- Ask Steven
Box this lap...Steven Lynch June 21, 2013
Which race has included the most pit-stops? asked Tim Langley
This record was set at the Hungarian GP in 2011, which featured no fewer than 88 pit-stops. It started on a damp track, then most of the drivers came in to change tyres as the Hungaroring started to dry out. But then a brief shower forced most of them back in again. The race was eventually won by the McLaren of Jenson Button. "This is the first place where I won a Grand Prix, in 2006, in these sorts of conditions," said Button after what was his 200th GP. "You're not always going to make the right call in these conditions, but I feel I'm pretty good at making the right call when it comes to tyre choices." That same year Button won the rain-affected Canadian GP despite visiting the pits on six occasions (one of them for a penalty), the record for a race winner. At the other end of the scale the 1961 Dutch GP featured no pit-stops at all, and no retirements either: the Ferrari driver Wolfgang von Trips led from start to finish, making it a candidate for the most boring Grand Prix of the lot!
Has the British Grand Prix been held in every year of the world championship? asked Mark Porter
Only two races have been part of the official world championship in every year since it started in 1950 - the British and Italian GPs. Silverstone staged the very first one, in May 1950 (it was won by the eventual inaugural champion, Nino Farina), and the British GP has been held there 45 times since, so the 2013 race on June 30 will be the 47th on the famous Northamptonshire circuit.. The British GP has also been run at Aintree (five times) and Brands Hatch (12). The Italian GP has been staged 62 times so far at Monza, and once (in 1980, while Monza was being reconstructed) at Imola. There have been 60 Monaco GPs (it missed out between 1951 and 1954), while this year's German GP, on July 7, will also be the 60th.
I learned from a recent TV programme that motor racing has been banned in Switzerland for many years. But I distinctly remember a Swiss GP a few years ago - how is this? asked Andrew Saunders
Motor racing has indeed been banned in Switzerland since 1955, when the sport was stopped there as a result of the disaster at that year's Le Mans 24-hour race in France, when a car flew into the crowd at high speed, killing the driver (Pierre Levegh) and more than 80 spectators. Before that the Swiss GP at Bremgarten, near Berne, had been a regular feature of the world championship season: in 1950 it was won by the eventual champion, Nino Farina, and subsequent races were won by Juan Manuel Fangio (1951 and 1954), Piero Taruffi (1952) and Alberto Ascari (1953). Since the ban the world championship has only once featured a race called the Swiss GP - in 1982, when it was the only one that year won by the eventual champion, Keke Rosberg. But that race did not take place in Switzerland: it was staged at Dijon, in Burgundy in France, not far from the Swiss border.
Which manufacturer has won the most GPs without ever winning the constructors' championship? asked Edgar McDonald
Mercedes have won 11 GPs so far, without ever winning the constructors' championship - but that particular title was only officially instituted in 1958 (when Vanwall won the first one): Mercedes would probably have won the title in 1954 and 1955 had there been one, as Juan Manuel Fangio won the drivers' championship in those years in a Mercedes. Looking only at years that included a constructors' championship, Ligier won nine GPs between 1977 and 1996, but never won the title (they were second in 1980, and third in 1979).
I saw an F3 race the other day featuring a driver called Eddie Cheever. Presumably this isn't the old Tyrrell (etc) F1 driver? asked Mike Barnes
The current F3 driver is actually the son of the man you're talking about: Eddie Cheever III was born in Rome in 1993. His father, Eddie Cheever junior, had a long F1 career - he drove in 143 races, for no fewer than nine teams, between 1978 (when he was 20) and 1989. He never quite won a race, but did stand on the podium nine times, finishing second in Detroit in 1982 (in a Ligier) and in Canada the following year (in a Renault). Cheever was sixth in the world championship in 1983. A native of Phoenix, Arizona, Cheever then tried his hand in America, and won the Indianapolis 500 in 1998.
Which F1 driver became governor of his home province? asked Nick Preston
I suppose there might just be more than one, but F1's most famous driver-turned-politician is Carlos Reutemann, the runner-up in the world championship in 1981, when he was driving a Williams after a stint with Ferrari. After retiring from F1 Reutemann served two terms as governor of Santa Fe in his native Argentina, and is now a member of the country's Senate. Incidentally, as a couple of readers kindly pointed out, Reutemann is another driver who took pole position at his very first Grand Prix (see a question in the last column): driving a Brabham, he set the fastest practice lap at the Argentine GP of 1972, and eventually finished seventh.