3.9 Giancarlo Fisichella Nationality: Italian Age - DOB: 23 - January 14th, 1973 Born: Rome, Italy Resident: Monte Carlo Current team: Minardi Former team(s): None

Fisichella won several karting championships between 1984 and 1991 before moving up to the Italian F3 championship in 1992. In '93 he finished 2nd in Italian F3 and won the championship in '94. In '95 he raced in DTM for Alfa Romeo and was also signed as test driver for Minardi. He made his F1 debut in 96 and is currently sharing the drive with Tarso Marques.

Giancarlo is single.

3.10 Heinz-Harald Frentzen Nationality: German Age - DOB: 29 - May 18th, 1967 Born: Mochengladbach, Germany Resident: Monte Carlo Current team: Sauber Former team(s): None

After a relatively successful 95 season in a middle-of-the-grid car, Heinz-Harald Frentzen is widely regarded as one of the up and coming drivers of F1. He began racing in karts winning the German Junior championship in 1981. From 85 - 87 he competed in FF2000 finishing 2nd in '87. In '88 he was German Formula Opel Lotus champion and was 6th in the Opel Lotus Euroseries. He spent one year in German F3, finishing 2nd, before moving onto F3000 in 1990. He spent one season each with Eddie Jordan and Vortex before accepting a financially attractive offer to move to Japan and race for the Nova team. In 1994, he made his F1 debut for the Sauber team and scored a total of 7 points in 15 races. With three races left in 95 he has scored 15 points putting him behind only the Benettons, Williams and Ferraris. He has re-signed with Sauber for 96.

Heinz-Harald is single with no children. (You will see posts referring to the fact that he once dated Schumacher's wife - before she was his wife, of course).

3.11 Mika Hakkinen Nationality: Finnish Age - DOB: 27 - September 28th, 1968 Born: Helsinki, Finland Resident: Monte Carlo Current team: McLaren Former team(s): Lotus

Mika Hakkinen has been driving since he was six years old, capturing 5 Finnish national karting championships between 1974 and 1986. He then progressed into FF1600 - a category which he duly conquered by being crowned Finnish, Swedish and Nordic Champion - the Lotus Euroseries and the British GM Lotus series, becoming champion and runner-up respectively. A year after entering the British F3 championship in 1989 he won the Macau Grand Prix on his way to the overall title.

He broke into F1 in 1991 with Lotus where he stayed for two years finishing the championship 15th and 8th with 2 points and 11 points respectively. He joined McLaren as Test and Development driver in 93, being elevated to the position of race driver for the final three rounds of the championship following Michael Andretti's departure to return to Indy Car. In his first race for McLaren at the Portuguese GP Hakkinen outqualified his team-mate, Ayrton Senna. He scored his first ever F1 podium finish with a 3rd place at the Japanese GP. In 94 he finished 2nd at the Belgian GP and 3rd in four other races ending the season 4th in the championship with 26 points. He finished '95 with 17 points in 7th place - not to mention a nasty crash during practice in Adelaide which almost ended his career, if not his life. He has recovered physically and does not appear to have been affected mentally by the crash.

Mika is single with no children.

3.12 Johnny Herbert Nationality: British (English) Age - DOB: 31 - June 27th, 1964 Born: Romford, England Resident: Monaco Current team: Sauber Former team(s): Benetton, Tyrrell, Lotus, Ligier, Benetton

One of the most popular figures in F1, Johnny Herbert began his racing career in karts at the age of 10 winning two British championships over the next 8 years. He moved onto FF1600 in 1983 and FF2000 and F3 in 1986. In 1987 he won the British F3 championship with Eddie Jordan Racing and was signed by Benetton as a test driver. In 1988 he moved up to F3000 with Jordan, winning his first race at Jerez before being seriously injured at Brands Hatch. Despite not being fully recovered from his injuries he started the 1989 season for Benetton in F1 scoring a 4th and a 5th place before being rested by the team at mid-season. He returned briefly to F1 the same year with Tyrrell.

In 1990 Herbert was the test driver for Lotus and raced intermittently for the team for the next two years. He continued with Lotus for 92 and 93 on a full time basis and finished 14th and 9th respectively. He raced for three teams in 94 - Lotus, Ligier and then Benetton for the last two races. He stayed with Benetton for the 95 season and finished 4th in the championship winning his first GP at the British GP. Towards the end of the season, he complained bitterly about his treatment at the hands of Benetton and Schumacher.

He is married with two daughters.

3.13 Damon Hill Nationality: British (English) Age - DOB: 35 - September 17th, 1960 Born: London, England Resident: Dublin, Ireland Current team: Williams Former team(s): Williams (test), Brabham

Damon is the son of two-time F1 champion, the late Graham Hill. Damon Hill actually began his racing career on motorbikes in 1979. In '84, while still racing bikes, he had his first taste of auto racing in Formula Ford. In 1985 he switched to FF full time and finished 3rd in the Esso championship with 6 wins. He moved onto F3 in 86 with Murray Taylor Racing and then with Intersport in 87 and 88. From 89 to 91 he competed in F3000 with Footwork, Middlemarch and Lola without great success except that he did get a testing contract with Williams in 91 replacing Mark Blundell.

Hill broke into F1 the next year, 1992, with Brabham, again without great success. In eight attempts in an uncompetitive car, he qualified just twice finishing 16th and 11th. His big break came in 93 when he signed for Williams. That year he scored he scored his first F1 win in Hungary, completing a hat-trick over the next two races in Belgium and Italy. He finished the season with 69 points for 3rd place in the championship.

In '94, still with Williams, Hill came as close to winning it all as is possible without actually doing it. Coming in to the last race of the season in Adelaide, Hill trailed Michael Schumacher by one point. Depending on your point of view they either had a coming together or Schumacher drove into Hill thereby securing the Championship by that one point margin.

Hill again challenged Schumacher for most of the '95 season but fell apart somewhat in the second half of the season. He finished 2nd in the championship with 69 points.

Damon is married with two sons and a daughter.

3.14 Eddie Irvine Nationality: Irish Age - DOB: 30 - November 10th, 1965 Born: Newtownards, Northern Ireland Resident: Dublin, Ireland Current team: Ferrari Former team(s): Jordan

Irvine began racing in FF1600 and competed in Irish and British FF1600 series between 1983 and 1987. In 1988 he placed 5th in the F3 championship with West Surrey Racing. In 1989 he moved onto F3000 with Pacific Racing and finished 9th in the International Championship. He first teamed up with Eddie Jordan in F3000 in 1990 when he finished 3rd (recording one win). Between 1991 and 1993 he competed in the Japanese F3000 championship with Team Cerumo finishing 7th, 8th and 2nd with one win each year. '93 also saw Irvine's F1 debut with 2 races for Jordan scoring a point in Japan.

Irvine raced the entire 94 season for Jordan, with the exception of a 3 race ban for an accident at the Brazilian GP, scoring 6 points placing him 16th. He finished '95 with 10 points having suffered from unreliability including a fire from a re-fueling accident. In a surprising, last minute move he was signed by Ferrari for '96 over a gaggle of Italian drivers who thought they were trying out for the role.

Eddie is single with no children.

3.15 Ukyo Katayama Nationality: Japanese Age - DOB: 33 - May 29th, 1963 Born: Tokyo Resident: Tokyo and Monaco Current team: Tyrrell Former team(s): Larrousse

After graduating high school in 1982, Katayama trained as a mechanic at the Tsukuba Circuit in Japan before switching to driving, taking class and championships in FJ1600, after winning his very first race from pole position. In 1985 he graduated to the All Japan F3 Series with the Nissan Hasemi team and finished 6th in the championship. In 1986, he moved to France competing in the National Formula Renault and French F3 series. In 1988 he returned to Japan competing in the Japanese F3000 Championship for Ba-Tsu Racing in '88, Footwork in '89 and Cabin in '90 and '91 - winning the championship in '91.

1992 marked Katayama's Formula 1 debut with Venturi Larrousse with two top 10 finishes. In 1993, he moved to Tyrrell where he has remained for the last three seasons with somewhat limited success. He scored 5 points in 1994 but in 95 he finished 4 races and his best finish was 7th in the German GP. Katayama was involved in a scary accident at the start of the Portuguese GP when he locked wheels with Badoer and was launched into the air, somersaulting down the track. He did not sustain any serious injuries and missed only one race. He has been re-signed by Tyrrell for the '96 season.

Ukyo is married with two children.

3.16 Pedro Lamy Nationality: Portuguese Age - DOB: 23 - March 20th 1972 Born: Aldeia Galega, Portugal Resident: Lisbon Current team: Minardi Former teams(s): Lotus

Between 1978 and 1988 Lamy competed in motocross and karting before stepping up to Formula Ford and winning the national championship in 1989. In 90 and 91 he raced in the GM Lotus Euroseries winning the championship in 1991. In 92 he was German F3 Champion and in 93 he shared the International F3000 championship. 93 also marked his F1 debut with Team Lotus at the Italian GP. He drove for Lotus 4 more times in 94 before joining Minardi for the 95 Hungarian GP.

Pedro is single.

3.17 Jan Magnussen Nationality: Danish Age - DOB: 22 - July 4th, 1973 Born: Roskilde, Denmark Resident: Silverstone, England Current team: McLaren (test) Former teams(s): None

Jan Magnussen has been described by Jackie Stewart as "the most promising youngster to come along since Ayrton Senna." He ended his karting days in 1991 with a hat-trick of world championships and moved to England to compete in the 1992 British FF1600 championship for Foundation Racing. Having become familiar with the car and the circuits, he won 7 races in the second half of the season, including the prestigious Formula Ford Festival at Brands Hatch, and finished 3rd in the championship.

In 1993 after spells in the Formula Vauxhall Lotus and Opel Lotus European Championship, he made his F3 debut competing in two races for Paul Stewart Racing finishing 4th and 3rd. The next season, still with Paul Stewart Racing, he clinched the championship in the most dominant fashion ever achieved in the history of F3 racing by winning 14 out of 18 races - that season brought him the nickname of "Danish Dynamite."

In October 94, Magnussen drove the McLaren MP4/9 as a reward for his achievement and was subsequently signed as the team's test driver. Due to Hakkinen's appendicitis, Magnussen made his F1 debut at the '95 Japanese GP.

Jan is single with one son.

3.18 Tarso Marques Nationality: Brazilian Age - DOB: 20 - January 19th, 1976 Born: Curitiba (Parana), Brazil Resident: Curitiba Current team: Minardi Former team(s): None

>From 1988 to 1991 Marques raced karts before moving onto Formula Opel in '92, F3 in '93 and F3000 in '94. His F1 debut was with Minardi this year and he is currently sharing the drive with Fisichella.

3.19 Andrea Montermini Nationality: Italian Age - DOB: 32 - May 30th, 1964 Born: Resident: Current team: Forti Former team(s): Ferrari (test), Benetton (test), Simtek Pacific

Montermini began racing in 1987 in Formula Alfa Boxer moving onto Italian F3 in 1988. Between 1990 and 92 he competed in F3000 finishing 8th, 10th and 2nd, getting his first taste of F1 as a test driver with Ferrari in 91. In 93 he went Indy racing, as well as testing for Benetton, finishing the championship in 18th position. He started 94 in Indy before getting his first shot at competitive F1 with Simtek at the Spanish GP. However, he crashed during practice and broke both feet and did not start the race. After recovering from the crash he finished the Indy season before signing with Pacific for the 1995 season. After 14 rounds, Montermini has started every race but has only been classified 3 times with a best finish of 8th at the German GP.

3.20 Olivier Panis Nationality: French Age - DOB: 29 - September 2nd, 1966 Born: Resident: Current team: Ligier Former team(s):

3.21 Mika Salo Nationality: Finnish Age - DOB: 29 - November 30th, 1966 Born: Helsinki Resident: London Current team: Tyrrell Former team(s): Lotus

Salo started racing 50cc karts at the age of 6, moving onto the 100cc Finnish championship by 9 and winning it at the age of 11. After 11 months national service in the army, he competed in the Finnish and Scandinavian F1600 Championships in 1987. In 1988 he became European, Scandinavian and Finnish champion, winning all 14 races and setting new lap records at every circuit.

>From 1989-1990 Mika lived in the UK competing in F3 with Alan Docker Racing. From 1991-3 he competed in the All Japan F3000 championship with less than spectacular results. In 1994 he joined Lotus for the final two races of the season recording 10th and a DNF in Japan and Australia respectively. He joined Tyrrell in 1995 and has finished in the points three times - two 5ths and a sixth. He has been re-signed by Tyrrell for '96.

Mika is single with no children.

3.22 Michael Schumacher Nationality: German Age - DOB: 27 - January 3rd, 1969 Born: Hurth-Hermuhlhein, Germany Resident: Geneva Current team: Ferrari Former team(s): Jordan, Benetton

Michael Schumacher began racing karts with some success from 1984 to 1987. In '88 he won the German Formula Konig championship, finished 4th and 2nd in the German and European FF1600 championships respectively. 1989 was an interesting year competing in the German F3 championship - he finished 3rd behind Wendlinger and Frentzen. He continued in F3 the next year and won the championship with 5 wins.

1991 marked his F1 debut with Jordan and then with Benetton for the rest of the season from Italy onwards. (There is still a pending lawsuit filed by Eddie Jordan regarding Schumacher's move to Benetton). He finished the year with 4 points. Schumacher began to show his potential in 92 winning his first GP and coming 3rd in the driver's championship. The next year again produced one win and he finished 4th in the championship.

1994 of course marked Schumacher's first world championship amidst much controversy and last year he easily repeated this feat helping Benetton to the constructors title in the process.

Michael is married with no children.

3.23 Ayrton Senna Nationality: Brazilian Age - DOB: Died 1994, aged 34 Born: Sao Paolo, Brazil Resident: Current team: Former team(s): Toleman, Lotus, McLaren, Williams

3.24 Jos Verstappen Nationality: Dutch Age - DOB: 24 - March 4th, 1972 Born: Montfort (Lb), The Netherlands Resident: Maaseik, Belgium Current team: Arrows Former team(s): Benetton, Simtek (5 races)

3.25 Jacques Villeneuve Nationality: Canadian Age - DOB: 25 - April 9th, 1971 Born: St. Jean-sur-Richelieu, Quebec, Canada Resident: Monaco Current team: Williams Former team(s): Indycar - Team Green

Jacques Villeneuve, son of legendary F1 driver Gilles Villeneuve, is the talk of the F1 world this year as he attempts to become the first successful Indycar transplant since Mario Andretti. His meteoric rise through motor racing's ranks culminated last year when he became the youngest ever, and first Canadian, PPG Indycar champion.

His career began in Italian Group N Saloons in 1988. He quickly moved on to F3 in Italy in 1989 where he stayed for three seasons. In 1992 he moved to Japanese F3 and finished the season in 2nd place. In '93 he moved to the American Toyota Atlantic Championship and had a very impressive season being named Rookie of the Year. In 15 races he had seven poles and five wins and finished third in the championship. Villeneuve moved with Team Green to Indycar in '94. He finished the season with a win, 2nd at the Indianapolis 500 and 6th place in the championship earning him Rookie of the Year honors. He fulfilled his potential in 95 winning the championship with four wins including the Indianapolis 500.

On August 10th he signed with Williams for the 96 season and has done a considerable amount of testing with the team between that time and the start of the season. He is generally expected to win some races in his first season and possibly have a shot at the championship.

Jacques is single.

4. THE RULES

4.1 How many points are scored for a win? [MJ]

Currently points are awarded for the first six finishers as follows: 10 - 6 - 4 - 3 - 2 - 1. This applies to both the driver's and constructor's championships. Each team is allowed to enter two cars and both cars scores are counted towards the constructor's championship.

If a race is stopped, due to accident or weather, before completion of 75% of the race distance, only half the points will be awarded for that race.

4.2 Is that a brake light on the back of the cars?

No. The red light you will occasionally see on the back of the cars is not a brake light and is required by the rules for visibility in wet races. The light is required to be on whenever the car is on treaded tyres.

4.3 The start

The starting procedure has been changed for 1996. The countdown begins 17 minutes before the parade lap with a series of lights and horns. The parade lap is started with a green light. The cars proceed in grid order returning to their spots on the starting grid. Transponders in the car signal to the officials when all the cars are in position and the actual start procedure begins. There are now five red lights and NO green light. The five red lights will come on one at a time at one second intervals. When the fifth light comes on the jump start system is activated. At a pre-set, but unpublished interval, all five red lights will go out and that is the signal to start. NB There is no green light. This system eliminates the potential problem of the red light going out but the green light failing to come on. Such a situation has happened in the past and causes enormous confusion and is potentially very dangerous. Also, disabling the jump start system until immediately before the start should eliminate some of the bogus penalties we saw last year when the system was activated when the car stopped.

4.4 The finish [CS] & [HG]

When the leader crosses the line and the chequered flag is waved at him, all drivers finish the lap which they are currently driving. The top positions go to the drivers on the same lap as the winner, in the order in which they crossed the line. The next positions go to those drivers who completed one fewer lap than the leader, in the order in which they crossed the line, and so on. Should a driver fail to cross the line (due to an accident, for example), his (or her) finishing position is based on the race position the last time (s)he crossed the start/finish line.

An example may help: It's the 50-lap US GP and the first 4 drivers at the end of lap 49 are Diniz, Hill, Schumacher and Inoue. Fifth is Katayama, one lap down. Diniz crosses the line at the end of lap 50 first to take the chequered flag and win the race. Katayama is the next driver to cross the finish line (albeit after only 49 laps) and is awarded 5th place, since there were 4 drivers on the lead lap (who all completed 49 laps before him). On lap 50, however, Hill and Schumacher collide and both retire. Inoue is the only other driver to finish 50 laps and is awarded 2nd place. Since Hill completed 49 laps ahead of Schumacher, he gets 3rd place and Schumacher is awarded 4th.

All drivers who have completed at least 90% of the distance driven by the winner are classified as finishers.

All finishers must get themselves weighed, put the car in the 'parc ferme' for scrutiny and submit to any other tests required. Top three must attend the podium ceremony and give a press conference afterwards, or get fined. Press conferences take place in a variety of languages - all the top drivers speak English fluently enough for an interview. Naturally none of the English drivers speak anything else! (It is noticeable how much improved Schumacher's English has become in the last two years - he sounds more American than German now; Berger also is fluent enough to tell jokes thanks to his long spell at McLaren)

4.5 What is the safety car for? [HG]

Once this is deployed, the 'SC' board is shown and drivers must slow down and circulate in their current order. The car waves past each driver in turn, until the race leader is behind him. Then all circulate until the race is deemed safe to continue, with the safety car displaying flashing amber lights. Switching off these lights indicates that the safety car will pull off next time it reaches the pit entrance; once it does, the race continues.

It should be noted that, unlike Indy, safety cars are rarely used in F1. In fact, in the semi-permanent "What's the difference between F1 and Indy" thread, the excessive use of the safety car to close up the field is the major criticism of Indy racing by F1 fans.

4.6 What is a stop-go penalty?

Jump starts and pit lane speeding incur a 10 second 'stop-go' penalty. Unlike last year, penalties are served in the team's own pit under the supervision of the team manager. If the team does not administer the penalty correctly and the driver leaves before the 10 seconds is up, then they will be called back for another 10 second penalty. As the officials with the big clock are no longer involved in this process it is unclear who times the timers.

Other offenses can incur fines, loss of points, disqualifications or race bans. Decisions can be appealed but historically the FIA has a propensity for increasing a penalty on appeal.

4.7 What do the different colored flags mean? [HG]

Yellow - caution; no overtaking/safety car out. Yellow with red stripes - track is slippery (usually oil). Blue - There is considerable controversy regarding the exact use of blue flags. This is because the instructions given to the marshalls contradict the International Sporting Code. This definition is based on written instructions from the clerk of the course to marshalls at at least two GPs this season.

During Practice Stationary: A faster car is catching you. Give way. Waved: A faster car is about to overtake you. Give way urgently.

During the Race Stationary: You are about to be lapped. Let the other car through. Waved: Let the other car through immediately. You are now risking a penalty.

(NB: The International Sporting Code states that a blue flag may be used to allow a faster car to overtake for position. However, its use in races appears to be almost exclusively limited to situations where a driver is being lapped).

Red - race stopped, slow down and return to pit lane. Chequered - race finished. Black, with a car number - car must return to pit lane within 3 laps and not restart race (this may mean a terminal rule infringement, but it can also mean that there is something dangerously wrong with the car that the driver does not know about - hence it is grossly negligent to ignore this flag)

4.8 Is mid-race re-fueling allowed?

After being banned for 10 years for safety reasons, mid-race re- fueling was inexplicably reintroduced for the 1994 season. The re-fueling equipment used by all the teams is identical as the FIA mandates that the equipment be bought from Intertechnique and may not be modified by the teams. Fuel is pumped at a rate of 12 liters (3.3 gallons) per second.

Apart from the FIA, almost everybody associated with F1, fans, drivers and teams, believe that re-fueling is inherently dangerous and that, if not before, it will finally be banned when somebody is killed or seriously injured in a re-fueling accident. Since its reintroduction in '94 there have already been three pit-lane fires caused by re-fueling: Verstappen (Benetton) in '94, Irvine (Jordan) and Gachot (Pacific) in '95 and Diniz's on-track fire in '96 was due to the re-fueling valve becoming stuck open.

4.9 What is the 107% rule?

Introduced for the 1996 season, the 107% rule is designed to weed out the slower cars in the field. Any driver whose best qualifying time is more than 107% of the pole-sitters time will not qualify for the race. For example, if the pole time is 1 min 40 secs (100 seconds), then any car slower than 1 min 47 seconds (107 seconds) will not be in the race. The rule does allow for some discretion on the part of the stewards but so far the rule has been strictly applied and it is not clear whether a car which is normally fast will be allowed on the grid if unusual circumstances prevent a qualifying time from being posted. To date, only Forti has been affected by this rule.

4.10 Who is eligible for a super license? [VH]

A total of 49 drivers are automatically eligible for 1996 Superlicenses as of January 1st, 1996 having met one of the following requirements:

F1 (at least started for 5 events in 1995) Superlicense & Grade A license required in order to compete

Indycar (Top 3 in at least 5 events or top 6 in at least 10 events, 1994-5) Grade A licenses required in order to compete

International F3000 (Top 3 in at least 5 events or top 6 in at least 10 events, 1994-5) Grade A licenses required in order to compete

Japanese F3000 (Top 3 in at least 5 events or top 6 in at least 10 events, 1994-5) Grade B licenses required in order to compete

Major National F3 champions (Britain, France, Italy, German & Japanese F3 in 1995)

All have to have a Grade A license in the first place in order to apply for Superlicenses. Grade A licenses are required in order to compete in F1, International F3000 and IndyCar championships. Hence all eligible drivers from these three categories obviously are already holders of the Grade A licenses. The Japanese F3000 & National F3 eligible drivers have Grade A licenses because they have at least 5 top 5 finishes in 1994-5 in various national and international races.

Superlicenses can be gained by past racing records AND 300km in a maximum of 2 days testing a current F1 machine under racing speed. It is, however, a purely judgmental decisions by the FIA in regarding the applicant's past racing records. While drivers like Alain Prost who is a four time World Champion and also a current McLaren test driver can have no problem in applying for a Superlicense, other drivers' applications such as Giovanni Lavaggi (who drove more than 300km combined practice, qualifying and race from Saturday to Sunday in the 1995 D GP) may not be as automatic.

5. THE CARS

5.1 Why V10 engines? [PF]

The V10 is a nice compromise, from two points of view -- performance and packaging.

Twelves are good for high-revving, top-endy stuff (this is why Ferraris were usually quick at the likes of Monza and Hockenheim). Eights are torquey and good throughout the range. So a ten is a good compromise there. You get more piston area in a 10 than an 8 -- which means more power, but can run a rather longer stroke than a 12 -- which tends to mean more tractability.

Similarly, the reciprocating components are a nice compromise between the relative simplicity of an eight and the difficulty of a 12.

Twelves are generally long and narrow -- the 'classical' 60-degree angle doesn't give much space within the vee to put ancillaries in. Eights are short, but relatively chubby, with a classical vee angle of 90 degrees. (Ok, Ferrari are about 65-degrees these days and Ford are down to about 75, but the generalization remains roughly valid). V10s have length advantages over the 12 and width advantages over the 8 -- they're typically between 67 and 72 degrees.

It's perhaps significant that next year there'll only be customer Fords and Harts left as V8s in F1 -- everyone else will be running 10s, including Sauber-Ford and Ferrari. It looks like the 8 and the 12 are, for the time being, dead ducks. (it's a pity Hart didn't persevere with a 3l version of his excellent V10...)

5.2 How big are the engines?

Although subject to change periodically, engines are currently limited to 3 liter, reciprocating, normally aspirated with no more than 12 cylinders. These engines produce approximately 750 bhp down from a high of about 1,200 bhp that could be produced by the now banned V6, 1.5l turbo-charged engines.

5.3 How much does a car weigh?

The minimum weight for an F1 car is 585 kg (1,287 lbs) including the driver and 5kg (11 lbs) for either an on board camera or mandatory ballast for those cars not carrying cameras. Regulations define minimum weights to ensure that safety is not compromised by the engineer's efforts to improve performance by making the car lighter.

5.4 What is the tub made of?

The tub, the part that the driver sits in, is made of a composite material consisting of an aluminum honeycomb sandwiched between two sheets of carbon. The result is an extremely strong, lightweight material. Smaller sections, such as the nose-cone and engine cover, use a nomex honeycomb instead of aluminum to allow greater flexibility.

5.5 How many gears do the cars have?

The regulations state that the cars must have at least 4 and no more than 7 forward gears as well as a reverse gear. Most cars have 6 forward gears, Jordan and Benetton being the only cars with 7 speed gearboxes.

5.6 Interesting engine facts. (Based on a Ford Zetec-R).

*In an F1 engine revving at 14,500 rpm, one revolution takes 4 thousandths of a second. *Maximum piston acceleration is approximately 8,000g which puts a load of over 3 tons on each connecting rod. *Maximum piston speed is 47.2 meters per second - the piston in a Ford Zetec-R accelerates from rest to that speed in 1 thousandth of a second. *If a connecting rod let go of its piston at maximum engine speed, the released piston would have enough energy to travel vertically over 100 meters. *If a water hose were to blow off, the complete cooling system would empty in just over a second.

6. MISCELLANEOUS

6.1 What happens during a pit-stop? [HG]

Cars must not exceed the pit lane speed limit, which is different at each track. As driver comes in, one of the pit crew indicates the location of the pit (it isn't easy to find in the heat of the moment). The car stops on the marks and is lifted by front and back jacks. Three mechanics are required for each wheel; one to operate the tool to remove/replace the wheel, one to take the old wheel off and one to put the new one on. In addition, two are required to handle the fuel hose, and a couple of spares wipe the drivers' visor etc. The operation is controlled by the chap at the front who holds the 'brakes on' sign, and he looks out for all the mechanics to raise their hands as a signal that they are finished and out of the way. Then he signals for the car to be dropped off the jacks and the driver can leave. Due to the restrictions on the equipment, re-fueling actually takes longer than the tyre change.

Crews rehearse before every Grand Prix to keep in practice. As there is now fuel being thrown around in the pitlane, all mechanics wear fireproof overalls, and sometimes helmets too. A few near-disasters have stressed that the pit lane is a dangerous place, and personnel there should be kept to a minimum.(i.e. groupies, relatives, under-age royals etc should be somewhere else!) The driver should keep his visor closed during a pit stop in case of fire. IMHO there WILL be a disastrous fire unless refuelling is banned.

6.2 Sponsorship [HG]

F1 teams could not continue to spend at current levels without sponsors, among which the cigarette companies are major players. Advertising regulations in Britain, France and Germany mean that Williams appear there with 'Racing' rather than 'Rothmans' written on them, and for McLaren it is 'McLaren' rather than 'Marlboro'. Sponsors can also rent out space on drivers as well as cars, and all spaces are available right down to the back of the mirrors. A six-inch wide patch on the front wing of a Williams will cost you about 2 million dollars for the season. Oh, and you won't be able to see it on the telly, but they'll do you a nice package of sponsored events for the price. (!)

The best advert I saw was in 1993 when Sega sponsored Williams. The Sega character, Sonic the Hedgehog, appeared at most of the races, and the side of the car was painted so it appeared as a cutout showing Sonic's legs doing the driving. McLaren responded by sticking a squashed hedgehog logo to the side of their car each time they won a race at the expense of a Williams. Senna's incredible victory in the wet Donington GP of Europe was headlined in Autosport as 'Senna's mega-drive'.

6.3 What's the difference between F1 and Indy?

Quite possibly THE most frequently asked question and the subject of much debate in rasf1 which generally, after some technical discussion, deteriorates into a slanging match between European F1 fans and American Indy fans. Generally speaking, Indy cars are bigger, faster and more durable whereas F1 cars are more agile and accelerate faster. As to which is better and which would win a head to head race? F1 cars are better under F1 regs at F1 circuits and Indy cars are better under Indy regs at Indy circuits.

Tracks. Indy uses ovals as well as road and street courses - F1 does not. This, along with the use of the safety car, is the most significant difference between the two series. Whilst making for interesting discussion, the technical differences do not have much of an impact from the spectators point of view. However, Indy's detractors would say that the uniform ovals with the resulting left turns only, produce a sterile racing environment which allows no exciting passing. Furthermore, most accidents will result in the safety car making an appearance which will close up the field. Again, Indy's detractors would argue that this produces an artificial racing environment reducing the race to a series of short sprints which are merely used to establish the grid order for the final sprint to the finish.

On the other hand, F1 detractors would argue that because of the wide difference in performance levels, and the fact that safety cars are rarely used, there is very little close racing or competitive passing in F1 and of course as a spectator you cannot see the entire circuit at an F1 race.

(I must apologize if my cultural bias has become apparent in this section but as a Brit living in the U.S., I am living proof that F1/Indy preference is determined by genes not environment).

Weight. F1 cars minimum weight is 585 kg (1,287 lbs). Indy car minimum weight is 1,550 lbs (704.5 kg).

Brakes. F1 cars use carbon fibre brakes which are lighter and more durable than the steel brakes used by Indy cars. (Indy cars are allowed to use carbon brakes on the 2.5 mile superspeedways at Indianapolis and Michigan. Steel brakes are mandatory at all the other races).

Ground effect. [AS] It is generally said that ground effect cars are no longer allowed in F1 but this is not strictly true. All cars generate ground effect, you cannot 'ban' it, only try to design the rules to limit the downforce that can be obtained from it. In F1 this is done by requiring flat bottoms between the wheels (now with 50mm step). In Indycar they still allow shaped ground effect tunnels, but with strictly controlled dimensions and at a minimum height above the bottom of the chassis.

Turbo charging. Banned in F1 but still allowed in Indy - although at a much lower boost pressure than was used by F1 cars in the 80's.

Semi-automatic gearboxes. Allowed in F1 but not in Indy.

Nationality. Indy is basically a domestic U.S. series as far as teams, venues and drivers are concerned. However, there are 3 venues outside of the U.S. (Surfer's Paradise, Brazil, Toronto and Vancouver) and an increasing number of foreign drivers. F1 is truly international in teams, engines, venues and drivers although there is a strong European influence, particularly British and Italian.

And according to Jacques Villeneuve (Electronic Telegraph 3/4/96): "In the last few months I've done over 5,000 miles of testing with Williams and I've learned a lot about the differences between Formula One and Indycars. An F1 car is slower on the straights but much quicker in the corners. The engine has less horsepower but the power comes on quicker and because a Formula One car is lighter and more responsive it reacts faster to the driver's input and the braking is much better. Because of its extra weight an IndyCar is a bit more physical to drive, it slides more easily and it's harder work to hold it. A Formula One car is more twitchy and when it slides you have to react faster to catch it. It has higher limits but I find this really enjoyable.

6.4 How many teams are there?

There are currently 11 teams, Simtek having filed bankruptcy in 1995 and Pacific pulling out at the end of the season, down from an all time high of 20 in 1989.

6.5 What is the connection between Ford and Cosworth?

Ford and Cosworth first co-operated in 1959 when Cosworth developed a lightweight iron crankcase engine for the new Ford Anglia. Cosworth founders, Keith Duckworth and Mike Costin, then tuned the new engine, code-named MAE (Modified Anglia Engine) and it soon became the power unit of choice for drivers in Formula Junior and later Formula 3.

Next came the Cosworth FVA racing engine and, impressed by the potential of the new power unit, Ford commissioned the Northamptonshire-based company to produce a roadgoing version to suit its new high-performance Escort, the RS1600. The result was the BDA (Belt-Driven A-series) which employed many of the lessons learned in motor racing to achieve excellent levels of performance and efficiency at relatively low cost.

The most successful Ford-Cosworth collaboration to date has been the DFV (Double Four Valve) F1 engine.The 90 degree V8 stunned the racing world when it appeared for the first time at the 1967 Dutch GP in the bank of Colin Chapman's highly effective Lotus 49 chassis and promptly powered Jim Clark to an historic win.

The Ford DFV went on to win 154 more GPs and 12 World Championships in a career that spanned 15 years. During that time, the DFV's power output climbed from 405 bhp to 520 bhp at 11,000 rpm.

The most recent development to issue from Cosworth is the Ford Zetec-R F1 engine. Carrying the same "Zetec" name as the range of double overhead camshaft, four-valve-per-cylinder engines used in the current Fiesta, Escort and Mondeo model ranges, the new 3.5 liter power unit was the highest-revving racing V8 ever produced when it was unveiled prior to the start of the 1994 season at up to 14,500 rpm.

The new 3.0 liter Zetec-R is very similar to the larger 1994 engine with small differences to allow for the new stepped floors and races at engine speeds up to 15,000 rpm. The Zetec-R V10 is provided exclusively to Ford's chosen factory team - Sauber - while customer teams will be supplied with last year's V8 or the ED.

6.6 What frequencies do the teams use? [GD]

Contrary to popular belief, not all teams scramble their transmissions. The following numbers are based on frequencies actually monitored at the '96 Australian GP. Further comment, either additions or confirmation that teams are/are not changing frequencies at other races, is encouraged.

Schumacher - 450.6125 (also heard in Canada) Alesi - 462.2500 (note, using Schu's old Benetton freq.) Berger - 169.7600 Salo - 422.0125 (note, using Blundell's old Tyrrell freq.) Katayama - 416.5000

6.7 How can you tell team-mates apart? [RM]

Note: in Australia, Frentzen made the re-start in a car with Herbert's markings. Also, the orange nose on Barichello's Jordan seems to have vanished between Brazil & Argentina.

Ferrari: Schumacher: None Irvine: Yellow stripes on front & rear wings Benetton: Alesi: Orange nose tip Berger: None Williams: Hill: Orange front wing hangers Villeneuve: None McLaren: Hakkinen: None Coulthard: Marlboro emblem on 1 front wing (switches sides) Ligier: Panis: Blue cockpit padding Diniz: Yellow cockpit padding Jordan: Barrichello: Orange nose tip (First 2 races, but I don't think it was there in Argentina) Brundle: None Sauber: Herbert: Yellow mirrors Frentzen: Red mirrors Arrows: Rosset: Light (Green?) stripes on front wings Verstappen: None Tyrrell: Katayama: Orange stripes on rear wings Salo: None Minardi: Lamy: Green mirrors and rear winglets Fishella/ Marques: Red mirrors and rear winglets Forti: Montermini: ?? Badoer: ??

6.8 Why is Frank Williams in a wheelchair? [HG]

Frank Williams broke his neck in a car crash in France in 1986. He was driving home from the Paul Ricard circuit, lost control and turned the car over. The injury was so severe that he was not expected to live, and only survived due to his excellent fitness; he used to run half-marathons regularly. For a while it was thought that he would be unable to swallow or breathe unaided, but he regained more movement than expected. He is paralysed from the chest down, with some limited movement in his arms. Among all the other obvious limitations, this means that he needs 24 hour care, cannot travel on commercial aircraft and even finds speaking an effort. Consider this when you wonder why he is rarely seen to smile.

Virginia Williams, Frank's wife, has written a book called 'A Different Kind of Life' which describes their lives before and after the accident, up to about 1990.

Drive carefully.

6.9 What is happening to UK TV coverage in 1997? [HG]

The BBC have lost the rights to Formula One. The exact details depend on your sources, but it is believed that ITV made Bernie Ecclestone an offer he couldn't refuse, and the deal was done before the BBC knew of it. Hence UK viewers will now have to tolerate a Grand Prix interrupted by commercials. Eurosport have also lost the rights, so there is not even the possibility of switching between the two to get uninterrupted coverage. It is to be hoped that ITV will schedule the advert breaks intelligently, and provide rapid editing to replay any action during the break. However, dreams of ads scrolling along the bottom of the screen, or ads in one big chunk before and after the race, remain just that - dreams. Advertisers know that no-one will watch them, although this format does seem acceptable for football.

However, the story does not end there. ITV are contractually bound to show all the races live. The South American races are in the early evening, UK time, which is one of ITV's best slots. As ITV do not have a second channel they will be forced to devote their programming to what is still a minority sport.

It is not yet known whether Murray Walker MBE will follow the sport to ITV, but on the strength of current reports it seems unlikely.

7. NETIQUETTE [HG]

7.1 Read 'welcome to rec.autos.sport hierarchy', posted monthly or so. This covers most of the points made below, which are standard netiquette. Please read it.

7.2 Don't post jpegs,gifs or any other big files. Many people download all messages in the newsgroup to be read off-line. If you pay for connect time it is very annoying to find that you have spent 10 minutes downloading a 7000 line binary. Post pictures to alt.binaries.pictures.vehicles and then you can just post a short message on r.a.s.f1 telling people what you posted and where you posted it.

7.3 Please don't get offensive - a driver can't help his appearance or that of his wife, but their behaviour on or off track is fair game. Also; ANYONE CAN MAKE A MISTAKE!!! Posts on the lines of 'xxx is a complete yyyy' just get tedious. Reasonable analysis please, we can buy junk newspapers if we want rantings. Remember also that F1 is really easy from your armchair, rather less so from the driving seat.

7.4 Great drivers and world champions come from all countries, please keep down the nationalistic bias.

7.5 Not everyone on this group is male; chauvinist pig behaviour will be spotted and rebuked! (By me and others!) Drivers are good or bad on their own merits, not those of their chromosomes. I'll let you get away with sexism, so long as it is in a humorous vein; I too think that the swimsuit clad girlies on the grid are unlikely to be filling in time between rocket-science engagements.

7.6 Not everyone on this group has English as a first language - don't slag off someone for poor grammar or spelling. However English is the language of the group, please try to post in it.

7.7 Spoilers; if you are posting within two days of a Grand Prix, don't put the result in the header, just something like 'Hungarian GP - SPOILERS'; not 'Schumacher wins in Germany' as this upsets people. On the other hand, it is almost certain that somebody will violate the spoiler rule so read the group at your peril - I have never seen the result of a race NOT given away in at least one subject line!!

7.8 Don't ask people to post results, practice times, starting grids etc. All of these will be posted at least half a dozen times so it is not necessary to ask - you will even see Friday's practice times still being posted on Tuesday afternoon. If you haven't seen the results within a few hours, then you have a slow newsfeed and we can't help you with that.

7.9 Don't post test messages. There are many news groups set up specifically for test messages - use them. (If you post to alt.test you will even get automatic responses from a couple of sites around the world telling you how long it took your post to get to their site).

7.10 If you're responding to a long post, please use the delete key liberally to edit the original message. People don't want to page through a three page message to see your "I agree" reply.

7.11 Please ensure that your software restricts your post to 72 character per line. Most people will not read messages which spill off the edge of their screen.

7.12 If you decide to quote Joe Bloggs or say that Joe Bloggs posts complete rubbish then please make sure you distinguish between, for example, jbloggs@dublin.ie and joe@london.uk . It does happen that two people on r.a.s.F1 can have the same name with different email addresses.

8. F1 WEB SITES

http://callan/cs.may.ie:8000/David_Byrne/David_S_Byrne.html Jordan Home Page

http://homepage.interaccess.com/~tensai/ The Racing Line: auto racing news, commentary and web links

http://www.helsinki.fi/~mpaavila The Anastasia Utendorf F1 Page - multi-media F1 program.

http://www.mclaren.co.uk/mclaren McLaren Home Page

http://www.u-net.com/enigma/formula1 News,Reviews,Results,Drivers,Teams,History.If its F1,its there.

http://www.motorsport.com Comprehensive coverage of F1 and other motorsports worldwide</A>

http://www.dortmund.netsurf.de/~mstruck/f1.html The Formula One Links Page

http://www.ferrari.it Official Ferrari Home Page (Italian)

http://www.ferrari.it/comsport.e/formula1.html Official Ferrari Home Page (English)

9. ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

The contribution of the following individuals is very gratefully acknowledged. This FAQ would not have been possible without them.

Harald Bloche [HB] bloche@postix.gmd.de David Byrne [DB] yr39401@cs.may.ie Josje Cobben [JC] joco@cuci.nl Glenn Durden [GD] alfa@melb.alexia.net.au Tim Downie [TD] trd@fisher.stats.bris.ac.uk Darryl Ellson [DE] darryl@trigger.ch.umist.ac.uk Pete Fenelon [PF] pete@cs.york.ac.uk Helen Gerald [HG] geraldh@logica.com Andrew Henry [AH] rasfaq@bath.ac.uk Vincent Ho [VH] hbv@sfsu.edu Chuck Ingene [CI] caingene@u.washington.edu Mark Jackson [MJ] mjackson@wc.eso.mc.xerox.com RP Mendes Salgueiro[RM] rps@morgana.mat.uc.pt Randy Malbone [RM] rmalbon@cs.umb.edu Kim Meijs [KM] kh.meijs@via.nl Hans Molenaar [HM] hmolenaa@hbg.nl Wyman Pattee [WP] usfmc389@ibmmail.com Hugh Rankin [HR] hrankin@ibm.net AJ Samuels [AS] ajsamuels@dolomite.win-uk.net Chris 'Bart'Simpson[CS] simpson@stsci.edu Ulrich Teichert [UT] krypton@netzservice.de

A big thank you also to McLaren, Jordan, Tyrrell, Sauber, Benetton, Ferrari and Minardi for their assistance.

Copyright (c) 1996 by Mitchell McCann

-- The F1 FAQ on the Web http://www.ultranet.com/~mitchmcc