• Ask Steven

It's a family affair

Steven Lynch August 12, 2011
Jacky Ickz's daugther Vanina has sadly never driven in Formula One © Sutton Images

I know there are a few sons of former F1 drivers - Damon Hill, Jacques Villeneuve to name but two - who have made it into Grand Prix racing. But are there any F1 daughters out there? asked Roy Maybank

No, there has not yet been a second-generation female driver in an F1 Grand Prix - indeed there have been very few female F1 drivers at all. Probably the closest is Vanina Ickx, the daughter of Jacky, the world championship runner-up in 1969 and 1970 - she finished seventh in the 2011 Le Mans 24 Hours, a race her father won on no fewer than six occasions.

Has there ever been an F1 team with brother drivers in it? I remember Mario Andretti and two of his sons driving at Le Mans one year! asked Harry Adair

I think the nearest approach to this in F1 was the Brazilian Copersucar-Fittipaldi team, whose original driver in 1975 was Wilson Fittipaldi: when Emerson Fittipaldi moved over from McLaren to join the team the following year Wilson gave up driving and started running the team instead. The all-Andretti assault on Le Mans was in 1988, but actually that featured Mario and his son Michael (who had a few F1 races with McLaren) and Michael's cousin John Andretti, who is the son of Mario's twin brother. They finished eighth that year. Mario raced at Le Mans eight times overall - twice more in the same car as Michael - and his best position was second (with the Frenchmen Eric Helary and Bob Wollek) in 1995. Le Mans has been won by a father and son: Louis Rosier and his son Jean-Louis in 1950.

Is it true that Force India's Paul di Resta is related to Dario Franchitti? asked James Campbell

Yes, it is true: Scotsmen Dario Franchitti and Paul di Resta are indeed cousins - although, as di Resta told The Sun in 2010, they are more like brothers: "He grew up with me, in my house, for a number of years - between the ages of 18 and 23. So I was then between five and ten. We have been very close right through." Franchitti has been very successful in the United States, where he has won the Indycar series in three of the last four seasons (and is currently leading this one). Franchitti has also won the Indianapolis 500 twice, in 2007 and 2010. Di Resta won the Formula Three Euroseries in 2006, and is the reigning German Touring Car (DTM) champion. He has made a promising start to his F1 career, scoring points in his first two races and finishing a career-best seventh in the recent Hungarian GP.

Sir Stirling Moss has won in a wider range of marques than any other driver © Getty Images
I noticed that Alain Prost has won GPs in four different makes of car. Has anyone else managed this? asked Albert Wood

Apart from Prost - who won GPs with Renault, McLaren, Ferrari and Williams cars - there are two other drivers who won in four different marques. Juan-Manuel Fangio finished first with Alfa-Romeo, Maserati, Ferrari and Mercedes-Benz - indeed he won the world championship in all four cars - while Jackie Stewart won with BRM, Matra, March and Tyrrell. But there is someone who won Grand Prix in no fewer than five different cars: Sir Stirling Moss's 16 GP victories included wins in a Mercedes-Benz (one), Maserati (two), Vanwall (six), Cooper (three) and Lotus (four). He almost made it six: Moss drove a BRM in the British GP at Aintree in 1959, and finished second!

I remember Heikki Kovalainen being a very consistent finisher early in his career - I think he made it to the end of his first 15 GPs. Has anyone else matched this? asked Ian McDonald

Actually Heikki Kovalainen finished all of his first 16 GPs, all of them in 2007. I bet he wishes his 2011 Lotus was as reliable! Kovalainen, driving a Renault, collected 30 points in those 16 races - with a best position of second in Japan - before spinning off in Brazil in the last race of his debut season. Kovalainen shares the record of finishing his first 16 races with Portugal's Tiago Monteiro: driving a Jordan, he got to the end of the first 16 races of 2005, collecting seven points, before he too hit trouble in Brazil, where his driveshaft broke with about 16 laps remaining.

You wrote in a recent column about the European GP at Donington Park in 1993. I know they weren't world championship races, but weren't there other Grands Prix at Donington before the war? asked Ken Howard

My answer a few weeks ago was referring to GPs in the Formula One world championship (since 1950) - there have been a lot of other races styled as "Grand Prix" over the years, and it would get terribly confusing to include all of them! But you're right, there were four such races held at Donington just before the Second World War. Donington Park was upgraded for serious car racing in 1933, and was emerging as a serious rival to Brooklands as a British circuit. The first Donington GP, in 1935, was won by an Alfa-Romeo driven by Richard Shuttleworth, who rejoiced in the nickname "Mad Jack". Shuttleworth was later killed in the war, but his name still survives in the impressive collection of planes and cars at the Old Warden aerodrome in Bedfordshire. Another Alfa, co-driven by Hans Reusch and Richard Seaman, won in 1936. In 1937 Bernd Rosemeyer took first place in one of the Auto-Union "Silver Arrows", while the great Tazio Nuvolari won the following year in a similar car. These races are considered by some to be the British GP for the year in question, although this is not universally accepted. It was announced in 2008 that the British GP would move to Donington in 2010 - but the financing fell through and that never happened.