• Ask Steven

One record Schumacher doesn't hold ...

Steven Lynch September 30, 2011
Juan Manuel Fangio scored points at 43 of his 52 grands prix © Sutton Images

I spotted that Juan Manuel Fangio finished in the points in an awfully large percentage of his races - something like 40 out of 52. Is this a record? asked Gerry Field

The great Juan Manuel Fangio actually collected points in 43 of his 52 GPs, or 82.7%. That is indeed a record for anyone taking part in more than seven races (Fangio's contemporary Luigi Fagioli scored points in six of his seven GPs, or 85.7%). Fangio was helped a little by the rules as they stood in his day, which allowed a senior driver to take over another car if his was forced to retire, but nonetheless his record is remarkable. In second place overall is Lewis Hamilton, who has finished in the points in exactly three-quarters (75%) of his races - 63 out of 84. He's just ahead of Michael Schumacher, with 74.5% (210 points finishes out of 282). These two, of course, benefit from the modern system which awards points down to tenth place - in Fangio's day it was sixth.

I was watching a Formula Renault 3.5 race on TV the other day, and Daniel Ricciardo did well in it. How rare is it for an F1 driver to participate in non-F1 races? asked John Cameron

It's very rare these days, as the F1 calendar is so crowded and the drivers' commitments are huge. The Australian driver Daniel Ricciardo is a rather special case, as he was parachuted in to the HRT team in mid-season, so was already taking part in other races: he's trying to fit those commitments in when he can now. Until the 1970s, when the number of GPs each year started mushrooming, it was very common to find established F1 drivers turning up in other races. Jim Clark was famously killed in 1968 while taking part in a Formula 2 race in Hockenheim.

Who was the first man to win a grand prix in a turbocharged car? asked George Varley

The first turbocharged car to win a world championship Grand Prix was a Renault, in 1979, fittingly enough at the French GP at Dijon: and the driver was French too, Jean-Pierre Jabouille. Rene Arnoux, in the other Renault, was third after a thrilling battle with Gilles Villeneuve to complete a great day for the French team, which had introduced the concept of turbocharged engines to F1 in 1977. As speeds - and costs - rose, turbocharged engines were finally banned from Formula One in 1989. Jabouille won one more race for Renault in 1980 before being replaced by Alain Prost, who had even more success, winning nine races: Arnoux won four. Renault left F1 after the 1985 season, returning in 2002.

I try to keep tabs on the "also-ran" cars which enliven the back of the grid. What's the best position any of the three newish teams have managed in 2011 - I know they haven't scored any points!? asked Bob Miller

The three teams I assume you're referring to are HRT, Lotus and Virgin. The best finishing position any of them has achieved in 2011 is 13th, which the Lotuses have managed on three occasions and HRT once. Jarno Trulli finished 13th in the Lotus in Bahrain and Monaco, while Heikki Kovalainen finished 13th at Monza; Tonio Liuzzi finished 13th in the HRT in Canada. The Virgin's best this season has been a couple of 14th positions, by Jerome d'Ambrosio in Bahrain and Turkey. The best any of them managed last year (the first season for all three teams) was Kovalainen's 12th in Japan. In 2010 the rival owners of Lotus and Virgin, Tony Fernandes and Richard Branson, had a bet on whose team would do better: the loser had to serve as a flight attendant on the other's airline (Fernandes owns Air Asia). Virgin - and Branson - lost. I'm not sure if there's a similar challenge on this year!

Antonio 'Jungle Boy' Pizzonia holding a slide at his home race in 2003 © Sutton Images
Which driver is (or was) nicknamed "Jungle Boy"? asked Brett Barnes

The man with this unusual nickname is the Brazilian driver Antonio Pizzonia, who drove in F1 for Jaguar in 2003, and Williams in some races in 2004 and 2005. His best finish was seventh, which he managed four times - three times in his four starts for Williams in 2004, and once again for them the following year. Pizzonia was apparently dubbed "Jungle Boy" because he hails from the huge forest-covered Amazonas state in the north-west of Brazil. After trying single-seater racing in the United States, Pizzonia was last heard of racing stock cars at home in Brazil.

Toro Rosso have won one Grand Prix. How many other constructors have had just one success? asked Charles Barford

Toro Rosso's sole GP success to date was also the first win for Sebastian Vettel, at Monza in 2008. It tweaked the noses of Toro Rosso's sister team, Red Bull, which hadn't won a race at the tine (although they have made up for it now!). Excluding American cars which won the Indianapolis 500 when it formed part of the world championship (1950-59), seven other makes of car have won a solitary GP. Porsche, driven by Dan Gurney won the 1962 French GP; Gurney also piloted the Eagle to its only victory, in Belgium in 1967. James Hunt drove the Hesketh to its only victory in the 1975 Dutch GP, while in 1976 John Watson recorded Penske's only F1 success, in Austria. The Osterreichring saw another one-off victory the following year, when Alan Jones won in a Shadow. A Stewart, driven by Johnny Herbert, won the 1999 European GP at the Nurburgring, while the last one-off victory to date other than Toro Rosso's came in 2008, when Robert Kubica led home a BMW Sauber 1-2 at the Canadian GP.