Walkinshaw. Not named after anyone.

  • Giancarlo Minardi has been at the helm or nearby since 1985 with his Minardi cars, forever struggling but always there.

  • Finally British America Racing is named after the team's principle sponsor and owner, British American Tobacco.

    On the subject of mutated names - Jaguar last year was Stewart, named after Jackie and Paul Stewart and is essentially an upgrade of Paul Stewart Racing, a veteran of Britsh Formula 3 and Formula 3000. Jackie is a three times world champion and the figure heard that Ford respect. Paul Stewart ran and still runs the race team. There's not a lot of Tyrrell left at BAR, most of the staff left and the equipment was sold to Paul Stoddart from the European Formula 3000 series. Ken Tyrrell formed a semi-factory team of Marches that kicked when Jackie Stewart could get it to work. Benetton were once known as Toleman and will in the near future be called Renault. Prost was once the Ligier team, founded by ex-Formula One driver Guy Ligier. Most teams of recent times have been named for the team principals, whether in be Jack Brabham, Chris Amon, Roger Penske etc

    One book full of this kind of information is "The Complete Encyclopaedia of Formula One" by Bruce Jones. But bring a wheelbarrow if buying - It's big!

    "I would like to receive information about BAR's results in 1999 - in details. I know that they didn't score any point last season, but can you give me the detail about how BAR faired in every race in last season? And if you can not answer my question, could you recommend any other sites? thank you very much before, Ansar B."

    While I could go through the short history of British America Racing, it's better that I introduce you to FORIX, the most complete Formula One statistical database ever conceived of: From the front page, after selecting the language of choice, scroll down to the 1950-2000 section, select Makes, then BAR and the complete history of BAR will appear.

    "Has any F1 team ever used a Wankel Rotary Engine? Are there any rules today preventing the use of such an unconventional design? Rahman D"

    The Wankel rotary engine was banned along with the Gas Turbine, Diesel, Sarich Orbital, and any engine type other than the Internal Combustion Engine as part of the 1982 Concorde Agreement between the teams and the FIA, which also banned four wheel drive. The only use of the Wankel rotary in recent time in motorsport has been in Mazda Sports Cars and Touring Cars. A 14D powered Mazda 787B won Le Mans in an upset first Japanese win in 1991, snatching victory from the 7 litre Jaguar XJR-12 horde.

    Editorial Remark:

    • Some of the questions we receive have already been replied to in previous F1 FAQ columns. Therefore, before sending in a question, we suggest you have a look at the back issues, by searching the FAQ database. Not that we mind getting so much mail, just that we feel bad for those who feel they are left unanswered...

    • We receive quite a few questions from you all, and it is absolutely impossible for us to research and respond to each of you, be it here or privately. Please, don't feel discouraged if your question was not replied to; it might come up in the next column. And don't forget - you can always look for answers at the Atlas F1 Bulletin Board.

  • Mark Alan Jones© 2000 Kaizar.Com, Incorporated.
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