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

"Would it be possible to help me on the following questions? Qualifying times for the starting grid of a f1 grand prix knowing that the 4th made it in 1:18.946, the 5th in 1:19.626 and the 6th in 1:20.275. 1st question - who were the top 3 qualifiers to this grand prix. 2nd question - when (exact date) and where did this grand prix take place? 3rd question - who won this race? 4th question - name the car and the engine? 5th question - name the drivers who took part in this GP and who are still running in Formula One? many thanks in advance for you reply, Pierre D, Luxembourg"

Courtesy of Dave Wright and FORIX - the race in question is the 1988 Mexican Grand Prix, held on the 29th of May. The three qualifiers at the bottom of the top 6 were 4th Nelson Piquet (Lotus 100T Honda), 5th Michele Alboreto (Ferrari.187/88C), 6th Satoru Nakajima (Lotus 100T Honda). The rest of the top 6 were 1st Ayrton Senna (McLaren MP4/4 Honda), 2nd Alain Prost (McLaren MP4/4 Honda) and 3rd Gerhard Berger (Ferrari F187/88C). Prost went on to win the race by 7 seconds from his McLaren teammate. As for who's still running in Formula One? None of them, it was 11 years ago.

"Sirs, Could you please inform me if, since the conception of the modern F1, any one Nation's drivers has been placed 1st 2nd and 3rd on the podium? If so, could you please inform me which drivers and what vehicles? Regards, Rai C. United Arab Emirates"

The first time it happened was when four Italians filled the podium at the 1950 Italian Grand Prix. Giuseppe Farina (Alfa Romeo 158) won. Sharing second was Dorino Serafini and Alberto Ascari (Ferrari 375) with Luigi Fagioli in third (Alfa Romeo 158). It also happened at the 1951 Belgian GP (Italy), 1952 French GP (Italy), 1952 Dutch GP (Italy), 1958 Belgian GP (United Kingdom), 1958 British GP (United Kingdom), 1958 Portuguese GP (United Kingdom), 1963 British GP (United Kingdom), 1964 Dutch GP (United Kingdom), 1964 British GP (United Kingdom), 1965 South African GP (United Kingdom), 1965 French GP (United Kingdom), 1965 British (United Kingdom), 1968 United States GP (United Kingdom), 1980 South African GP (France), 1982 French GP (France). The most recent was the 1983 San Marino GP by three French drivers, 1st Patrick Tambay (Ferrari 126C2B), 2nd Alain Prost (Renault RE40), 3rd Rene Arnoux (Ferrari 126C2B).

"When was the last time F1 had five different winners over a six race span in one season? Bill G."

Thanks to Marcel Schot for this stat - a six race stretch from the 1992 Belgian to 1993 South African Grands Prix. 1992 Belgian GP - Michael Schumacher (Benetton B192 Ford), 1992 Italian GP - Ayrton Senna (McLaren MP4/7A Honda), 1992 Portuguese GP - Nigel Mansell (Williams FW14B Renault), 1992 Japanese GP - Riccardo Patrese (Williams FW14B Renault), 1992 Australian GP - Gerhard Berger (McLaren MP4/7A Honda), and 1993 South African GP - Alain Prost (Williams FW15C Renault).

"Having just watched Irvine's superb "Shumacher-esque" victory in Austria, I am left wondering how many of the brilliant victories Schumacher has had in the past are actually down to the tactical genius of Ross Brawn. Please could you tell me how many races Schumacher has won without Ross Brawn on his team? Thank you, Gary Paul S. United Kingdom"

Marcel Schot, again, dug this answer out. Only in 1996 when Michael Schumacher won three race in the unloved Ferrari F310 has Ross Brawn not been a part of Schumacher's team when he was winning. The list of Schumacher's teams are as below :-

  • 1991: 0 wins in a Jordan, designer Gary Anderson
  • 1991: 0 wins in a Benetton, designers John Barnard & Rory Byrne
  • 1992: 1 win in a Benetton, designers Ross Brawn & Rory Byrne
  • 1993: 1 win in a Benetton, designers Ross Brawn & Rory Byrne
  • 1994: 8 wins in a Benetton, designers Ross Brawn & Rory Byrne
  • 1995: 9 wins in a Benetton, designers Ross Brawn & Rory Byrne
  • 1996: 3 wins in a Ferrari, designers John Barnard & Gustav Brunner
  • 1997: 5 wins in a Ferrari, designers Ross Brawn & John Barnard
  • 1998: 6 wins in a Ferrari, designers Ross Brawn & Rory Byrne
  • 1999: 2 wins in a Ferrari, designers Ross Brawn & Rory Byrne

    "Was there ever a time when the first 10 drivers were awarded points instead of just the top 6? Was there ever a time when the driver that got the pole was awarded points? Was there ever a time when driver changes were allowed during a race? If so, how did this work? thanks, Joseph F, USA"

    No, never did the top 10 finishers were awarded points. From 1950 to 1959 only the top 5 got points. From 1960 onwards, the top 6 scored points. Pole position has never been awarded a point although in the years mentioned above the fastest lap scored a point.

    Driver changes were allowed in the early 50's. At some Argentine Grand Prix three drivers used one car in the same race - such were the conditions. The drivers equally shared in the points they scored, the exception being when one driver only did a few laps. By 1958 shared drives no longer got points. In the 1964 US Grand Prix Jim Clark took over teammate Mike Spence's car after his own died. The idea was to get into the points and take points away from championship rivals. Clark would be excluded from the results for car sharing but the points weren't reallocated to lower finishers. In this case though, Clark only got as far as 7th.

    "Dear MAJ, Could you help with those following questions; 1) When was Forti/Ligier/Pacific/Simtek founded and what happened to them? Thanking you in advance. Sincerely, Alistair L."

    Four very different teams there, each with different backgrounds. Forti Corse was a Formula 3000 team which decided to make the step up to Formula One for the 1994 season but delayed it until 1995 where the largely yellow team appeared with the Cosworth powered FG01/95 car driven by two Brazilians, veteran Roberto Moreno and the rather rich Pedro Diniz. Diniz got the teams best finish, a 7th at the retirement-marred Australian Grand Prix. The team continued into 1996 with Italians Luca Badoer and Andrea Montermini but the white and green cars had much less budget without Diniz and by Hockenheim the team had folded.

    Ligier is the odd team out in this bunch as it has a long and successful history. 1960's Formula one driver Guy Ligier formed Ligier in 1976 with promising Frenchman Jacques Laffite driving the Matra powered JS5, who would stay with Ligier for most of his 176 GP career. Laffite got a pole position at Monza in the first year and their first race win in the JS7 at Anderstorp the following year. In 1979 the team expanded to two cars with Patrick Depailler in the second car and became one of the front running team. Over the next two years Ligier-Cosworths won 5 races at the hands of Laffite, Dapiller and Didier Pironi. 1981 saw a return to Matra engines and two more wins for Laffite. The wins dried up in 1982.

    Since then Ligier have been through a variety of ups and downs - peaking with Olivier Panis' 1996 Monaco Grand Prix win and his outstanding early 1997 form prior to his horrible leg breaking accident at Montreal. The team has had engines from Matra to Cosworth, back to Matra, back to Cosworth, then Renault turbo, Megatron (BMW) turbo, Judd, back to Cosworth again, Lamborghini, Renault again & Mugen Honda. At the end of 1996 Alain Prost and his backers acquired the team and it became known as Prost Grand Prix, which acquired Peugeot engines in 1998.

    Pacific was the team run by Keith Wiggins. They had come through Formula 3 and Formula 3000 having run drivers like Eddie Irvine and JJ Lehto. Wiggins aim was always to get to Formula One, but his sponsor Marlboro couldn't sponsor two F1 teams, so Wiggins went ahead in 1994 without the budget of a major backer and a Reynard built chassis with Ilmor V10 power. One of the drivers, Bertrand Gachot, was a part owner in the team. The other driver was the cashed-up Paul Belmondo.

    Gachot qualified for a race 5 times, Belmondo twice, and not a race finish between them. Into 1995 Gachot and Andrea Montermini started more promisingly with a 9th for Montermini in the first race. However pay driver were needed to get through the year and Gachot was forced to step aside for Giovanni Lavaggi part way through the season, with Jean-Denis Deletraz getting two GPs in place of Montermini later in the season. The team folded soon after.

    While Simtek was a failure it did create a success story. The dynamic Nick Wirth designed his Formula One car in 1994 with a compact team and support from Jack Brabham. This support allowed David Brabham to restart his career alongside Roland Ratzenberger. It all came crashing down at that terrible weekend in Imola when Ratzenberger was killed after crashing at Villeneuve. The team refocused and continued but Andrea Montermini was then injured in a crash at Catalunya.

    Jean-Marc Gounon then joined followed later by Domenico Schiattarella and Taki Inoue. Gounon and Brabham both scored top ten finishes, but the only thing they could really claim at season end was they were better than Pacific. Into 1995 Pacific had major cash-flow problems right from the start and Jos Verstappen and Schiattarella were out of drives after Monaco. Nick Wirth however had proved himself in the eyes of some, and is now the technical director at Benetton.

    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© 1999 Atlas Formula One Journal.
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