Random F1 Facts and Trivia

Enjoy a random selection of titbits from the history of Formula 1.

Early Days

  • All of the top 10 oldest drivers to start a race made their debut in the 1950s.
  • After running out of fuel at the 1956 Italian Grand Prix, Moss’ teammate Piotti intentionally drove into the back of his car and physically pushed him for a half a lap so he could reach the pits. Moss went on to win the race.
  • Jack Brabham won the 1959 world championship by pushing his car (uphill!) over the line to finish 5th. He had ignored advice to add extra fuel to his car before the race.
  • F1 teams used to have odd names on a semi-regular basis. Examples from the 1970s include “Jolly Club of Switzerland” and “BS Fabrications”.
  • Japanese racer Masahiro Hasemi was initially awarded the fastest lap at the 1976 Japanese GP (his only F1 entry). This was despite the fact that he finished last, 7 laps down, and was actually overtaken on the lap the time was supposedly set. The mistake was quickly corrected in Japan, but many Western records and still featured his “achievement” decades later.
  • In the 1970s, Tyrrell produced a 6-wheeled car. It was no slouch either, winning the 1976 Swedish Grand Prix and getting 14 podiums across 2 years.
The Tyrell P34 is now iconic.

1980s

  • Nobody finished 2nd at the 1983 Brazilian Grand Prix. Reigning world champion Keke Rosberg was disqualified from second place, but for some reason none of the other runners were moved up, leaving the position officially empty.
  • John Watson has the record for winning a race from furthest back on the grid (22nd place) at the 1983 US Grand Prix. Teammate Lauda similarly tore through the field from 23rd on the grid to achieve a 1-2 finish. Even more remarkably, Watson had lapped everyone except his teammate and one other car.
Watson on his way to victory for McLaren
  • Until 1984, the Grand Prix at Silverstone happened on a Saturday, not Sunday. This was due to the local churches having concerns about the noise levels.
  • At the 1985 San Marino Grand Prix, 6 of the 11 cars running near the end of the race ran out of fuel. Thierry Boutsen claimed 2nd place after pushing his car across the line.
  • Yannick Dalmas finished 5th at the 1987 Australian Grand Prix (his only points scoring position in F1). Unfortunately he received no points because his team hadn’t officially entered his car into the championship.
  • In 1989, Ayrton Senna only failed to qualify on pole 3 times, despite being beaten to the title by teammate Prost.

1990s

  • The only person to win an F1 race in their 40s in the past 50 years is Nigel Mansell, who took his final victory at the 1994 Australian Grand Prix. The achievement was somewhat overshadowed by Schumacher and Hill’s title deciding collision earlier in the race.
  • Mika Häkkinen got pole position for the 1998 Monaco Grand Prix despite setting his time under yellow flags. His excuse that he put his hand up to acknowledge the flags (without slowing down) was somehow considered valid.
Häkkinen’s sneaky tactic would be unlikely to succeed today.
  • Michael Schumacher is the only driver to win a race whilst in the pits. He came in on the last lap of the 1998 British Grand Prix to serve a stop-go penalty, despite his pitbox being after the finish line.
Schumacher was eventually declared the winner after the penalty was withdrawn.

2000s

  • Schumacher finished on the podium in all 17 races in 2002. No other driver has managed 10 (let alone 17) consecutive podiums from the start of a season.
Schumacher celebrating his race and championship win at France 2002
  • Sebastian Vettel has the record for the shortest time to receive a penalty from the start of his career. He was penalised for speeding in the pit lane just 6 seconds after exiting the garage.
  • There are four times that a driver has netted more than 8 fastest laps in a season. On 3 of those occasions the driver did not win the championship (Häkkinen in 2000, Räikkönen in 2005 & 2008).
  • Despite the vastly increased number of points on offer since 2010, Lew Hamilton’s 2007 season is still the highest points total for a rookie (109 points).
Hamilton leading teammate Alonso in his rookie year.
  • Currently Michael Schumacher holds the record for most starts with a single constructor (Ferrari). However, Hamilton is set to break this record early in 2022 (with Mercedes).

Modern F1

  • The three youngest drivers to start a race are all on the 2021 grid (Verstappen, Stroll and Norris).
  • Similarly, the 6 youngest pole sitters are all on the current grid (Vettel, LeClerc, Alonso, Verstappen, Norris and Stroll).
  • Sergio Pérez has never qualified on pole, despite starting in over 200 Grand Prix. He also holds the record for most F1 races before his first victory (190 races).
Pérez finally breaking his duck in Bahrain last year.
  • Lewis Hamilton holds many F1 records, including one for the most continued race starts. His run of 256 race starts was finally interrupted when he tested positive for COVID-19 in 2020.
  • 2021 has had more red flags (5) than any other season of F1.
  • Max Verstappen currently holds the record for most GP wins without a title (17). Stirling Moss will regain this record if Verstappen becomes world champion. He previously lost the record to Nico Rosberg before regaining it again in 2016.
  • The number of points scored by drivers since 2010 is higher than the total in the previous 6 decades of F1 combined.

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