$Revision: 2.145 $, $Date: 2008/05/01 16:17:33 $
This FAQ is posted approximately twice a month. (The subject should be
the same; if you do not want to retrieve it, kill the subject.) Between
postings you can find a reasonably current copy at
. For more information
about the operation of this newsgroup, and a nicely-formatted version of
this FAQ, see the rec.autos.sport.f1.moderated website at
*NOTE* The FAQ has been split into two parts to avoid it being too long
for some people's rules.
This FAQ originated on rec.autos.sport.f1, where it was ably maintained
through mid-2001 by Stephen M Baines. Special thanks to him, and
thanks also to the following people who, amongst others, have had
contributions culled to make the FAQ:
Kim Andrews, Paul B, Sven Baumer, David Betts, Sergiusz Boron, Alessio
Bragadini, Lord Tim Brent, Stênio F. Campos, Simon "Bumble Bee Boy"
Cossar, Andrew Cosstick, Emma Crawley, GD, BF Dehay, Doug Farrow,
Pete Fenelon, Ken Fletcher, Mark J Frusciante, Tony Gartshore, Alan Gauton,
GD, Thomas Gmuer, Lutz Goerke, Paul Harman, Ian Hill, Mark Jackson, Jak,
Alan Jones, Brian Lawrence, Jeff "Eskimo Joe", Olav K. Malmin, Julie Miles,
Ciro Pabón, Dave Parker, Jon Petersson, Barry Posner, Rob, Duncan Rollo,
Rui Pedro Mendes Salgueiro, Martin Schmidt, Peter Scoular, Johan V,
Mike Whooley, Paul Winalski.
Apologies to anyone whose name was missed - it's not deliberate!
The FAQ may not have answers to everything you need - it is just a
collection of *frequently* asked questions and their answers, not the
answers to everything ;-)
Corrections and additions are especially welcome. I do try to keep up
with the newsgroup, but to make sure of something being considered for
the FAQ mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org
The FAQ is divided into several sections.
This introduction (Part 1)
1. Rules, regulations and governing body (Part 1)
2. The teams and cars (Part 1)
3. The drivers (Part 2)
4. The races (Part 2)
5. The circuits (Part 2)
6. Television (Part 2)
7. Sponsors (Part 2)
8. Manufacturers (Part 2)
9. Technical stuff (Part 2)
10. Miscellaneous (Part 2)
1. Rules, Regulations and Governing Body
Q: Who is the governing body of Formula 1?
A: The Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA), headquartered
in Paris (F) and whose president is currently Max Mosley. In 1904
various national motor clubs organized the Association Internationale
des Automobile Clubs Reconnus (AIACR) to run international motor sport
(reserving control of national events for themselves). The AIACR first
issued an international sporting calendar and regulations in 1908, and
in 1922 formed a Commission Sportive Internationale (CSI) to formalize
the oversignt of Grand Prix and other forms of international racing.
The term Formula 1 came into use in 1947, when the AIACR reorganized
itself as the FIA. The World Championship of Drivers was begun in 1950.
Q: Where can I find the regulations to Formula 1?
A: The FIA's web site has the technical and sporting regulations; see
Q: What are the main changes for 2008?
A: In March 2006 the World Motor Sport Council, anticipating the
expiration of the Concorde Agreement (see below), approved
far-reaching changes to the sporting regulations for 2008.
Proposed changes to the technical regulations followed; after
considerable struggle some modifications were put in place
and most provisions were brought forward to 2007. During 2007
further changes were announced from time to time by the FIA,
some of which seem to have been invalidated by agreements
reached with the teams in early 2008. Here's what remains:
An FIA-standard engine control unit (ECU) has become mandatory,
enabling (in principle) effective enforcement of a ban on launch
and traction control systems. Gearboxes have to last for
four events, with a five-place grid penalty for early replacement.
(Gearboxes are complex things. The regulations permit changing
some components to get the right ratios for each track, and to
repair damage; time will tell whether this is abused.) The first
engine replacement of the season for each car will not result in
the usual 10 grid position penalty - unless it takes place for
the final race, in Brazil. Engine development is frozen for 5
years (reduced from 10 years) relative to a reference engine the
teams must hand over early this year. As a cost-reduction
measure spare cars have been banned; a spare chassis can be
brought to races but can only be built up as a replacement
overnight. The third qualifying period has been shortened from
15 to 10 minutes and refueling afterwards has been banned, which
eliminates the laps spent burning off fuel. (What was
introduced to give the spectators more track time to watch is
now judged unacceptably eco-hostile!) Unintended consequences
in Malaysia (cars that made their last run before the absolute
end of the session crawling back to the pits to save fuel,
thus impeding and endangering others still on qualifying pace)
led to the imposition of a minimum partial-lap time from
"Customer" cars - one team using another's chassis - were
supposed to be legalized, but the use of such cars in 2007
by Toro Rosso and Super Aguri triggered litigation; this
led to the abandonment of Prodrive's planned 2008 entry of a
customer McLaren chassis.
Q: Are further changes planned?
Yes, but it's hard to be sure exactly what. Although the
purported 2009 technical regulations have been on the FIA
website since December 2006 their relevance is unclear,
since during 2007 a number of proposals were floated,
then revised or dropped. The most recent announcement -
of limits on the use of wind tunnels and aerodynamic track
testing and other restrictions on resources dedicated to
computational fluid dynamics (CFD), rig testing, other
technical development areas, and the number of personnel
brought to races - ran into strong opposition and seems
to be off the table. This was followed by reports of
serious discussion of a budget cap - to which Ferrari
is known to be opposed.
On the other hand the teams are acting like they know
more or less what to expect. For example it appears that
every team must again be a legitimate constructor (no customer
cars) by 2010; this leaves the status of Toro Rosso and Super
Aguri somewhat uncertain in the interim - as well as in the
long term, since their value will be nil unless enough
funding is found to become true constructors. A negotiated
short-term solution is being sought before the arbitration
set in motion last year by Spyker reaches court in July.
Based on proposals by the Overtaking Working Group
teams are planning on significant restrictions on
aerodynamics (targeting a 50%% downforce rediction). It
appears that an adjustable front wing (to counter the effects
of running behind another car) may be in the cards. The
introduction of a "Kinetic Energy Recovery System" (KERS)
is expected, permitting the storage of some energy recovered
during braking to provide a boost during passing. The grooved
dry-weather tires used for several years are on the way out
(Bridgestone is testing compounds and constructions for slicks);
the elimination of tire-warmers is also planned (although there's
opposition to the last on safety grounds).
Q: What is the Concorde Agreement?
A: The original Concorde Agreement (so-called because it was signed
at the FIA headquarters on the Place de la Concorde in Paris)
was between the Formula One Constructors Association (FOCA)
and the Fédération Internationale du Sport Automobile (FISA).
FISA, reorganized from the old CSI by Jean-Marie Balestre after
he became its chair, was the arm of the FIA involved in
sanctioning motor sport and had direct sanctioning responsibility
for F1. FOCA was, as its name implies, an organization
representing most of the F1 teams (but not all of them--Tyrrell
and, I think, Ferrari were not FOCA members). Its president was
Bernie Ecclestone, then owner of the Brabham F1 team.
Through the 1970s the FIA had gradually allowed FOCA to
take a greater hand in the financial, promotional, and
organizational aspects of the F1 Championship. By 1980
FOCA was organizing the races and the FIA's role was limited
to rules-making and officiating. When Balestre took over
as head of the CSI he set about trying to get control of F1 back
from FOCA. FOCA baulked at some of Balestre's proposed rule
changes, particularly the ones limiting ground effects, and
a very ugly dispute ensued that threatened to split the sport.
(One race was boycotted by the FOCA teams; another, organized
by FOCA, was excluded from that year's Championship.)
The sponsors and manufacturers (engines, tires, fuel) had the
last say and forced both sides to hammer out the Concorde
Agreement, which covers the whole financial and organizational
side of F1 racing, rules stability, collection and distribution
of monies, etc.
FISA is no longer, its duties now being performed by the FIA's
World Motor Sports Council. FOCA has evolved into Bernie's
complex of companies; see "Who owns F1," below. Since the
original Concorde Agreement there have been several revisions
to it. In recent years the CA has required unanimous consent
from the teams (almost impossible to obtain) or a couple of
years' notice in order to change the regulations.
The current, three-party version (FIA, Bernie, the F1 teams)
expired at the end of 2007. In mid-January 2005 the FIA,
Ferrari, and Bernie announced the signing of a revised Concorde
Agreement, giving signatory teams a larger share of revenues,
effective 2008-2012. Bernie gave the other teams an
end-of-February deadline to sign on, which was ignored.
Instead the remaining teams signed a memorandum of
understanding with Bernie covering financial arrangements in
mid-May 2006. Agreement between manufacturers and the FIA
over governance and technical objectives was claimed by Mosley
and BMW in November, and this was touted as having cleared the
way for a fresh 3-way Concorde Agreement. However as of the
beginning of the 2008 season such had yet to be signed - and
may not be, both because it may run afoul of European Union
antitrust holdings and because Max may not want to continue
restrictions on the FIA's rule-making powers. Bernie's
people are reported to be working to unify the various
interim agreements between FOM and the individual teams.
Q: Where can I see the Concorde Agreement?
A: You can't. It's secret, although some of its known or suspected
provisions are described in this FAQ. More detailed speculation,
and pointers to an alleged copy of the 1997 agreement divulged
in 2005 by a certain motorsport newsletter, can be found at
Q: How much do the teams get for winning races?
A: The FIA doesn't get involved in money, which is controlled by
Bernie through what used to be called FOCA. I believe that the
Concorde Agreement describes the "prize money" for each race,
and I think there are payments for the leading teams at quarter,
half, three-quarter and full distance. Maybe something for most
laps led too?
The revenue from TV rights is partially distributed to teams using
a points system derived from historical performances. As I understand
it points are awarded for:
* Placing in the constructor's championship (last 3 years)
* Number of years in F1 (1 year = 4 points, 10 years = 165 points
[Ferrari 50 yrs = 1200 points])
* Constructor's titles (25 points each)
* Constructor's championship points (last 2 years x 2)
* " " 2 (all-time / 10)
* Number of wins (last 2 years, 10 points each)
* All-time number of wins (1 point each)
Teams with points get a proportional share of the money. There is
also a separate pool of money distributed based on the previous
years constructor's championship. The *size* of the total payout
(reportedly 47%% of TV revenues, nothing from the sanctioning fees
and other income realized by Bernie) was one of the issues behind
the breakaway manufacturers' movement (see next question).
Q: Who owns F1?
A: The FIA owns Formula 1, but licensed the commercial rights
through 2110 (yes, for over a century) to a complex of companies
effectively controlled by Bernie Ecclestone. The actual structure
was Byzantine; in discussing it /The Economist/ used the words
"complex tax-avoidance scheme."
The key elements were:
* Formula One Management (FOM), owned by the Jersey company Petara
* Formula One Administration (FOA), which owns Petara and is in turn
owned by Formula One Holdings (FOH)
* SLEC Holdings, a Jersey company (evidently named for Bernie's wife
Slavica, who controls Petara) which owns FOH.
* Bambino Holdings, another Jersey company controlled by the
Liechtenstein-based Bambino Trust (whose beneficiaries are members
of the Ecclestone family).
A few years ago Bernie sold 75%% of SLEC for a very large sum,
while retaining a 25%% stake through Bambino Holdings - as well
as effective control through arcane directorship arrangements at
FOM and FOA. Due to financial difficulties ownership of this 75%%
passed through the hands of German media companies EM.TV
and, following the latter's default, to three creditor banks.
The banks were unhappy with the return on their unwilling
investment and lack of the control that usually comes with 75%%
ownership; legal actions followed.
In November 2005 Ecclestone and the British private equity firm CVC
Capital Partners agreed to form a new company, Alpha Prema, which
was to reunite the bank and Bambino holdings with
Ecclestone continuing as chief executive of the F1 group. Details
were then worked out with the banks, conditional approval was
granted by the European Commission (CVS being required to divest
itself of its interest in MotoGP), and in March 2006 the purchase
was completed. As of that date:
* the Formula One Group is still 100%% owned by SLEC
* SLEC is 75%% owned by Speed Investments (the former bank holding
vehicle); and 25%% by Alpha Prema UK
* 100%% of Speed is held by Alpha Prema UK
* Alpha Prema UK is 100%% owned by yet another Jersey-based holding
company, Alpha Topco
* Alpha Topco is 75%% owned by CVC Fund IV and 25%% by Bambino Holdings.
2. The teams and cars
Q: When was the last time a privateer won a race?
A: The last privateer to win a GP was either Jo Siffert in the Walker
Lotus-Ford at Brands Hatch in 1968, or Jackie Stewart in the Tyrrell
March-Ford in Spain in 1970. (Although Tyrrell bought both chassis
and engine that season some feel that the support he was receiving from
Ford, Elf, and Goodyear place him at least among the semi-works ranks.
It's a judgement call, there being no official body empowered to bless
There has never been a privateer World Champion. Moss came closest in
the Rob Walker-entered Cooper in 1959 when he finished third. Walker
was the first privateer entrant to win a World Championship Grand Prix
with Moss in a Cooper-Climax, in the 1958 Argentine Grand Prix.
The Mugen-Honda engine used by the 2000 Jordan was a factory engine
in all-but-name. The last World Champion to use an off-the-shelf
engine was Keke Rosberg (1982, Williams-Ford).
Q: Who owns which team?
A: BMW Sauber - The former Sauber was restructured, if not
fully renamed, in 2006 as the factory team for
BMW, which holds the controlling stake.
Ferrari - Piero Lardi Ferrari 10%%, the FIAT Group 85%%, and 5%%
by the government-owned Mubadala Development Co. of
Honda - Honda.
McLaren - TAG McLaren is 40%% owned by Daimler A. G., 30%% by
the Bahrain Mumtalakat Holding Company, and 15%% each
by Ron Dennis and TAG Group S.A. (Mansouer Ojjeh).
Red Bull - (formerly Jaguar, neé Stewart) Dietrich Mateschitz's
Red Bull energy drink company.
Renault - Renault.
Scuderia Toro Rosso (formerly Minardi)
- Dietrich Mateschitz's Red Bull energy drink company
50%%; Gerhard Berger 50%%. A new owner is being sought
before 2010, when the "synergy" used to justify Toro
Rosso running, essentially, the current Red Bull
chassis with a different engine will be banned.
Force India - (recently Spyker, formerly MF1 Racing, neé Jordan)
Orange India Holdings, itself equally owned by
Strongwind (an investment company controlled by
Michiel Mol) and Watson Ltd. (owned by Indian
businessman Vijay Mallya)..
Super Aguri - Aguri Suzuki and Fumio Akita, who are in
desperate need of additional financing. A
planned sale to the Magma Group, a London-
based automotive consultancy, fell through at
the last minute when financial backing from Dubai
was lost. Honda has been providing emergency
support while another investor is sought; right now
it looks unlikely the team will make it to Turkey.
Toyota - Toyota.
Williams - Frank Williams and Patrick Head (said to be 80/20).
Heavy sponsorship involvement by the Baugur Group
has sparked rumors that they have taken an ownership
position as well, but this has not been confirmed.
Q: Who is supplying engines to which team in 2008?
A: BMW Sauber - BMW [F]
Ferrari - Ferrari [F]
Honda - Honda [F]
McLaren - Mercedes [F]
Red Bull - Renault [C]
Renault - Renault [F]
STR - Ferrari [C]
Force India*- Ferrari [C]
Super Aguri - Honda [C]
Toyota - Toyota [F]
Williams - Toyota [F]
[F] Factory [C] Customer
*formerly Spyker F1
Q: What happened to Prodrive?
A: Anticipating the expiration of the Concorde Agreement (see above),
which restricted participation in F1 to true constructors, the
FIA abruptly opened entries for 2008 for the week of 24 to 31
March, 2006. Twenty-two applications were received; the official
entry list, announced by the FIA on April 28, consisted of the
current 11 teams plus Prodrive (Dave Richards, former BAR and
Benetton principal). The Prodrive entry, however, was predicated
on the legality of "customer" cars - they negotiated with McLaren
and others for a 2008 supply - and the ongoing legal questions over
the 2007 Toro Rosso and Super Aguri entries, and the failure to
agree on a new Concorde agreement permitting this for 2008,
caused Richards to announce that Prodrive would not compete as
Q. How much does each team spend per year?
A. Estimates are all that are available, and of course they vary. The
March 2006 issue of /F1 Racing/ gave the following breakdown for
2005 (all figures in millions of US dollars):
R&D WT Man. Eng. T&A Tests Races T-Sal D-Sal
Ferrari 26.60 15.55 1.80 150 19.46 75.75 37.28 51.04 46.50
Toyota 63.40 13.14 2.80 180 12.97 77.50 29.71 68.53 39.50
McLaren 45.66 15.93 1.99 140 14.05 65.86 25.33 62.23 40.00
Williams 22.50 14.91 1.65 137 10.05 74.50 27.46 57.05 5.00
BAR 33.40 11.62 1.37 170 8.53 54.00 23.24 40.70 10.25
Renault 18.09 9.06 1.92 115 8.10 44.00 25.09 41.08 18.25
Sauber 15.03 11.71 1.75 26 7.70 27.50 24.03 39.60 4.50
Red Bull 13.48 6.78 1.25 18 5.72 37.50 19.51 23.78 2.50
Jordan 12.20 5.10 0.80 15 4.86 26.50 21.34 16.50 0.50
Minardi 0.45 3.40 0.75 10 2.47 10.00 10.25 12.24 0.35
250.81 107.20 16.08 961 93.91 493.11 243.24 413.47 167.35
(WT = wind tunnel, Man = manufacturing, Eng = engines, T&A = travel and
accomodation, T-Sal = team salaries, D-Sal = drivers' salaries, C.E. =
For comparison, /F1 Racing/'s team totals for 2004 and 2003:
Ferra Toyot McLar Willi B.A.R Renau Saube Jagua
[2004Tot $2493] 418.2 368.5 359.2 359.0 309.9 255.2 154.6 141.9
[2003Tot $2141] 443.8 290.4 304.6 353.3 225.1 206.8 119.5 78.8
Q: Is it true that there was a 6-wheel F1 car that won a race?
A: The Tyrrell project 34 had small, 10 inch diameter front wheels
that could be completely hidden behind the front cowling then
in common use on F1 cars. This removed the front wheels from the
airstream and thus reduced drag significantly, resulting in the
car going faster. The problem was that the tiny front wheels
didn't provide enough surface area for proper braking. The way
around this was to use 4 front wheels instead of the usual 2.
The car was pretty successful in its first year and actually won
at Anderstorp (Swedish Grand Prix 1976) for Jody Scheckter, with
Depailler second. It was less successful in 1977 because the
more complicated 4-wheel front suspension assembly added a lot
of weight, and Goodyear wasn't keeping up on tire development of
the 10" tires. Tyrrell went back to a conventional, 4-wheel car
the next year. Pictures at http://www.ddavid.com/formula1/tyrp34.htm
March also made some experiments with a 6 wheel car in 1977.
The 2-4-0 (from rail locomotive terminology) sought increased
traction by having a second set of rear wheels behind the first.
Design and construction were very informal, development nonexistent
(most running was done with only one set of rear wheels driven to
avoid cracking the inadequate gearbox casing), and the car never
competed; a successor machine did win several British hillclimbs
in 1979 with Roy Lane at the wheel. Photo at
Williams produced a 6-wheel variant of their FW08 in 1982, of
similar layout to the March. The idea this time was to extend the
area under the car available to venturi tunnels and to allow the
rear wing to be mounted further back on the car. Cars were
built and tested, but right about the time that they were ready
to race the FIA came out with new regulations restricting F1 cars
to 4 wheels mounted on 2 axles, so it never raced for the FIA World
Championship. The cars still exist and have appeared in several
historic races. Photo at
Q: Is it true about a "fan car"?
A: The Brabham BT46B, which Niki Lauda drove to victory in the
1978 Swedish GP.
This was an idea borrowed from Jim Hall's Chaparral CanAm cars.
The idea was to put skirts on the sidepods to seal the undercar area,
then to mount an extractor fan at the back to remove
the air under the car, thus sucking it down onto the track.
To get around the "moveable areodynamic device" ban, Brabham
claimed that the fan was there to help cool the engine.
Whilst this wasn't false, it wasn't the full reason behind the
fan; the car actually squatted down onto the track if you
blipped the throttle while it was stationary.
But its biggest problem was that it was very successful, so
all the other teams protested. There was also one legitimate
(IMO) concern--the fan tended to pick up debris from the track
and blow it into the face of a driver following closely. In
any event, the car was very soon banned by the FIA because the
fan was ruled to be an aerodynamic aid not in a fixed position
relative to the sprung part of the car.
Q: Why were Tyrrell thrown out of the 1984 championship?
A: This is from Autocourse:
"In the afterglow of 1984's chase-the-McLaren story, the
FISA-versus-Tyrrell affair still rankles as being as distasteful as it
was ill-considered. Whether or not Tyrrell was plying his 012 cars
with lead ballast during a late-race pit stop or - and this is more
far-fetched - mixing additive to the water injected into the engine to
ward off piston and valvegear failures has become a moot case. What is
more relevant is not only the way that FISA conducted his trial - for
example, introducing fresh evidence at an appeal hearing and barring
Tyrrell from approaching expert witnesses who had analysed water
samples for FISA - but also the severity of the fine. If Andrea de
Cesaris and Niki Lauda have their practice times discounted on the
days at Dijon and Dallas where the Ligier was found to be running with
an empty fire extinguisher bottle and the McLaren declared to have a
rear wing 2mm too wide, then excluding Tyrrell from the World
Championship for infringements committed during Martin Brundle's gutsy
drive to second in Detroit ranks as a kneejerk reaction of an
But the decision was final, costing Tyrrell his FOCA membership and
USD 1,000,000 in concessionary travel arrangements to transcontinental
races. Underlying the season had been the backstage arguments over the
proposed 195-litre fuel capacity maximum intended for 1985: to stick
at the current 220-litre allowance required team unanimity - and Ken
Tyrrell was the only dissenting voice. Naturally, after he was barred
from the Championship, so 220 litres became a fixed part of the '85
technical regulations, neatly, tidily and with no outward fuss."
Q: Who won the constructors championship in the year....?
2007 Ferrari (I)
2006 Renault (F)
2005 Renault (F)
2004 Ferrari (I)
2003 Ferrari (I)
2002 Ferrari (I)
2001 Ferrari (I)
2000 Ferrari (I)
1999 Ferrari (I)
1998 McLaren (GB)
1997 Williams (GB)
1996 Williams (GB)
1995 Benetton (GB)
1994 Williams (GB)
1993 Williams (GB)
1992 Williams (GB)
1991 McLaren (GB)
1990 McLaren (GB)
1989 McLaren (GB)
1988 McLaren (GB)
1987 Williams (GB)
1986 Williams (GB)
1985 McLaren (GB)
1984 McLaren (GB)
1983 Ferrari (I)
1982 Ferrari (I)
1981 Williams (GB)
1980 Williams (GB)
1979 Ferrari (I)
1978 Lotus (GB)
1977 Ferrari (I)
1976 Ferrari (I)
1975 Ferrari (I)
1974 McLaren (GB)
1973 Lotus (GB)
1972 Lotus (GB)
1971 Tyrrell (GB)
1970 Lotus (GB)
1969 Matra (F)
1968 Lotus (GB)
1967 Brabham (GB)
1966 Brabham (GB)
1965 Lotus (GB)
1964 Ferrari (I)
1963 Lotus (GB)
1962 BRM (GB)
1961 Ferrari (I)
1960 Cooper (GB)
1959 Cooper (GB)
1958 Vanwall (GB)
(The Constructors Championship originated in 1958.)