ATLAS F1   Volume 6, Issue 45 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

This week's F1 FAQ has a bit of a finance and logistics theme.

"What I really need though, is sponsorship details, ie how much it costs, say for a certain logo to be placed on the various parts of the car, ie HP, Pearl etc, how much does it cost for their space on the car. I would appreciate you help.... Thank you, Andrew"

EuroBusiness magazine's March 2000 issue included a financial profile on the Jordan team. From this we get a good insight on how much is paid by the various sponsors. Benson & Hedges of course is by far the biggest sponsor, since they're Jordan's title sponsor, ie. the name of the sponsor is part of the title of the team as it appears in the official FIA documents. Besides this, the cigarette company also has the prime spots on the car covered with their logo (rear wing, sidepods, nose, front wing). All of this costs them US$30 million. The second biggest sponsor is German postal/logistics company Deutsche Post, who pay US$12.5 million for their places on the airbox, side and nose of the car. The last big logo on the Jordan is that of Mastercard. Also on both sides of the car, this one costs US$4 million. Various smaller spots, such as below the Benson & Hedges logo on the sidepod, small spots on the fron twing, rear wing endplates, winglets in front of the rear tyres and the upper front of the sidepods go for 'bargain' prices of between US$1 million and US$2 million.

Beside sponsors who pay for visual exposure on the car, there are also sponsors who support Jordan with supplies, such as communication equipment, computer equipment and most importantly parts. Rather than being income for the team, this kind of sponsorship covers expenses. Mugen-Honda supplied engines in 2000 for a value of US$22 million, while Bridgestone supplied US$3 million worth of tyres. These are the only 2 above US$1 million, but there are several smaller amounts from other sponsors.

The total amount of sponsorship money for Jordan in 2000 is said to be US$57.5 million plus US$28.5 million supply sponsorship, totalling to US$86 million.

"How do the teams ship cars to the circuits every other weekend? For example, how does McLaren take the (three, four?) MP4-15's from Woking to Melbourne or Imola or Indianapolis? Any ideas on what the transportation cost is? Or how much time it takes? Thanks in advance, George"

Here we have two different types of transport to deal with. For the European Grands Prix, trucks are used, while for overseas races, everything gets loaded onto airplanes. With regard to the European races, let's have a look at McLaren. The team has three large and ultra-modern Mercedes-Benz trucks, which all have a crew of two drivers to take them to the races. One truck leaves early, usually a week ahead of the race weekend. This truck contains all the things needed to set up the team's pitboxes. The contents of this truck has to be unpacked and ready for work when the other two arrive at the circuit.

These other two trucks contain the cars and enormous amounts of spare parts and tools. Those trucks are packed with military precision, leaving not an inch unoccupied. They are packed and ready to leave a week before the race, to take the ferry to the mainland and then drive straight to the circuit, where the should arrive on the Tuesday before the race. This seems slow, but with the maximum speed and other rules (such as the ban on trucks driving in Germany on Sundays) in mind, there's not a lot of margin, especially for the races in Spain, Italy and Hungary.

"Please ,give me information about following: When "heater" for warming up tyres was used for the first time? Which Grand Prix? Vadim"

Tyre heaters were first used by Lotus in the 1985 European Grand Prix at Brands Hatch. During the first qualifying session, Ayrton Senna destroyed Nelson Piquet's provisional pole time by over a second. This act got the other teams quite interested in seeing what Lotus was up to. They found out Lotus used special blankets to bring the tyres up to their optimal temperature in the pitbox, rather than having to drive an extra lap, during which the tyres picked up not only heat, but also dust and rubber particles. The other teams quickly adapted, but the single session advantage was enough to give Senna pole position. A full report on the race can be found in the European Grand Prix Race to Remember article.

"In the post-race interviews at Sepang, Minardi officials (and drivers) referred to having "secured 10th place in the constructor's championship", presumably ahead of Prost. Since neither team scored any points, how is it that Minardi is considered tenth? In a related question, why is it considered an advantage to get an earlier spot in the pits? I believe that the pit lane is order based on the previous year's constructor's standings, but I'm not sure why having the first spot would be considered an advantage. Dimo"

Whenever two teams are tied in points, the team with the most first places is ranked higher. If those are the same, the team with the most second places is ranked higher, and so on until a decision can be made. Only if all numbers of results per position are equal, the FIA will make a decision "according to such criteria as it thinks fit". In the case of Prost vs Minardi, up to and including seventh placed finishes, both teams have no results. Minardi, however, have scored three eighth places against Prost's single eighth place. Similar criteria was used to separate BAR and Benetton. Benetton finished fourth in the championship because of Giancarlo Fisichella's second place in Brazil, as BAR had no podium finishes at all.

On the pitlane order, I personally see only an advantage in the very first position. The advantage would be that there are no other cars do drive around when you come into the pits. In some occasions more teams will be out in the pitlane, getting ready to receive their driver. In that case the driveway from the pitlane to the service area (or fast lane to slow lane) becomes much tighter for the car further on in the pitlane, since he has to steer around the other driver's pitcrew instead of driving to his crew diagonally.

Maybe the teams nearest to the pitlane exit have a slight deficit because they may not be up to speed and have somewhat colder tyres when they leave the pitlane, but if you ask me the difference is more psychological than practical.

"I go to silverstone for f1 testing whenever its on. I have just bought a scanner and need to find the teams radio frequencies ,any ideas !! hope you can help, Mark"

This is a difficult point. When you can listen to what the teams say, so can the other teams. In other words, Formula One teams will do everything possible to avoid the publication of radio frequencies. Sometimes they even scramble the signal, but on several occasions in the past season, I've heard radio traffic from the Arrows team on Dutch television, so there probably are some channels which you could pick up. The only thing I can suggest is to keep your scanner running across all channels to see if you can pick up something.

"This is a sort of pre-emptive F1 FAQ. Montoya is about to become an F1 racer. He had a great 1999 in CART. But his 2000 has been pretty ordinary. Surely this is bad news for his new employers who got rid of a CART champion coming to F1 off a great year in CART. Is there any way of measuring likely success? And why, in any case, has Montoya been so lacklustre?"

A large part of Montoya's lack of success in CART this year lies in the fact that he drove a Lola-Toyota, with many failures, although most were not engine related unlike previous years for Toyota. Montoya's reliability this year was probably worse than that of Prost in Formula One. Of the 20 races, Montoya only finished eight, compared to an average of fourteen for the cars ahead of him. Montoya led 820 laps during the season, which was more that twice as much as his closest rival in that department, Helio Castroneves (372 laps led) and nearly three times as many as champion Gil de Ferran. Montoya led 37% of his laps, against de Ferran's 11%. Of the eight races Montoya finished, he won three and finished second once. He led the most laps in five races, but of those five he won only once.

So while the final rankings display a mediocre season, the stats behind the rankings show a very good season in an unreliable car. As the past has shown, performance in one series doesn't necessarily say anything about how a driver will perform in another series. Alex Zanardi fumbled in Formula One last year, while Jacques Villeneuve struck gold right away. A lot depends on the circumstances in which a driver arrives. Montoya's situation is different to both mentioned drivers. Villeneuve entered Formula One knowing he was in one of the two best cars on the grid, while Zanardi was coming into Formula One under a lot of pressure after his CART dominance, but coming to a team which was rebuilding after an era of great success. In that respect it might suit Montoya that his final season in CART is regarded as mediocre. He'll step into the Williams, now firmly on the way back to the top, with a little less pressure than Zanardi. We'll see in April how things will work out.

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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