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KERS, ex-F1 champs and South Korea

Steven Lynch December 15, 2009

Our resident expert - Steven Lynch -is back to answer more of your burning questions. If you have a question about F1 or just want to test Steven, send us your questions…

Next year's Toro Rosso will be completely built in the factory at Faenza. © Sutton Images
Toro Rosso means Red Bull in Italian - are they just really the same team? Giuseppe Porto, London
The teams are very similar - they are both owned by the same company, and the cars were all designed by Adrian Newey - but there are some differences too: the Red Bulls use Renault engines, while the Toro Rossos are powered by Ferrari ones. Toro Rosso is generally seen as a junior team for Red Bull: Sebastian Vettel, who did well in a Red Bull in 2009, drove for Toro Rosso in 2008 - and actually won the rain-affected Italian GP that year, thus giving Toro Rosso a GP victory before their big brothers, who didn't win one until 2009, when Vettel won in China. In 2010 the teams will produce two completely separate chassis, with Toro Rosso manufacturing their 2009 challenger at the old Minardi base in Faenza, Italy.

I always hear about KERS in F1 - how does the system work and do all the teams have the same system? James Matthews, Cumbria
KERS stands for "Kinetic Energy Recovery Systems" and, without going into too much technical detail, it stores energy (usually wasted under deceleration) and feeds it back into the car's power system on demand. It means that an F1 car fitted with a KERS device can use more power in certain situations, primarily to help it pass others (although Toro Rosso adapted the usage in this year's Malaysian GP to help cool their drivers down). Not all the teams use it, as its extra weight creates headaches with weight distribution for designers. Two KERS-equipped cars won races in last season, Lewis Hamilton's McLaren in Hungary and Singapore and Kimi Raikkonen's Ferrari at Spa Francorchamps.

The oldest man to become world champion - Juan Manuel Fangio © Getty Images

Lewis Hamilton became the youngest F1 world champion, but who was the oldest? Alex Hardman, Paris
The oldest F1 world champion was the great Argentinean Juan Manuel Fangio, who won the last of his five titles in 1957, when he was 47. Fangio won 24 of the 52 GPs he entered.

Has any F1 driver managed to win the big three, Le Mans, Monaco Grand Prix and the Indy 500?Kai Sagawa, Japan
The only man to do this is the charismatic British driver Graham Hill, the F1 world champion of 1962 and 1968. In the 1960s he won the Monaco GP no fewer than five times - a record until Ayrton Senna won his sixth one in 1993. Hill was only the second British driver to win the Indianapolis 500, doing so at his first attempt in 1966 (Jim Clark won there the year before), and he completed the "triple crown" by winning at Le Mans in 1972. He and Henri Pescarolo finished 11 laps clear in their Matra-Simca, in a race marred by the death of the veteran driver (and Hill's close friend) Jo Bonnier.

What is the next country that is likely to hold a Formula One Grand Prix? Karun Gupta, Bangalore
The most likely "new" country is South Korea, - who have a race on the 2010 provisional calendar. The venue will be a purpose-built circuit being completed at Yeongam, which is about 250 miles to the south of the capital, Seoul, where the 1988 Olympic Games were held. There has also been talk of an Indian Grand Prix, but recent reports suggest the Indian government has refused the necessary funding, deeming motor racing to be entertainment rather than true sport!

Has anyone won the F1 world championship posthumously? John Dean, Northumberland
Only one man has been crowned as the F1 world champion after his death - the Austrian Jochen Rindt , in 1970. Driving a Lotus, he won five of the first ten races of the season, and had already built a big points lead by the time he was tragically killed in a crash in practice for the Italian GP at Monza in September. Two races later it was apparent that no-one could pass his points tally, and Rindt was confirmed as champion.