ATLAS F1   Volume 6, Issue 41

  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

The most frequently asked question is about prize money in Formula One. However, this appears to be the best kept secret in all of sports. The answer is nowhere to be found, with only a few estimates having ever been published. About the only recent information I have come across is a mention that fourth place in the 1999 Constructors' Championship was worth about $1.5 million.

Staying in the money corner, this question arrived:

"can you please give me a list of the f1 drivers' salaries for the 2000 season? geva"

The following information is from the March 2000 issue of EuroBusiness Magazine:

Michael Schumacher      $30 million
Jacques Villeneuve      $10 million
Mika Hakkinen           $10 million
Eddie Irvine            $10 million
Ralf Schumacher          $6 million
Rubens Barrichello       $5.5 million
Giancarlo Fisichella     $4 million
Heinz-Harald Frentzen    $3.5 million
Jarno Trulli             $3.25 million
Jean Alesi               $3 million
David Coulthard          $2.75 million
Ricardo Zonta            $2.75 million
Mika Salo                $2.5 million
Alexander Wurz           $1.5 million
Johnny Herbert           $1.25 million
Nick Heidfeld            $1 million
Jenson Button            $0.3 million
Jos Verstappen           $0.25 million
Marc Gene                $0 million
Gaston Mazzacane        ($2 million)
Pedro Diniz             ($8 million)
Pedro de la Rosa        ($8 million)

All figures are estimates, in US dollars. Numbers in brackets signify that the driver paid the team that amount for the drive, with sponsorship money.

"My question is about Michael Schumacher's number of GP starts. According to some statistic (such as FORIX) he has only 141 GP starts while he has 143 presences. I fully understand the France GP in 1996 where he had engine fail during formation lap. But what about Silverstone 1999? In my opinion he has actually started the GP, but finished in second corner. For example 5 driver finished their race this year also in second corner in Monza and it is counted to their statistic GP starts records. Thanks. Juraj."

Michael Schumacher's crash happened on the first lap of the original start, which was red flagged because Alex Zanardi and Jacques Villeneuve had stalled on the grid. Article 156 of the FIA Formula One Sporting Regulations explains the procedure for a race that is red flagged: "156) The procedure to be followed varies according to the number of laps completed by the race leader before the signal to stop the race was given : Case A. Less than two full laps. If the race can be restarted, Article 157 will apply....". Article 157 then says that "The original start shall be deemed null and void.". This is why Michael Schumacher hasn't been awarded a start for this race.

"Is it possible to get points, even if one doesn't see the chequered flag (i.e. only five cars finish a race, and all other drop out) ? Andreas"

This depends on the distance completed. To score points, a driver has to be classified as a finisher of that race, so the driver must have completed at least 90% of the distance covered by the race winner.

The last time not all of the top six was awarded points was the 1984 USA-Detroit Grand Prix. Winner Nelson Piquet completed 63 laps, which meant that the classification mark was set at 56 laps. At first, all points were awarded, as six cars had finished the race. However, later in the season, both Tyrrells were disqualified from the championship, removing Martin Brundle's second place, which reduced the number of classified drivers to five. The last car to retire was Ferrari driver Michele Alboreto, who suffered a blown engine after 49 laps, which was seven short of classification.

Another four times the top six wasn't complete:

  • Spain 1970, when John Surtees retired after 76 of the 90 laps, leaving five drivers to complete the race;
  • Monaco 1968, when again John Surtees was the last one to retire before the finish. Five cars continued after Surtees' retirement after just 16 of the 80 laps;
  • Spain 1968, when Bruce McLaren retired after 77 of 90 laps;
  • Monaco 1966 was a bit of a special case. Six drivers finished the race, but both Guy Ligier and Jo Bonnier finished respectively 25 and 27 laps down, far too few to be classified. Richie Ginther, who completed more laps than Ligier and Bonnier, retired 20 laps from the end, and so also wasn't classified, leaving just four cars in the points.

"is the setting for each car in one team is same? for example is coulthard and hakkinen car is the same setting? Looke"

No, the cars in each team are setup to the personal preferences of each driver. Often teammates share their findings about setting the car up, so they can try to gain time from each other's experiences. This isn't always the case though. Teammates Nigel Mansell and Nelson Piquet developed a rivalry at Williams in 1986 and 1987 that was as fierce as the rivalry this decade between Michael Schumacher and Damon Hill in 1994 and 1995.

"I just wanted to find out if Ferrari's private race track at Fiorano needs and FIA superlicense in order to be used for testing and if there are FIA personnel who actually conduct the timing when Ferrari test there. Thanks, Peter"

Any Formula One track, be it in private use or a public track, has to be FIA approved. FIA personnel are only required, however, at test sessions where more than one team takes part. So at Fiorano, FIA personnel are only required when Ferrari invite other teams to test with them, such as occasionally occurs when Minardi test there.

"When all the cars dived into the pits after the Pace Car came out, because of the on track protester, Murry Walker & Martin Brundle made the comment that Coultard should have come into the pits at the same time as Hakkinen. Coultard would sit stationary while Hakkinen completed his stop then have his turn. 1. Is this allowed? (With McLaren up the extreme end of the pit lane it would be feasible but for teams in the middle of the pit, this would be unfair) 2. Would Coultard have lost out by this kind of tactic (time wise) or was he be better off to stay out & circulate for another lap? Dean"

It is allowed, and in fact happened in the 1994 German Grand Prix, where Mika Hakkinen caused a first corner accident. Both Williams drivers, Damon Hill and David Coulthard, suffered damage in the incident, with Hill arriving at the Williams pits as the pit crew continued to work on Coulthard's car. Coulthard later rejoined the race but retired after 17 laps, while Hill finished just over a lap behind winner Gerhard Berger. In addition to the time Hill had to wait for Coulthard's car to be repaired, his own pitstop was quite long as his car also needed repairs. The interesting thing to note here is that the safety car was not deployed, despite nearly half the field retiring on the first lap.

More recently, in similar situations, the safety car has been deployed, so the team must work out if they can service both cars before the safety car completes the lap. If the second car can come back on track before the safety car has completed the lap, he can drive at fairly high speed to catch up with the cars in the back, losing less time to the leaders.

Editorial Remarks:

  • 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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