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

These last two weeks have seen my inbox inundated with e-mails correcting me on an error from the last issue. Arrows is of course actually A.R.R.O.W.S originally. The team name was created in exactly the same manner as March was; as Alan Rees was involved in both teams perhaps the idea can be pointed at him. The name was formed from the team's original financier Franco Ambrosio "A", team manager Alan Rees "R", team principal Jackie Oliver "O", and the design team of David Wass "W" and Tony Southgate "S". An extra "R" was added to create ARROWS.

Also, twice since the FAQ forum was created there have been questions about the Tyrrell P34, and particularly about its unique four small front wheel set up. Simon Bull has made us aware that one of these is back racing again. Martin Stretton Racing in the US have restored Tyrrell P34 chassis no 6 (used by Ronnie Peterson in 1977) and are competing in the US Historic Formula One scene. For those interested in a peek, pop along to

"Sir! Do you know of any F1 virtual games that have the famous tracks of the world in their original configuration; ie Monza with the banking or San Marino with no chicanes? I think it would be fun to virtually race or test the modern era F1's on the most challenging tracks in their notorious con figs. Thank You Aloha, Woodii C"

A couple of examples spring to mind. The first is the benchmark of all racing sims "Grand Prix 2". While GP2 now looks a bit chunky and dated, it plays better than most more recent releases, and is rated as the most realistic to play in terms of setting up the cars and handling, etc. GP2 is also supremely customisable. It's relatively easy to replace the 16 tracks of season 1994 with a near infinite variety of circuits.

My own personal version of GP2 has had its trackset modified to include Mount Panorama Bathurst, Phillip Island, Brands Hatch, Laguna Seca, Osterrichring, Indianapolis and I'm currently in search of a full length version of Le Mans. I've also got car sets for every Formula One season back to about 1966, so I can go racing at Dijon while Gilles Villeneuve is trying to get past Rene Arnoux, or take the world championship in 1966 with Black Jack Brabham, or have Damon Hill winning the 1994 Australian Grand Prix, or introduce Jenson Button to Bathurst. There are old, 'unchicaned' versions of several of the classic circuits available. I'd recommend visiting the Atlas F1 Racing Simulators Forum for advice.

There is also "Grand Prix Legends". A more recent game, with the higher levels of graphics to go with it, it's a very different game. It's set in 1967, and the cars handle appropriately and race on the circuits of the era, like the original Spa-Francorchamps and the mighty Nurburgring Nordschlieffe. New circuits for the game are appearing, but its greater graphical complexity means this is slower in appearing.

"Why was Keke Rosberg disqualified twice from second place in 1982 and 1983? thanks a lot Roger T."

The first Finnish world champion did receive a pair of disqualifications from second place, both from the Brazilian Grand Prix at Jacarepagua. The first was in the traumatic 1982 season, the season of Rosberg's championship. It was the first time Rosberg had driven at the pointy end of the field after a couple of seasons with small teams and a disappointing South African Grand Prix. Rosberg diced with Nelson Piquet for second place for much of the early running. It became a firm second place after Rosberg started to fade and race leader Gilles Villeneuve spun off. Alain Prost in one of the turbo-charged Renaults was third.

However, the results were later clouded by the war going on in the sidelines between FOCA, who were representing the 3 litre naturally aspirated cars, and FISA, who were representing the manufacturers-backed teams, which included all the turbo cars, but also curiously the V12 Alfa Romeos. A loophole in the rules allowed the naturally aspirated teams to refill their water cooled brake reservoirs between the race finish and the weigh-in, thus effectively allowing them to run underweight during races, legally.

At the following race, the United States Grand Prix West, Ferrari protested the ruling in an interesting manner. They ran a car with two rear wings for Gilles Villeneuve and Didier Pironi. The second wing was mounted horizontally in line with the first, and just behind it and offset to the right, providing a wing much wider than normal. Villeneuve finished third and was disqualified for the wing. That was the last straw for Enzo Ferrari and the Brazilian Grand Prix result was appealed in the FIA Court of Appeals. The court decided to close the loophole about the brake reservoirs, retroactively. Thus, several weeks later, Piquet's Brabham and Rosberg's Williams were removed from the race's classification sheets. The FOCA teams responded to this by boycotting the next race, the San Marino Grand Prix. That then linked into a whole series of other issues which Don Capps covered more fully in his series of articles on the 1982 season in "The Rear View Mirror" column.

1983 was very different. The gap between turbo cars and the naturally aspirated cars had grown in 1983. For Jacarepagua, though, Williams discovered that if they went for softer tyres they could stay with the turbos, if they accepted the need for a pitstop. During that pitstop fuel spilt over the engine cover and the Williams caught fire. Rosberg leapt from the car and the fire was extinguished. The car was not damaged so Rosberg was hurriedly returned to the car. The Cosworth V8 wouldn't fire though and Rosberg was push started by the team. From there the first flying finn drove a race of a lifetime, to recover second place after such a long stop. Sadly, though, that push start was declared illegal and Rosberg was disqualified again. Twice no reward for terrific drives.

"Just wondering how the gas/fuel flaps are operated on modern day F1 cars: in some pictures, one sees them opened and then in race positions, of course, they closed. Are they wind activated to shut or driver assisted via some mechanical bit? Also, what do the various "E" and "N" stickers (both surrounded by a circle) mean on all the team's cars (or most of them)? Lastly, and I'll be brief, if pit stops are so crucial in today's races, why do all drivers induce wheelspin and "burn out"? It appears valuable milliseconds are lost due to their anxiousness. Shouldn't they, instead, try and replicate their starts at this time and not kill their tires? Thank you kindly and keep up the wonderful work, John C."

The refuelling flaps are now all button activated from the steering wheel, although when refuelling started one team - I think Ligier - was using a mechanical lever.

The "E" sticker indicates the positioning of a safety device that kills all electrical power in the car, thus in the event of a car stopping, or crashing on the circuit, the marshalls can pull this to prevent themselves from being electrocuted by the car, or providing sparks which may cause leaking petrol to ignite. Similarly, the "N" sticker indicates a device which can put the car in neutral, thus allowing marshalls to more easily push cars away from danger and toward a position out of harm's way or close enough for one of the cranes to grab the car.

As for wheel spinning pit stop escapes: one of the problems with tyres is that no matter how much you pre-warm your tyres, they're never up to race operating temperatures when bolting them to the car. One of the best ways to increase tyre temperature is to break traction and spin the wheels.

"Here in Canada fuel prices have risen dramatically and I assume it is pretty much the same around the globe. Has this had a drastic affect on the smaller teams? Or are the fuel companies just 'footing' the bill? Thanks. Mike B, Canada"

At the start of the year the various fuel companies involved in Formula One provide a fuel sample which is used as a control sample for comparison so strange fuel additive cocktails of previous years don't return to Formula One, thus ensuring Formula One doesn't use petrol significantly more potent than ordinary pump fuel. The fuel for Formula One is thus pre-allocated batch and formulae provided to the teams by their aligned fuel supplier. As you say, the fuel companies 'foot' the bill.

"Can you please tell me which year did the fastest lap stop receiving a point? Thanks very much in advance. Mornay D."

From 1950 to 1959 the driver setting the fastest lap received a point. Several times during the 50s the point was shared between drivers as timing was only done to the tenth of a second. At the 1954 British Grand Prix it was shared between seven drivers. In 1960 the last point was re-allocated to the sixth placed finisher.

"I noticed, most specifically on a picture of that crashed out Jaguar of Eddie Irvine at Interlagos, that right rear tire wear was quite an issue in interlagos. Especially after referring to a number of other pictures it became rapidly apparent that this was an issue for more than one team. Was this all due to the horrible front straight? The fact that this track ran opposite to the rest they cover and thus couldn't find balance properly since this was the only track of this site? Thanks Fred S. USA"

Interlagos has, despite recent resurfacing, one of the most abrasive and bumpy track surfaces in Formula One. If a driver has a preference at Interlagos for whatever reason for running a softer suspension setup, then the car will be harder on its tyres. Because of the different aerodynamic loadings each team produces, and individual driver set-up preferences, and other incidents during the race, like an over exuberant start, or pitstop exit, or a tyre lock-up under brakes, means that no one car will wear its rubber like any other. The nature of Interlagos will have a tendency to exacerbate these differences.

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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