ATLAS F1   Volume 6, Issue 31 Email to Friend   Printable Version

Atlas F1   The F1 FAQ

  by Marcel Schot, Netherlands

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

"sir , my students need to know some facts about f1 and these facts seems to be confidentials... can you help me with it ? about jacques villeneuve's 2000 formule1 : power and rpm max speed , acc.0-100kph time 0-100 kph consommation liters/ 100 km mass , numbers of valves ...and everything ouy can find. We thank you and hope to get an answer and some good address where to find those answers !, Cora K"

While most teams aren't very eager to give away many details of their current car out of fear the competition will get to know too much, some data is usually presented on the team website. This is also the case with Jacques Villeneuve's BAR Honda 002. The technical specifications of the car can be found at The maximum speed of the car depends on the setup used, so we're likely to see the absolute maximum on either Hockenheim or Monza this year. The number of valves is one of the things you can't find in the technical specifications at BAR. However all of the teams that do disclose their number of valves - and that's all teams except BAR and Jaguar - use 4 valves per cylinder, totalling 40, so it's safe to say that goes for the BAR Honda 002 too. As far as mass is concerned, all teams say the same thing : 600 kg including driver, not surprisingly the limit that's mentioned in the FIA technical regulations.

The fuel consumption is also a thing we can only make estimates of. Most teams have a capacity of around 100 litres and in recent years we have only seen one car completing an entire race without a fuel stop : Mika Salo's Tyrrell 025 in the 1997 rain shortened Monaco Grand Prix. In distance the Monaco Grand Prix is always shorter than the usual 300 km, since the low speeds make the event reach the 2 hour limit much sooner. The 1997 event, due to the rain, was limited to 209 km, so the estimate of about 2 km/litre (50 litres/100km) in normal conditions might be a good one. This is further proven by the fact that we rarely see a driver on a one stop strategy stop after more than 2/3 distance.

"what is the life span of the parts of an F1 car? Which ones get 'recycled' into another car, and which are replaced, and how frequently? Roger V"

The life span of the various parts of an F1 car vary from one race to an entire season. Even within some parts, some pieces can handle an entire season while others have to be changed after each race. Prime example is the gearbox. The housing of the gearbox doesn't usually suffer much damage and can be used all season, while the internal parts have to be changed every one to three races. For the steering wheel the life is longer: the electronics within the wheel have to be changed every two to five races, while the mechanical parts can be left unchanged for half a season. However, most active parts are changed after each race and rarely any parts can handle more than an entire season. Only the basis of the car, the chassis and monocoque, are built to last.

"Monza known as ultra low downforce circuit, what is the consequences of this circuit characteristic to the F1 car? particularly for the use of tyres, fuel, front/rear wings, pitstop strategy and race strategy. can you describe the differences of monza characteristics to monaco characteristics in term of team strategy to win the race."

First of all the pitstop strategy. This not only has a lot to do with the circuit and the speed cars drive at in, but also with the configuration of the pitlane. Monza has a pitlane that runs parallel to the track without any bends, therefore the only things that cost time in Monza are the pitlane speed limit and the stop itself. On other circuits, like Interlagos, the pitlane is much longer and has tight bends that limit the speed of the cars even before they reach the start of the speed limited zone. Monza on the other hand, has another key factor in deciding for what pitstop strategy to go. The pitstraight is very long and extremely fast. This means that, even though the driving in the pitlane before and after the speed limit zone can be flat out, a pitstop costs a lot of time compared to the cars that don't stop.

If we take a look at last year, the top speed in sector 1 and 3 (the ones with the pitstraight) were respectively 324 kmh and 323 kmh. The quickest pitstop from pitentrance to pitexit was 18.9 seconds. This means around 8 seconds of 0 kmh and about 11 of 120 kmh, which averages to about 70 kmh. Compared to 320 kmh this is 19.4 meter/second vs 88.9 meter/second. With a pitlane length of 750 meters, this means the ongoing car needs 8.4 seconds to cover the distance and the stopping car needs 38.7 seconds, so each pitstop costs 30 seconds effectively. It's up to the team specialists to determine how much time they lose or win on a one stop strategy over a two stop strategy, because the additional fuel load and the extra tyre wear will make the average laptimes for a one stop strategy slower. However, at Monza drivers rarely make more than one stop.

With one stop for Monza in mind, we see that the pitstop timeframe was rather large last year. Some went in between lap 24 and 30, while most opted for their stop between lap 30 and 36. So there's actually two ways of thinking. The first is to divide the race in two sections of approximately equal length, while another group takes the start with the absolute maximum of fuel load, stopping around 2/3 of the race. Seeing that the only driver of the first group to be placed in the top six was Rubens Barrichello, it looks like stopping once as late as possible is the best option for Monza.

The single late pitstop also limits the teams in their choice of tyres. The soft tyre compound offers more grip, but also sustains a significantly faster wear. With the long first stint and the configuration of fast sweeping corners and tight chicanes, the soft tyre isn't really an option, so for Monza the hard compound is basically the only choice.

The wings are where the comparison with Monaco says the most. On Monza, the wings are placed almost horizontally to reduce downforce to increase top speed (see, while on Monaco they're placed almost vertically to increase downforce and give the car the best possible grip in the corners (see

For the race strategy Monaco offers one concern that can't be overlooked : it's extremely hard to overtake. The downside of pitstops is that usually you end up a few places back, so in order to score you'd have to overtake people. With that being nearly impossible at Monaco, teams try to do as little stopping as possible. So we basically have the same pitstop strategy as on Monza, but for entirely different reasons. The timing of the pitstops at Monaco also has to do with overtaking. Monaco is one of the places where decisions to make a stop are often made on the spot. As the fuel tanks can hold a supply for about 75% of the race because of the shorter distance, the one stop frame essentially can go from 25% to 75% of the race. However, if you want a decent gap to make on the spot decisions, you'd have to go away with full tanks. Stopping once at 25% really isn't an option, since the driver would drive almost the entire race with a large fuelload, which costs time. So normally speaking 45% to 70% of race distance is the timeframe in which to stop. Because of the overtaking difficulties, the main reason for stopping is when a driver runs into traffic, which is hard to predict exactly when it comes, hence the large timeframe.

"Since there are 3 drivers in contention for the drivers title this year it made me wonder about this question. "When was the last time there were 3 or more drivers in with a chance of the drivers title while going into the last race?" I've been watching F1 since about 1992 and I can't remember there ever being more than 2 in with a chance of the title during the last race. Thanks, Clive Hodgson"

It indeed is a long time ago that three drivers battled for the title until the end. The last time that happened was 1986, when Nigel Mansell led with 70 points. Alain Prost followed with 64, while Nelson Piquet had 63 points. In the final race, the Australian Grand Prix, Mansell saw his almost certain title fade away when his tyre blew. Piquet, Mansell's teammate at Williams, was leading after the Briton's retirement, but just for safety measures he was brought into the pits for new tyres, handing the lead to Prost, who held on to it to win the title.

"Is it true,that Michael Schumacher's normal pulse is 34 beats per minute?And if it's true,is he O.K.?"

While this kind of pulse looks alarmingly low, it's actually a sign of extreme fitness. Another example is multiple Tour de France bicycle winner Miguel Indurain, whose resting pulse was in the 20s at the height of his career. Thanks to Mark Alan Jones for the information.

"Was the Ford GT40 an Eric Broadley (Lola) design? or is my memory failing again? Thank you, Den S."

Your memory is working fine. When Henry Ford II wanted to modernise the company's image, Ford first attempted to buy Ferrari. When that failed, Eric Broadley and his Lola team were involved and the Ford GT40 evolved from the Lola GT car.

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.

Marcel Schot© 2000 Kaizar.Com, Incorporated.
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