ATLAS F1   Volume 7, Issue 12 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

First off, a little tale from a previous question:

"I've read your explanation about this topic, but could you please answer my question: under which point of regulations Tyrrell had been disqualified in 1984: I mean exactly (3.12.1 or which one?) Thank you and best regards, Tanya"

This is part of the press release FISA sent out back in 1984: "The Tyrrell team: after having heard Mr Ken Tyrrell, given the analyses which resulted from the samples taken from Tyrrell No. 3 at the Detroit Grand Prix, given the witnesses heard and from deep-seated convictions, for violation of the following articles of the F1 Technical Regulations: Art.6-14: any refueling during the race is forbidden. Art. 14.1.2: fuel not complying with the regulation. Art. 6.9: fuel lines must have safety breakaway valves. Art. 6.11: fuel lines must be capable of supporting a given pressure and temperature. Art. 4.2: ballast may be used provided that it is secured in such a way that tools are necessary to remove it. It must be possible to affix seals to it. The Tyrrell team entered for the FIA Formula One Championship is excluded from this Championship, and as a result its entry is cancelled. This decision takes immediate effect. The appeal before the FIA Court of Appeal does not suspend this decision."

"I found this interesting picture on the Internet and was amused by orange paint job found on the McLaren MP4/13. Can you tell me about this unique car? Many thanks in advance! Calvin"

This was actually the MP4/12, which was shown first on January 14th 1997, bearing this orange livery. The official livery was only used after the official presentation a month later. Until 1997, McLaren had been in the well known Marlboro white and red colors for many years. The change from Marlboro to West brought the necessity of a new paintjob with it, which in the end became the silver and black McLaren cars carry to this day. The orange refers to the heritage of McLaren, since it was the color Bruce McLaren used when he started the team back in sixties. You can view the Atlas F1 news article about the presentation of the orange McLaren here.

"How many ferrari was on the first line at the departure of the Belgium Grand Prix in 1961 ? Thank you for your help. Best regards, Gilles"

The answer is three. That weekend, Ferrari were extremely dominating. In qualifying, Phil Hill took pole position in 3:59.3, followed by his teammates Wolfgang von Trips and Olivier Gendebien. The first non-Ferrari on the grid was John Surtees in a Cooper, albeit almost seven seconds slower than Hill. Richie Ginther was the fourth Ferrari driver, qualifying fifth. As if their domination in qualifying wasn't enough, the race produced a one-two-three-four result for the Maranello team.

This is a very remarkable feat. Until this year's Australian Grand Prix, it was the last time four Ferrari engined cars were in the points. Only on one other occasion a team has finished in the first four positions; in the 1955 British Grand Prix, Mercedes humiliated the opposition with Stirling Moss, Juan Manuel Fangio, Karl Kling and Piero Taruffi taking the top four spots. However, on four other occasions four cars of the same make finished in the top four:

  • German Grand Prix 1952: Ferrari, three Scuderia Ferrari cars and one Ecurie Espadon
  • Indianapolis 500 1953: Kurtis Kraft, by four different entrants
  • Argentinian Grand Prix 1957: Maserati, three by Officine Alfieri Maserati, the works team, and one Scuderia Centro Sud
  • French Grand Prix 1960: Cooper, two by the works team and two by Yeoman Credit Racing Team

"What is the fastest speed ever achieved on a Formula One car? Andres"

The highest speed ever achieved in a Formula One race was recorded by David Coulthard in last year's German Grand Prix. The McLaren driver reached an incredible 361 km/h (224.3 mph). The news article about this achievement can be found here.

"We all remember the incident of Schumacher and Villeneuve at the final race of the 1997 season. Before the incident Schumacher had quite a good lead but suddenly lost it in a matter of a few laps. Did Schumacher get slower or did Villeneuve suddenly speed up? Do you have a complete table showing each time lap by lap? Is maybe anything known that Schumacher had a technical problem? Felix"

I don't have a complete table with every single lap time available, but Forix's race chart here helps a lot in figuring out what the approximate times must have been.

This is how you can derive lap times from this chart: looking at Schumacher (red line) at lap 41, shows him somewhat below 30 seconds ahead of the average winner's speed. Estimated, this is 28.7 seconds faster than the time Mika Hakkinen would have had at that time had he driven at a constant pace throughout the race. Hakkinen completed the race in 1h38:57.771 over 69 laps. This means that, at a constant pace, he would have taken about 58:48.4 to complete 41 laps. As Schumacher was 28.5 seconds faster, he completed 41 laps in 58:19.7. If we repeat the same procedure for lap 42, we'll see Schumacher completed 42 laps in 59:43.2. Thus he drove lap 42 in 59:43.2 - 58:19.7 = 1:23.5. In reality this was Schumacher's fastest lap in 1:23.692, so you see it's a rough estimate.

Applying this to Schumacher and Villeneuve for their last 9 laps up to the crash, gives the following table:

  • Lap 39: Schumacher 1:24.9, Villeneuve 1:24.8
  • Lap 40: Schumacher 1:24.9, Villeneuve 1:26.0
  • Lap 41: Schumacher 1:24.0, Villeneuve 1:24.0
  • Lap 42: Schumacher 1:23.5, Villeneuve 1:24.0
  • Lap 43: Schumacher 1:43.8, Villeneuve 1:23.7 (Schumacher pits)
  • Lap 44: Schumacher 1:26.1, Villeneuve 1:43.4 (Schumacher out lap, Villeneuve pits)
  • Lap 45: Schumacher 1:25.6, Villeneuve 1:28.0 (Villeneuve out lap)
  • Lap 46: Schumacher 1:25.7, Villeneuve 1:24.2
  • Lap 47: Schumacher 1:26.1, Villeneuve 1:25.2

This shows Villeneuve was a lot faster after both had stopped. In James Allen's "Michael Schumacher - Quest for Redemption", Ross Brawn states that there wasn't a problem with Schumacher's car and they merely wanted to take it easy on the tyres in the first few laps after the stop, not expecting Villeneuve to attack immediately.

"Are adjustable rear wings disallowed in F1? Ruel"

Yes, they are not allowed. Rule 3.15 of the Technical regulations states that "Any specific part of the car influencing its aerodynamic performance... - must be rigidly secured to the entirely sprung part of the car (rigidly secured means not having any degree of freedom). - must remain immobile in relation to the sprung part of the car"

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© 2007
Send questions and comments to: Terms & Conditions

 Back to Atlas F1 Front Page   Tell a Friend about this Article