FAQ 5/7: General questions

According to various rumours; Jean Alesi will replace Heinz-Herald Frentzen at Jordan and Ricardo Zonta will be released to continue the rest of the season at Prost. The following statement by Jordan: "The Benson and Hedges Jordan Honda team...

The FAQ Part 5 of 7 General Questions ------------------------------------------------------------------------------

This will be posted monthly to and to news.answers. It answers some of the most frequently asked questions (FAQs) in as well as some others which perhaps _should_ be asked.

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For information on FTP, send e-mail to with with no subject line. In the body of the mail, put: send usenet/news.answers/finding-sources

Whilst some care has been taken in the preparation of this FAQ, a few errors may have slipped through the Net (no pun intended). Please send any corrections or additions to


Who is the greatest driver of all time ? ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Gilles Villeneuve (IMHO).

Anyone can have an opinion on the greatest driver of all time. Unfortunately we'll never know just who is correct. The "great" drivers have never all raced each other in similar cars with each at the peak of their careers.

We can say who has won the most races and the most championships. However, some of the "great" drivers have not been particularly successful. Stirling Moss being the classic example of a driver who failed to win the F1 championship after driving for some second rate teams. Comparisons of drivers between different eras of motor racing are even more open to question. There are so many changes both in technical developments for the cars and circuits, and the differing numbers of competitive cars and drivers through the years.

Try to ignore obvious flame-bait. You're unlikely to persuade anyone that they are wrong by shouting at them. If you want to try, please do it in alt.flame. Whats much more interesting for people to read are the reasons why you like your favourite driver. Tell some anecdotes about their greatest moments. What makes them special ?

Which is the best racing series ? ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ This is another topic that has been thrashed to death. You are just as unlikely to persuade anyone that they are wrong by shouting at them. Whats much more interesting for people to read are the reasons why you like your favourite series. What makes it special ?

+++ Safety features at race tracks (crashing into walls, sand traps etc) +++ Safety features of cars (High modulus carbon, methanol, roll cages, crushable zones) +++ How to get started in Motorsport +++ Improving media coverage of motorsport


Murray Walker (aka Muddly Talker) ~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Murray Walker is the commentator for the much of the BBC's motorsports coverage including F1 and the BTCC. He is a motorsports _enthusiast_. He is also prone to spouting rubbish in the heat of the moment in spite of his vast knowledge of Grand Prix racing. He's a nice bloke too.

[culled from a Private Eye Colemanballs compilation] "He's obviously gone in for a wheel change. I say obviously because I can't see it" "With half the race gone, there is half the race still to go" "Do my eyes deceive me, or is Senna's Lotus sounding rough ?" "Anything happens in Grand Prix racing and it usually does" "Alboreto has dropped back up to fifth place" "As you look at the first four, the significant thing is that Alboreto is fifth" "I can't imagine what kind of problem Senna has. I imagine it must be some sort of grip problem" "He is shedding buckets of adrenalin in that car"

Where are there any Motorsport GIFs and JPEGs ? ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ /graphics/gif/racing

Corel Professional Photos (USA 1-800-836-3729) sell a CDROM with 100 Photo CD racing photographs. They are royalty-free and cover F1, sportscars etc

Which are good races to spectate at ? ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Spectators guides for the British GP at Silverstone, the Belgian GP at Spa, and the Italian GP at Monza are available for anonymous ftp at: ( /pub/auto/f1/silverstone_spectators_guide /pub/auto/f1/monza_spectators_guide /pub/auto/f1/spa_spectators_guide

Where can I get tickets for races ? ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Canadian GP Gilles Villeneuve Track, 514-392-0000, June 12 1994 Tickets 3 days Sunday only ------------------------------------ Gold $240 $210 Silver $200 $175 Bronze $105 $80 General Admission $50 (no seating)

British GP, July 10th 1994 Booking Office, Freepost, Silverstone Circuits Ltd, Silverstone, Towcester, Northants, NN12 8TN. Tel 0327 857273, Fax 0327 857663 Friday Saturday Sunday General Admission (adult) #14 #19 # 52 General Admission (child) # 4 # 4 # 7 Grandstand transfer free #17 ---- Transfer to centre of circuit (adult) #10 #13 # 17 Transfer to centre of circuit (child) # 3 # 3 # 17 Gen Adm + Family Grandstand (adult or child) --- #21 # 62 Gen Adm + Normal Grandstand (adult or child) --- --- #110 (All prices in UK pounds. If bought after 30th April, add between 5 and 10%)

How about this--I got the new "Official Directory" for the tracks. It's a must for those who might travel to a race and plan to stay the weekend--lots of "local flavor" info on places to stay, etc... The directory comes complete with track layouts, seat charts, and a toll free # for track info 1-800-AUTORACE, which you can use for 1-General Track Info 2-Ticket Info 3-Schedule 4-Qual Times 5-Weather

The tracks require the following 4 digit ID codes: Atlanta--1100 Bristol--1200 Charlotte--1300 Darlington--1400 Daytona--1500 etc, etc alphabetically through Watkins Glenn at 2800. Unfortunately, _only_ WCup tracks are covered, excluding places like Hickory, South Boston and, uh, some track in Texas.

Motorsport Pronunciation guide ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Name | English pronunciation ------------------------+-------------------------------------------------- Ayrton Senna | Ah-YEAR-tone senn-a Rubens Barrichello | roo-bens barry-kel-lo Mauricio Gugelmin | Mow-ritz-ee-o Goo-gel-min | Derek Warwick | der-rick worr-ick (worr-ick rhymes with the end of | "historic") Johnny Herbert | JON-ee-ur-BUT Eddie Irvine | ED-yur-vin David Coulthard | day-vid cool-tard | Mark Blundell | mark blun-DELL Martin Brundle | mar-TIN brun-dle | Bernie Ecclestone | BER-nee ECK-ul-stn | Sterling Marlin | STUH-lun MAAAH-lun Stirling Moss | stir-ling moss | Williams | will-yums | Reynard | ray-nard (French word. English company. English | pronunciation). | Jyrki Jarvilehto (the a | yir-kee yar-vee-leh-toh (or jay-jay leh-toh) has an umlaut-two dots) | Mika Salo | Mee-ka Sa-low (low as in blow) | Jaguar | Jag-wahrrr (American) or Jag-uw-ah (British)

Germanic names: ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Pronunciation of "ch" in German: This is a soft gutteral sound. Take the "ch" from "which", remove the "t" part from that sound - and voila!

Michael Schumacher | Mi-cha-el ("i" as in "in", "ch" as in Michelle "a" | as in "part", "el" sounds like "ale") Shoe-mach-er | (gutteral "ch") Heinz-Harald Frentzen | High-nts Hah-rahld Frren-tsen Karl Wendlinger | Kahl Ven-dling-ah Gerhard Berger | Gair-hard Bair-gair Roland Ratzenberger | Ro-land Rah-tsen-bair-gair Jos Verstappen | yohs fair-shtopp-en (The 'a' sounds more like 'o' | in Dutch) | Sauber Mercedes | zow-ber mer-tze-des

Pronouncing Japanese names (Ron O'Dell): ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ In Japanese, the family name is spoken first followed by the personal name. The most important thing to remember, though, is that there is no stress in Japanese, and that each letter -- ma, tsu, shi, ta -- must get the same amount of time. (Otherwise you run into problems, like calling your aunt (obasan) an old woman (obaasan).)

Hiro Matsushita | mahtsoo-shtah (very faint "oo") he-row

[An aside from Troy Davis: Hiro is the grandson of the industrialist that started Matsushita Industries. Their products, when not OEM'd, are marked as mah-tsoo-shee-tah worldwide. When he started in ICs, Hiro tried to explain to people that the pronunciation used to market the products was different that what they actually called themselves in the family, and that his name should be pronounced mah-tsoo-shtah. Panasonic asked him to tell the press that no, it should be pronounced mah-tsoo-shee-tah. Hiro then told Paul Page to pronounce it however he liked to. Personally, I like Derek Daly's version: mah-<spit all over Bobby Unser>-ta.]

| Ukyo Katayama | kah-tah-yah-mah oo-kyohh | Aguri Suzuki | sooz-kee ahg-ree | Nissan | Kneess-ahn (American). Niss-ann (British). | Kneessss-ahn (Japanese).

French and Canadian names: ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Gilles Villeneuve | jil (with a soft j sound) vil-neuv (where vil | sounds like kill and neuv sounds like curve without | the 'r'). Jacques Villeneuve | Jacques is either "jawk" (hawk) or "jak" (yak). Both | have a soft j sound. JV, brother of GV, uses "jawk". | JV, son of GV, uses the European "jak" pronunciation | Alain Prost | a-lan pro (or a-lan pros ??) Jean Alesi | jon (with a soft j sound) a-lay-zEE | Renault | ren-oh (ren as in siren, oh rhymes with blow) Peugeot | pooh-szjoh (szjoh has a very soft "j", and rhymes | with show) | Magny-Cours | man-nyee cor Le Mans | le mon Spa-Francorchamps | spa-fran-kor-shomp |

+++ Origins of team names - MARCH, Audi, etc +++ Origins of car numbering - Lotus 102, 107, Ferrari 639, 641, McLaren MP4/9

Why is there no US GP ? ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Politics and money. The F1 circus expects to have a well developed infra-structure at a racetrack. The FIA also wants to be paid a significant amount of money to hold a race. At the moment, there are no circuits in the US which have the necessary pit garages, press facilities and hotel accommodation which think that they would be able to run a F1 race at a profit. Whether this is because of the unreasonable demands of the F1 establishment is open to question. After a few years without a US GP, F1 may have lost the sponsors who would have been most interested in a race in the US.

What do these abbreviations mean ? ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ NASCAR: North American Stock Car Auto Racing. BGN: Busch Grand National (feeder series for NASCAR) GOB: NASCAR racers and fans (from Good 'Ol Boys) Pick6: Competitions where you use your skill and judgement to predict the results of races. At the moment, these competitions are being run for F1 and NASCAR series.

FAQ: Frequently Asked Question WRC: World Rally Championship IMSA: International Motor Sports Association

How do I Join the Pick6 competitions ? ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Competitions where you use your skill and judgement to predict the results of races. At the moment, these competitions are being run for F1 and NASCAR series. You can join the competition in the middle of a season, you are unlikely to win the championship. The rules for these competitions are too complicated to describe here. However, the both the F1 Pick6 and GOBPick6 rules are posted frequently. Alternatively, you can get them by anonymous ftp to [] as xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx. You can submit picks for F1 Pick6 directly from the World Wide Web, from the URL

Which are faster: Racing cars or racing motorbikes ? ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ At the average road course, F1 bikes (500 cc) are just a little slower in overall lap times that Formula _three_ cars. F1 cars are _much_ faster than bikes! For example, at Donington Park last year, the F1 bike pole was about 1:34 (min:sec); the F3 pole was about 1:30, and the F1 cars were under that _in the wet_.

F1 and IndyCars can generate very high downforce which means that they can go round high speed corners very quickly. GP motorbikes have good acceleration, but are much slower at cornering and braking because they have a lot less downforce. One of the main reasons for this is the rule which stops them from having bodywork which extends behind the rear wheel.

Road legal superbikes are much closer in performance to the Grand Prix machines than a Ferrari F40 is to a Formula 1 Ferrari.

Which are faster: F1 or IndyCars ? ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ This very much depends on the racetrack and the race distance. For a qualifying lap on a road course or short oval, an F1 car would be much quicker. However F1 cars are designed to race for 190 miles and are not designed to cope with racing conditions found on a superspeedway. Stefan Johansson was the most recent driver to try an F1 car on a superspeedway, in a 1986 McLaren-Porsche. The car was relatively quick even running with a lot of downforce and drag, but probably would have not been able to run for 500 miles without breaking down. F1 engines are usually only run for 400-500 miles between rebuilds and the clutches rarely have to take more than three standing starts per race.

Both F1 and IndyCars have about 750-800 bhp on tap. However, the minimum weight for an F1 car is 1108 lbs. The minimum weight for an IndyCar is 1550 lbs. Generally, F1 cars are more sophisticated and expensive than IndyCars. Carbon fibre brakes used in F1 have much better performance than the steel brakes used in IndyCars. However they are also much more expensive.

Although semi-automatic gearboxes are banned in IndyCars, some say that after the initial development cost, they actually save money for F1 teams by reducing the amount of engine damage when drivers miss downshifts with a manual gearchange.

F1 cars have to have a flat-bottomed chassis which means that an IndyCar, which is allowed ground effect tunnels, can generate a lot of downforce for a given amount of drag.

Can a car decelerate faster than 1G ? ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Yes - F1 cars can pull 4.5G under braking with the help of high downforce, sticky tyres and carbon fibre brakes. Aerodynamic downforce can double the effective weight of an F1 car at speed. Sticky tyres don't slide smoothly but in a series of many small deformations. These can give very high coefficients of friction (much greater than 1). A less significant factor is the aerodynamic drag caused by the large wings. The Cd figure of an F1 car can be very high and is even higher when a car spins.

Why not split into r.a.s.f1, r.a.s.indycar & r.a.s.drag ? ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ At first glance, this may seem like a great idea. However, it is not quite so simple. There are some subjects which are very easy to put in the correct groups. Then there are also the others. Where would you discuss Michael Andretti's fortunes over the last couple of years ? Refuelling returns to F1. Is there anything to be learnt from refuelling IndyCars ? Someone crashes on an IndyCar oval. Why don't they use gravel traps like in F1 ? Which is the best series: F1 or IndyCars ? These are all subjects which are not easy to pigeon hole.

Cross-posting to r.a.s.f1 and r.a.s.indycar might help in some of these cases, but what are the chances that the thread will still be cross-posted long after the discussion has drifted onto a new topic ?

In theory, once you have read an cross-posted article in one newsgroup, you won't see that article in any other newsgroups. In practice this does not always work, and you get to read everything twice.

Much of the discussion of NASCAR on can be clearly separated from the rest. Few drivers swap between stockcars and single- seaters like F1 and IndyCars and the cars have few features in common.

Some subjects like drag racing can be clearly defined but are discussed too rarely on to justify a new newsgroup. Start some discussion !

If you still want to split the group, news.announce.newusers has guidelines on how to procede. Please take the discussion to news.groups ASAP.

Why and not ? ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ A long long time ago (in the mid 80s), on a usenet far far away, there were two newsgroups about cars:, and Discussions about motorsports tended to disappear in the noise (and there was every bit as much noise in then as there is now.) A number of residents who wanted more discussion of a sporting nature briefly discussed getting a group created, but instead we settled for a mailing list. The auto-sports mailing list was run from a Vax at GE R&D for about two years, administered by me (Richard Welty.) It eventually became so popular that it killed itself, having impacted the GE R&D long distance bills enough that the corporate bean counters noticed it and ordered it stopped (GE did not have a good quality Internet link at the time.)

Fortunately, the auto-sports mailing list was also successful enough that I convinced myself that it was worth trying to run a vote for a new Usenet newsgroup. The only major issue to decide was the name. After extended discussion, we settled on, as most of us had come together via in the first place. Other strong candidates were and (on reflection a placement in might have been a better idea, but that's all old news articles in the bitbucket now.)

One thing that was felt very strongly at the time was that in light of the interminable arguments on what constituted a "sports car" that regularly consumed, we felt that was for sporting discussions. We could see no way in which a meaningful, useful discussion could be held on whether a Chevy Camaro was any more or less a sports car than a Bugeye Sprite. I think that this holds true today. should continue to be for sporting discussions.

Who helped make this FAQ ? ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Al Griffy Alan F. Perry Andrew Henry Bob Kehoe Bono Cameron Howie Chris Walton David Koch David Reininger David Ward Eric Tittley J. B. van der Meer Jay Carina John Burford Kenji SUEHIRO Kevin J. Coulter Mario Perrazzino Mark A. Breland Mark H. Black Mark Williams Martin Coombes Matthias Blume Max Behara Michael Andrew Holthouse Michael Regoli Pat Campbell Pat Hayes Paul S Winalski Pete Fanning Philippe Baque Richard Querin Richard Welty Roberto Barros Ron O'Dell Santiago Oleas Smitherman Stefan ??? stefansk@sjuvm.bitnet Steve Thompson Tancredo Vasconcellos-Neto Terry Matula tlm1@Ra.MsState.Edu Timo Pelkonen Toby Vaughn Padfield Tom Haapanen Tom Stangler Troy Davis ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ The FAQ

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Series General
Drivers Eddie Irvine , Jos Verstappen , Johnny Herbert , Michael Schumacher , Heinz-Harald Frentzen , Rubens Barrichello , Jean Alesi , David Coulthard , Ricardo Zonta , Karl Wendlinger , Sterling Marlin , Michael Andretti , Gerhard Berger , Mika Salo , Mauricio Gugelmin , Mark Blundell , Martin Brundle , Bobby Unser , Alain Prost , Ayrton Senna , Gilles Villeneuve , Ukyo Katayama , Derek Daly , Stirling Moss , Aguri Suzuki , Derek Warwick , Roland Ratzenberger , Mark Williams , Bernie Ecclestone , Michael An
Teams Sauber , Williams