• Ask Steven

Rookie risks

Steven Lynch February 15, 2013
Max Chilton and Luiz Razia have both made the step up from GP2 to F1 this season © Sutton Images

Marussia are going to start the season with two brand-new F1 drivers. Which was the last team to field two rookies? asked Terry Jenkins

Marussia recently confirmed that the Brazilian Luiz Razia would join Max Chilton in their 2013 line-up, and it's correct that neither of them has taken part in a grand prix before. The last time this happened was not as long ago as I'd thought: HRT started 2010 with Karun Chandhok and Bruno Senna, neither of whom had raced in F1 before that season. There was also a near-miss by Minardi in 2004, when their drivers were the Italian Gianmaria Bruni, who had never started a world championship grand prix before, and Zsolt Baumgartner from Hungary, who had had two races in a Jordan the previous year. Baumgartner claimed Minardi's only point of the year by finishing eighth in the United States GP at Indianapolis.

There was a lot of talk about Michael Schumacher "tarnishing his legacy" during his largely unsuccessful F1 return. How did his comeback affect his overall statistics? asked Martin Colbert

When he initially retired in 2006 Michael Schumacher had taken part in 250 grands prix, and won 91 of them - that's a success rate of 36.4%. In his 2010-12 comeback he didn't win any of his 58 races, so that percentage has come down to 29.5% now, which puts him behind Jim Clark (25 wins out of 73, or 34.2%). Juan Manuel Fangio (46.1% success rate) and Alberto Ascari (39.3) remain ahead. I'm not sure that slight drop tarnishes Schumacher's legacy too much, although others might disagree.

What is the longest track currently used for F1? asked Alan Blackmore

The longest track on the current F1 calendar is Spa-Francorchamps, in Belgium, which is a wheelnut over seven kilometres at 7.004km. Most of the current tracks are between 5-5.5kms in length, although Monaco is the shortest at 3.34km. I had thought the longest one ever used in F1 would be the old Nurburgring, which was around 23km - over 14 miles - but actually the Pescara track was over 25km (nearly 16 miles) in length. This road circuit, based around Pescara on the Italian Adriatic coast, was used only once for a world championship grand prix - in 1957, when Stirling Moss won for Vanwall, finishing the 18-lap race in just under three hours.

With F1's two 40-year-olds riding into the sunset, who will be the oldest driver in 2013? asked Arnold Proctor

It does look as if there will be no 40-year-olds on the grid in 2013: last year there were two, but Michael Schumacher has retired and Pedro de la Rosa, soon to turn 42, recently joined Ferrari as test driver after racing for the now-defunct HRT team in 2012. The oldest man in F1 in 2013, barring late changes, will be 36-year-old Mark Webber: Kimi Raikkonen and Jenson Button are both 33.

Sebastian Vettel scored a point on his F1 debut © Sutton Images

Jenson Button was only 20 when he scored his first world championship points in 2000. Is he the youngest to do so? asked Michael Scott

Jenson Button was only two months past his 20th birthday when he finished sixth for Williams in the Brazilian GP in March 2000. He was the youngest F1 points finisher at the time, breaking the record set by the Mexican Ricardo Rodriguez in 1962. Since then, though, Button's mark has been beaten by Sebastian Vettel, who was just short of his 20th birthday when he marked his GP debut, for BMW Sauber at Indianapolis in June 2007, by claiming a point for eighth place. Jaime Alguersuari was also younger than Button when he scored his first points, at the 2010 Malaysian GP: the only other drivers to score world championship points before their 21st birthdays are Chris Amon (1964), Felipe Massa (2002), Nico Rosberg (2006) and Sebastien Buemi (2009).

Where has Caterham's new driver Giedo van der Garde spring from? asked Charlie Edwards

The 27-year-old Dutchman Giedo van der Garde - who has been signed for Caterham for 2013 alongside Charles Pic - might be a new name to Formula One, but he's not new to Caterham: he was part of their GP2 team last year, finishing sixth overall and winning races in Singapore and Spain. He also won the Formula Renault 3.5 series in 2008. Pic, 22, has joined after driving for Marussia in 2012.