Archive for June, 2010

The Sorry Spaniard

June 30, 2010

I read this story on Autosport. It describes Fernando Alonso as apologising for his “manipulation” comments after the events of Valencia. In the quotes they provided, I did not spot an actual apology but it certainly was a very significant climb-down.

The English version of the Ferrari driver diary is here. I do find these blog entries on the Ferrari site to be amusing because it is so obvious the drivers do not write them. In the Räikkönen era especially it was so blatantly evident that his lengthy, positive, team-affirming statements quoted on the site were the work of a PR employee writing what they wanted him to say. What I wonder with this Alonso u-turn is if he would have been as surprised reading it as we were.

Many have suggested that in Mosley’s day, a driver making allegations against FIA, as Alonso did last weekend, would have been in trouble. With Max, he would have made a public issue of it, and required public humiliation of the perpetrator. The sulky Spaniard is not a man to back down and Ferrari are officially furious. A statement on the Ferrari web-site called it a “scandal”, accompanied by strong public criticism on the subject from both Luca di Montezemolo and Stefano Domenicali. The only reason I can see for this placatory piece is because Jean Todt intervened requiring a public withdrawal of Alonso’s accusation that FIA rigged the result, with the FIA boss, unlike his predecessor, preferring to deal with it behind the scenes. Thus the Ferrari PR people wrote what was required on Alonso’s behalf. The following is a paragraph towards the end of “Alonso’s” statement. Decide for yourself if it sounds like Fernando dictated it, or is more likely something written by the PR department to assuage FIA.

“One of the most important aspects of everything that happened on Sunday is the fact that Mark Webber emerged almost completely unhurt from an accident that was as spectacular as it was frightening. It proves once again that the work led by the FIA in terms of safety is absolutely vital and it is clear that one should never get complacent about this element of the sport.”

Flavio Briatori was also critical on the same issue saying Hamilton should have been black-flagged – keeping the high moral ground as ever!

What’s The Points – Valencia Update

June 30, 2010

Previous entries:

    What’s The Points
    What’s The Points – China Update
    What’s The Points – Spain Update
    What’s The Points – Monaco Update
    What’s The Points – Turkey Update
    What’s The Points – Canada Update

Below is a comparison of the World Championship positions for this year’s points (left), last year’s points-system (middle) and the older 10-6-4-3-2-1 approach (right). Ties are decided by countback.

1   Hamilton   127   Hamilton   52   Hamilton   40
2   Button   121   Button   49   Button   38
3   Vettel   115   Vettel   47   Vettel   37
4      Webber   103      Webber   40      Webber   32
5   Alonso   98   Alonso   39   Alonso   27
6   Kubica   83   Kubica   33   Kubica   18
7   Rosberg   75   Rosberg   29   Rosberg   15
8   Massa   67   Massa   26   Massa   14
9   Schumacher   34   Schumacher   13   Schumacher   7
10   Sutil   31   Sutil   10   Barrichello   3

As is probably to be expected in a season when the results have been shared around, all scoring systems are giving much the same picture.

Alonso has fallen more than a win behind the leader in all three schemes. Fernando is making Massa look a bit ordinary, and neither are making this year’s Ferrari look extraordinary. Some suggest Felipe is still recovering from his accident which he vehemently denies, as he would if still effected or not. Mark Webber failed to score real points, his retirement being the first time this season he did not finish top-nine. Kubica has jumped ahead of Rosberg.

Barrichello’s fourth place makes him only the eleventh driver this season to finish top-six, displacing Sutil from tenth under 10-6-4-3-2-1. Sutil finished sixth in the race, also putting him up to 3 points under the old-time scoring, but Rubens obviously has the highest outright finish.

These are the points if given to engines:

1   Mercedes   400
2   Renault   307
3   Ferrari   182
4   Cosworth   20

Renault needed more help from Webber. Barrichello’s fourth more than doubled Cosworth’s score.

The top six scores by nationality of drivers are:

   Nation Points   Scoring
1   Germany   256     5
2   Britain   248     2
3   Australia   103     1
4   Spain   101     2
5   Brazil   86     2
6   Poland   83     1

The McLaren Brits totalled 33 with 2nd and 3rd, but Vettel first, Sutil 6th, and Rosberg 10th made 34. Massa did not score but Barrichello kept Brazil in 5th.

See also RG’s Valencia update for his championship for new teams.

Valencia Snippets

June 27, 2010

Congratulations to Lotus Racing on their ninth race. Not only are they not Team Lotus but even their connection to Group Lotus (who make the road-cars) seems tenuous. I do not want to seem too disparaging as they look to be the most promising of the new teams, with no reason why the years should not bring success. Statistically, I do not think their figures should be lumped together with those for Team Lotus anymore than would happen with the two entirely separate ATS teams (one a 1963 spin-off of disgruntled ex-Ferrari personnel including Phil Hill, and the other racing in F1 from 1978 to 1984 to promote the German wheel-manufacturer that owned the team). Lotus Racing are not the first to re-use the Lotus name to aid sponsorship. The descent of the once great Team Lotus to its F1-extinction after the 1994 season was itself ignominious enough. The Pacific team had entered F1 in 1994, and despite success in every other series they had contested, notched up 22 DNQs, 3 DNSs, and 7 DNFs. In 1995, they did a deal to become, “Pacific Team Lotus”, in the hope it would generate income; they were out of business by 1996.

Johnny Herbert had signed a five-year contract with Team Lotus, racing for them from 1991 to face the years of their decline. Flavio Briatori was running Benetton, and owned 85% of Ligier, when Lotus sold Herbert’s contract to him as a late act of financial desperation. Johnny switched to driving for Ligier for the European GP at Jerez, before switching the next race to Benetton to partner Michael Schumacher for the last two rounds, through to the end of 1995. The deal was done with such haste that Frenchman, Éric Bernard, only found out he was out of his drive after arriving at the Spanish circuit. However, Lotus had not had time to find a replacement, so Bernard, in what proved to be his last F1 race, unexpectedly found himself subbing for the Norwich team, explaining to the media that they were very nice to him.

Anyone reading my first entry on this web-log will know I fall into the anti-Schumacher camp, but may remember I argued against his penalty in Monaco, also making the case that even if guilty the penalty was excessive, so I hope I can be objective. I have always felt Herr Schumacher’s career statistics are better than his outright ability, that his five consecutive titles had much to do with the cars he was given along with a team so very focused around his cause. Conversely, when a couple of World Championships went the way of Renault’s Alonso, I thought it was more to do with performance difference in cars than drivers. When Schumacher’s return with Mercedes was declared, even if he might just be that bit past his best, I predicted he would be competitive, and even as poor results came in, hesitated to write him off without more time to settle in. Today, he finished sixteenth, which is his worst ever classified finish in F1. This result had much to do with safety-car bad luck and Mercedes continuing to fall off the pace. Tyre issues are cited, but aerodynamic downforce, mechanical grip, power, and braking all translate through the tyres, so if they have difficulties working the tyres then they have car problems. Michael has had half-a-season to impose his form and it is looking bleak. Martin Brundle suggested he is over-driving, but then to some extent that used to be the German’s style. More damning was Antony Davidson pointing out in free practice that Schumacher kept hitting the rev-limiter, which race-footage again showed. Drivers even get a dash-indicator to tell them when to flick up a gear, and if a seven-time champion can not manage that, he is not up to the job.

I am inclined to put the blame on Mark Webber for his accident with Kovalainen’s Lotus. He was gracious enough to not blame Heikki but was surprised at the Lotus braking forty metres earlier than he expected. Watching Mark’s in-car footage, he was already approaching the car in front towards a braking zone so quickly it was difficult to envisage where he planned to go if not into it. He pointed out himself a bit more caution would have been wiser. The Australian had already fluffed the start, has had a fast car all season, and as I commented in the last snippets, has had the reliability Vettel has not had, but Webber just keeps intercutting very strong performances with weak weekends too often to assemble a proper run at the title.

The more cynical thought Kamui Kobayashi’s performances in the last two races of last season a bit too good to be true. Firstly, Glock really did not seem to be that badly injured, and the conspiracy theorists suggested Toyota were doing something untoward to give Kamui a more competitive car in a risk-all, last-ditch attempt to dissuade the Japanese paymasters from axing the team by having a home driver doing well. To begin with, I did not subscribe to this as his moves scything past regarded drivers would have been impressive in any car, besides finding an unfair performance advantage without being caught required a level of initiative not associated with the Toyota team. Previously, this season, the Japanese driver’s indifferent performances were making me think there had been something fishy after all, until today. Kobayashi significantly out-paced his team-mate keeping up with the front-runners, and after the stop then muscled his way past two cars in the closing laps. Where has he been since last year? At the risk of being nationalist, there does seem to be a trend amongst Japanese drivers of banging in impressive performances only to have their talents go into hibernation for extended periods. Takumo Sato put in a complete year of rubbish at Honda, mixing accidents with slow performances, between earlier promise for the team and showing much more form at Super Aguri. Also, Nakijima was never super-impressive, but the talent he did have took a holiday last season, apart from one race when not finishing second was no fault of his own.

Misery-guts Alonso did get on my nerves. He had a point about Hamilton essentially getting away with over-taking the medical car but also manages to believe there was nothing undeserving about his Singapore win in 2008. I would love to have been a fly on the wall when he was told the nine drivers punished for exceeding their delta-times were given mere five-second penalties. It is obviously very difficult for the stewards and race-director to be on top of everything with such a plethora of information from a high-speed event, but surely there are ways to streamline this? One would think that a computer could be programmed to automatically log the aforementioned safety-car period violations. With modern telecommunications, a group of assigned observers based anywhere in the developed world could sort through data and video-footage, not making decisions but quickly assembling the relevent evidence for the decision-makers to judge on. Where the heck did these five-second penalties come from? Previous information, such as after Monaco, was that the only available punishment post-race was a drive-through translated into a 25-second penalty.

After Button’s wins earlier this season, Lewis made a comment that Jenson’s approach was giving him easier results whilst he was doing it the hard way, and needed to take that on board. Hamilton has since led two McLaren one-twos and does seem to have hemmed in his naturally aggressive approach. Today, it did not pay. His first-lap attempt to pass Vettel seemed indecisive, the sort of move to either totally go for it or do not, whereas Lewis went half up the inside and unsurprisingly was chopped. His hesitation over if to pass the medical car caused the offence. If he had kept his foot in, he would have reached the relevent line first. Back in 2007 when rookie, Hamilton, was given the drive at McLaren, he told how it was conditional on 1000 hours on the simulator, a heavy gym regime, and learning all the rules thoroughly. He really should have known the rule without thinking to push for the line without hesitation, ready to fall back straight away if not over it soon enough.

Sebastian Vettel has to be favourite for the title. All his major point-sapping problems have been one-off sort of things that he has just had a bad run of. McLaren will have the blown diffuser by Silverstone but Red Bull have the F-duct. Last season, RBR started without the double-diffuser but Adrian Newey embraced the technology very successfully for later in the season. I suspect he will also make best use of the blown-rear-wing concept. Today’s win is the tenth for the RBR team, their first only being China last year.

I was thinking of writing about the blown diffusers but Scarabf1 has written about it better than I could have here.

I do wish the people on the BBC would remember they are doing an F1 programme, not a soccerball show. I am not happy about England losing. I had planned to bet on them going out in the quarter-finals like they usually do.

Two Out Of Three Is Bad

June 25, 2010

I was reading the May edition of Motorsport magazine, which was the 60th F1 World Championship anniversary edition. It included a quote from Jackie Stewart, “Keep in mind the statistics at the time, between ’68 and ’73 for example, provided a driver like myself with a one-in-three chance of living and a two-in-three chance of being killed.” I have heard and read statistics for that period of that shocking nature before, and wondered how they calculated them, and how accurate the figures were. Thus this quote has persuaded me to do my own analysis.

The first thing is to compile a list of drivers that were regular competitors in Formula One from 1968 to 1973. I have excluded, for example, Jack Brabham and John Surtees as both retired before the end of this period. I have also excluded Jo Schlesser, killed in the early laps of the wet 1968 French GP in the experimental air-cooled Honda, as he was not a regular F1 driver, his only earlier starts being in the F2 class in ’66 and ’67 at the German GPs at the Nürburgring. Drivers that joined anything but soon after the start of ’68 have also not been included. This leaves me with a list of eighteen drivers who either competed throughout these six years, or might have if not killed or injured.

Jim Clark  Clark was killed in a wet F2 race at Hockenheim on the 7th April, 1968. He had already won the opening GP in South Africa plus the last two of the 1967 season with Lotus.

Jochen Rindt  Austrian, Rindt had won five rounds with Lotus-Ford in the 1970 World Championship when he was killed in practice for the Italian GP on the 5th September, 1970. The 45 points this gave him, despite missing the last four events, were still enough to win the title, making him F1’s only posthumous champion.

Mike Spence  After Clark’s death in April, Spence took over his Lotus for the Indianapolis 500. The Englishman was killed when he took a team-mate’s car out for a few shakedown laps, losing control and hitting the wall. He died a few days later on the 7th May, 1968.

Jackie Ickx  Ickx raced in F1 from 1967 to 1979 with eight wins and 2nd in the title-chase in ’69 and ’70. He retired from sportscar racing in 1985 having won six times at Le Mans. His worst accident was in an Ensign in the 1976 USA GP when he hurt his ankles and legs.

Chris Amon  The New Zealand driver famed in F1 history for how many times he led WC races only for something to go wrong, drove in F1 from 1963 to 1976.

Graham Hill  Norman Graham Hill drove in F1 from 1958 to 1975. A very bad crash at the 1969 USA GP in a Lotus-Ford mangled his legs, such that his return to F1 was an amazing achievement, but he was never to return to full competitiveness. He died in November, 1975, crashing the plane he was attempting to land in foggy conditions.

Jo Siffert  Siffert was killed on the 24th October, 1971, in the last non-Championship F1 race of the year, the Rothmans Victory Race at Brands Hatch. His front suspension was damaged in a first lap incident and later failed, throwing his car into a bank. The Swiss driver was trapped in the wreckage and asphyxiated from the fire. This lead to on-board fire extinguishers becoming mandatory, as well as an emergency piped-air supply for drivers.

Bruce McLaren  Killed on the 2nd June, 1970, testing a McLaren Can-Am car at Goodwood. The New Zealander’s last F1 WC win, at the 1968 Belgium GP, was the first F1 WC victory for a McLaren car.

Jo Bonnier  The Swedish driver was killed driving a yellow Lola in the 1972 Le Mans 24 Hours on the 11th June.

Jackie Stewart  Stewart drove in 99 F1 WC races, from 1965 to 1973, winning 27 rounds and three titles. He withdrew from his last event, the USA GP, after the death of his Tyrrell team-mate, François Cevert (not included in this list as his F1 career began in 1970). In the 1966 Belgium GP, a first lap crash saw him trapped in his car soaked in fuel, after which he became an outspoken safety campaigner.

Denny Hulme  He raced in F1 from 1965 to 1974. In 1970, his team-mate, friend and fellow Kiwi, Bruce McLaren, was killed, and Hulme had his hands and feet badly burned after an accident in practice for the Indianapolis 500. Subsequently, he toned down his aggressive approach unless victory was in the offing. He took to Australian touring cars in the 1980s, suffering a heart attack during the 1992 Bathurst 1000. Denny was able to pull the car over but died before reaching hospital.

Chris Irwin  In May of 1968, London-born driver, Irwin, lost control of the unpredictable Ford P68 sports prototype avoiding a hare in practice for the 1000km Nürburgring. He suffered horrific head injuries and never drove again. He was disfigured and lost his memory of his family life before the accident. Chris broke up with his wife, disappearing from his family and any racing connections, only re-emerging slightly in recent years. Irwin made an appearance at Thruxton’s 40th anniversary celebrations in April 2008, giving a short interview to Motorsport magazine.

Ludovico Scarfiotti  The Italian had been driving in F1 since 1963. Scarfiotti was killed on the 8th of June, 1968, at a hillclimb event in the German Alps.

Jean-Pierre Beltoise  This Paris-born driver won eleven national motorcycle titles before his F1 career from 1966 to 1974. Beltoise then raced in French touring cars until the ‘eighties. He still ice-races. He had a horrible crash at the 1964 Reims 12-hour race, breaking his arms and legs in sixteen places, with the result that movement in one of his arms was thereafter restricted.

Pedro Rodríguez  One of two racing brothers, Ricardo was killed in the non-championship 1962 Mexican GP. Pedro died in an Interserie sportscar race at the Norisring, Germany, on 11 July 1971, driving a Ferrari.

Piers Courage  Eton-educated Courage lost his life on the 21st June, 1970, at the wheel of a Frank Williams-entered De Tomaso, crashing in the Dutch GP at Zandvoort. With magnesium parts, the car burned so fiercely that nearby trees were incinerated but his death was probably due to being hit by a wheel during the impact.

Jackie Oliver  Jackie drove in F1 from 1967 to 1973 and in 1977. He won Le Mans and the Can-Am championship, but is probably best known for running the Arrows team for many years.

Lucien Bianchi  The Belgium had driven in F1, 1959 to 1965, returning with a regular drive for most races in 1968 with Cooper. He had a fatal accident in an Alfa Romeo in testing for Le Mans in March, 1969.

Others that were occasional F1 drivers or became regulars during this period were also killed. Schlesser’s death on 7th July, 1968, has already been mentioned. Moisés Solana competed in six Mexico GPs and two USA GPs from 1963 to 1968, dieing in July, 1969, in a hill-climb. Italian, Ignazio Giunti did four races for Ferrari in 1970, driving a Maranello machine when cut down in January, 1971, in the 1000 km Buenos Aires. Roger Williamson was killed at Zandvoort in July, 1973, in only the Brit’s second GP for March. Cervert was killed at Watkins Glen at the last round of ’73.

This all amounts to a depressing catalogue of death and injury. Oddly, no one on the list survived the period in question to be killed in a racing-car accident later. Out of eighteen drivers, ten died in accidents, and Irwin had such a bad crash he never raced again, whilst Hill was never fully competitive again. Not quite a two-thirds fatality rate but most drivers would have raced for more than six years, so it stands as a representative figure (not driving for Lotus improved the odds). Of course, not all the tragedies were in F1-cars, but in those days racing in other disciplines was part of the career plan, and probably the contract. Three on the list died in F1 cars in this period, plus three not on the list. The worst spell was April to July, 1968, when Clark, Spence, Scarfiotti, and Schlesser were lost, as well as Irwin’s terrible smash. McLaren and Courage both lost their lives in June, 1970.

Certainly, this was one of Formula One’s most dangerous times, as was ’57 to ’60. For 1961 to 1965, F1 engines were lower powered 1·5 litre capacity, and many teams struggled to find suitable three-litre units in ’66 and ’67 before the Ford Cosworth DFV became available to all. Nine drivers were killed in F1-related accidents 1974 to 1982, which averages out at one a year, so safety improvements were pegging the increases in speed. The introduction of carbon-fibre and safety improvements after 1982, when Gilles Villeneuve and Riccardo Paletti were killed as well as Didier Pironi suffering career-ending leg-injuries, made a big difference. Subsequently, Elio de Angelis’s demise, testing for Brabham in ’86, was the only fatality until the fateful weekend in May 1994, when Roland Ratzenberger and Ayrton Senna died at Imola. That was sixteen years ago and safety has improved much since then, but the death of Henry Surtees in F2, and Felipe Massa’s near-miss last year in Hungary, show us the next driver-fatality is only a matter of time and bad luck.

Huge credit must go to Jackie Stewart for campaigning for an end to often senseless and avoidable deaths in a time when many criticised him thinking danger was part of the show, and that no one was forcing drivers to drive. It took bravery to race, and it took bravery to speak out even if called a coward. Much as it pains me to admit it, Max Mosley did much to improve safety, but only after the deaths of Ratzenberger and Senna, followed by Wendlinger’s life-threatening crash at Monaco a fortnight later, made the issue so obvious. The question is has safety gone too far? I certainly do not want F1 returned to a blood-sport but the acres of run-off we see today are too forgiving. It is good to see races like Monaco or Suzuka where drivers making mistakes result in a damaged or stranded car, not just a quick detour over a car-park’s worth of asphalt. Jacques Villeneuve was castigated for complaining about the over-reaction to Olivier Panis breaking his legs at Montreal in 1997, pointing out people break their legs skiing. (Panis was asked about this when he became Villeneuve’s team-mate at BAR and pointed out that when he was in hospital, the only driver to phone him to ask how he was doing was Villeneuve.)

The incident that enraged me was that after Kubica’s violent Canada crash in 2007, he traveled two weeks later to Indianapolis, was medically examined, given the all-clear, and he was still told that he could not race! Why the hell did they have him go all that way to be examined if however well he seemed, he was still not to be excluded? Surely, the logical extension of being that precautionary is no one races? Even if it makes me sound like an old fart, I do not want F1 drivers, or any adult, subjected to that level of nannying.

In short, I think Formula One should be a little bit dangerous. Drivers should not risk their lives going flat-out through a turn anyone in the field can do without lifting, but the calendar should feature a few challenging corners that thrill drivers and viewers, like Eau Rouge used to. I very much approve of the water-filled barriers at Singapore that greatly reduce the impact of a crash, but still punish drivers for mistakes, and allow spectators to be closer to the action. (For years they used tyre-barriers as old tyres were cheap and plentiful. Last century, they did a study to find something better, and discovered tyres were about as good as anything else they could think of.) I dread how sterile safety in Formula One might become if the next terrible accident is seen by millions. Think of the children watching!

The Wisdom of FIA

June 25, 2010

So FIA in their almighty wisdom have decided to fine US F1 and ban them. Only when I saw a feature on a cooking show with Janet Street Porter looking to sell horse-steaks to punters on their way to a race meeting has the phrase, “Flogging a dead horse.”, seemed so clangingly obvious. Indeed, the horse has been turned into dog-food meat, its bones used to make glue, and still FIA are looking to administer the beating. After Max Mosley’s defeat to FOTA, Ari Vatanen talked about a more conciliatory approach whilst Jean Todt seemed to suggest he thought Mosley had been too soft. So far, Todt has done little to show his hand, being popular for not being Mosley, and not having the need to squawk about being right at any opportunity. Does he think punishing US F1 will persuade future potential F1 teams to try harder?

Bearing in mind the team is defunct, it was interesting there were US F1 representatives present at the hearing. They complained about the budget-cap being scrapped, although the team was announced before the budget-cap was. They argued Bernie Ecclestone’s negative comments had damaged their search for sponsors, but when those comments were made there was already no chance that they had time to design and build cars before Bahrain. The team had proclaimed they had funding in place. When they admitted failure, it was stated everything was fine until in January the sponsor pulled out. A sponsor in motor-racing does not count until the contract is signed and sealed. Obviously, this was not the case for if it was they would have the money or someone to sue. A lot of statements that came out of US F1 subsequently did not bear scrutiny. Did they ever have a sponsor at all, or at best did negotiations with their last hope collapse in January? Was it not part of the FIA selection process to check if the new teams had suitable funding? Perhaps they should fine themselves to complete the nonsense.

I do not understand why FIA make life so difficult for new teams. Why not let anyone half-reasonable have a go? If they can not qualify top twenty-six or within 107% they do not race, and exclude them from qualification if on Friday they fail to achieve 110%.

FIA have added movable rear-wings to the movable front-wings to aid overtaking. Oppinions seem to vary between it will be unhelpful, as seems to have been the case with the movable front wings, to it will be too helpful, creating artificial overtaking. With double diffusers to be banned, and the return of KERS, it may be an unnecessary complication. FOTA wanted KERS to be given more capacity in it’s allowed usage on a lap. The problem in 2009 was the amount of energy the systems could return to the back wheels in a lap was marginal on justifying the weight and packaging issues involved. FIA have increased the minimum weight-limit but the packaging issue will be even more tricky with fuel-tanks about three times larger. Formula One needs sponsors who need a green angle to justify involvement, even if it is PR-tokenism. If most teams abandoned the concept in ’09 as more trouble than it was worth, why on earth have FIA not increased the KERS allowance, as FOTA asked, for to encourage its use in 2011?

Canada Snippets

June 20, 2010

That was a very decent race. Recent news is Bridgestone want to try to recreate the degradation problems, in the name of good racing, by the compounds allocated to races later in the season. I hugely applaud that they are willing to risk being seen to supply bad tyres when their commercial aim is to persuade the buying public of the opposite, but I fear on other tracks the tyres will last anyway.

With Sébastien Buemi leading at the end of lap 14, by dint of staying out of the pits for longer than everyone in front, he became the first Swiss driver to lead a Grand Prix since Clay Regazzoni at the 1979 British Grand Prix. That race at Silverstone marked the very first win for the Williams team, with Alan Jones leading until his water pump failed, giving victory to his team-mate. It was Regazzoni’s last win after four earlier victories for Ferrari. In 1980, he was paralysed from the waist down after a crash in an Ensign at Long Beach.

It was the second race in a row that Hamilton led Button home. The last time there were two consecutive 1-2s for British drivers (or indeed for drivers of any single nation) was in 1999. David Coulthard (McLaren-Mercedes) beat Eddie Irvine (Ferrari) to second at the British Grand Prix, with Irvine besting Coulthard the following race in Austria. The last English one-two before this season was Monaco 1968, when Graham Hill, in a Lotus-Ford Cosworth, beat Richard Attwood’s BRM.

The Canadian result also puts the McLaren drivers first and second in the title-chase. McLaren were last in this enviable position after the China Grand Prix in 2007, with Hamilton ahead of Alonso, before Räikkönen pinched the title in Brazil. We have to go back to 1969 for the previous time British drivers were first and second in the points-standing. Jackie Stewart (Matra-Ford Cosworth) dominated the season giving him his first of three titles, but otherwise it was a very open year. Graham Hill for Lotus finished second to Stewart at the first race in South Africa, and won the third in Monaco (his last F1 WC podium). This gave him enough points to hang on to second for Holland and France, before Bruce McLaren overhauled him in Britain. It was that year in the USA GP that Hill had the accident that smashed his legs, from which he never fully recovered.

Many of us were puzzling why Red Bull left Webber out for so long, allowing a decent lead to vanish, and only having him come in for new boots after Lewis had caught and passed him. Mark was always going to come out behind the two McLarens, Alonso and Vettel, but why wait until pitting put him too far back to attempt to catch them? My reading was to have him stay out until his tyres had gone off a bit, but not until he was losing time hand over fist. Then he could come out not too far behind the leaders with considerably fresher tyres for the end of a tyre-abrasive race, possibly even to be helped by a late safety-car. However, we remember what happened to the Red Bulls in Turkey. I wonder if RBR really did not want Webber coming out on better tyres, not far behind Vettel. I doubt they were overtly concerned about Mark beating Sebastian to fourth, but just prefered to avoid another potential internecine dog-fight.

For those that do not know, “The Wall of Champions”, was christened thus after the 1999 Canadian GP. In the race, World Champions Ricardo Zonta (BAR), Damon Hill (Jordan), Michael Schumacher (Ferrari) and Jacques Villeneuve (BAR) all retired from the race after hitting that wall. Zonta, with Klaus Ludwig (AMG Mercedes), had won the 1998 FIA GT World Championship. The reigning F1, and only other, World Champion, Mika Hakkinen, went and spoilt it by winning the race.

What’s The Points – Canada Update

June 20, 2010

(I have purchased a replacement computer. Heaven knows how many hours I have taken, and still need to take to get it how the last one was. I installed my old hard-drive into the new PC as a secondary drive to transfer my files, only to be denied access to them as I had used a password on my last machine! By the time I had worked out how to hack my own hard-drive, and gone through a very laborious process to do so, that was half-a-day lost. So sorry for being a week late.)

Previous entries:

    What’s The Points
    What’s The Points – China Update
    What’s The Points – Spain Update
    What’s The Points – Monaco Update
    What’s The Points – Turkey Update

Below is a comparison of the World Championship positions for this year’s points (left), last year’s points-system (middle) and the older 10-6-4-3-2-1 approach (right). Ties are decided by countback.

1   Hamilton   109   Hamilton   44   Button   34
2   Button   106   Button   43   Hamilton   34
3   Webber   103   Webber   40   Webber   32
4      Alonso   94      Alonso   38      Alonso   27
5   Vettel   90   Vettel   37   Vettel   27
6   Rosberg   74   Kubica   29   Kubica   16
7   Kubica   73   Rosberg   29   Rosberg   15
8   Massa   67   Massa   26   Massa   14
9   Schumacher   34   Schumacher   13   Schumacher   7
10   Sutil   23   Sutil   7   Sutil   2

The positions under all points-systems are similar, including that the top-five are separated by less than the points for a win. Hamilton’s second win in two races has him join Jenson and Mark on two victories. Webber drops from first to third in all three systems with the McLaren drivers 1-2 all round.

Nico Rosberg gains a position by this year’s points. He seems a very consistent driver, although it is difficult to tell if that is consistent-good or consistent-mediocre. Apart from thirteenth after a troubled race in Spain, Nico has finished 3rd to 7th in every other race. Last season, there were six winners and thirteen drivers that managed podiums. Rosberg had eight finishes in 4th, 5th or 6th, all the other races he was 8th or worse, and was seventh in points at the end of the season. Of course, his team-mate, Michael Schumacher, is an uncertain benchmark. In his debut season at Williams, Rosberg was partnered with Mark Webber, getting four points to the Australian’s seven, which is not that indicative either. It will be interesting if finally we see Rosberg in a fast team against an established talent.

Massa fell back with his fifteenth place. This is the first time this season he has finished outside the top nine. Webber remains the only driver to have scored every race this season with ninth or better. Red Bull have been fastest most the season and Mark has had the reliability, but poor performances in the first two GPs have let him down.

These are the points if given to engines:

1   Mercedes   358
2   Renault   272
3   Ferrari   170
4   Cosworth   8

McLaren beat RBR with Mercedes having Rosberg and both Force Indias also in the points. Kubica managed seventh for Renault but Petrov had a stinker. Fernando made the podium and Buemi contributed 4 points with a season-best eighth but Ferrari are blighted by two weak customer teams. Cosworth did not get any points.

The top six scores by nationality of drivers are:

   Nation Points   Scoring
1   Germany   222     5
2   Britain   215     2
3   Australia   103     1
4   Spain   97     2
5   Brazil   74     2
6   Poland   73     1

With Vettel, Rosberg and Schumacher, plus Sutil and Hulkenberg chipping in, Germany looked to be strong in this competition, but a second consecutive British one-two has slashed the lead by 22 points to just seven. Brazil look under danger from Poland with Massa and Barrichello both having a bad time in Canada.

See also RG’s Canada update for his championship for new teams.

Broken Computer

June 16, 2010

One does not need to be a computer expert to know that if half-an-hour after switching off the PC for the night, there is a loud bang and a flash from the back, it is not a good sign. Having failed to fix it, I should have a new machine, and be connected by the end of the week but apologies for my absense until then.

Kimi Räikkönen to Louis Chiron

June 12, 2010

(Addendum: It is red-faced I have to correct this entry with the information that Kimi Räikkönen was not the first driver to score World Championship points in both Formula One and Rallying, Carlos Reutemann was. I cast my eye down all the WRC driver-points lists from 1979 onwards looking for familiar F1-names, so that I missed Carlos not once but twice is very embarrassing. Carlos Reutemann, from Argentina, raced in Formula One from 1972 to 1982. He drove for Brabham, Ferrari, Lotus and Williams, winning 12 Grands Prix, beaten by a single point by Nelson Piquet for the 1981 World Championship. He entered just two rounds of the WRC, the 1980 Rally Argentina in a Fiat 131 Abarth, and the 1985 Rally Argentina in a Peugeot 205, very impressively finishing third in both, so remains the only driver with podiums in F1 and WRC. I include a longer profile of Reutemann here, with this link also at the end of this entry.)

It came to my attention that Kimi Räikkönen scored a point in the Portugal round of the World Rally Championship. Because of a predictions competition I play in, I was aware he had stopped finding bits of scenery to collide with to put in some finishes, and with the paucity of WRC-class entries had been finishing top-ten in recent events contested, even if still some way off the pace of the top runners. None the less, it did not click he had scored points, for 8th in Jordan and 5th in Turkey, or I probably would have written this sooner. (The top class of the World Rally Championship (WRC) is confusingly World Rally Cars (WRC). FIA in their infinite wisdom…)

This makes Kimi Räikkönen the only driver in history to score points in both the Formula One World Championship and the World Rally Championship. Time will tell if he can be the first to win events in both. If he does not return to F1, it is looking as if he will need seasons to possibly make it as a top driver in WRC, and I wonder if he will be given that much patience at the top level.

The World Rally Championship was only a manufacturers’ championship until for its seventh season, in 1979, the World Rally Championship for Drivers was introduced. The first ex-Formula One driver to score points was Frenchman, Stéphane Sarrazin. His F1 racing career consisted of substituting for Luca Badoer with Minardi at the 1999 Brazilian GP, resulting in a retirement. He was test-driver with Prost ’99 to ’01, and with Toyota in 2002.

Sarrazin tried three WRC events in 2004 in a Subaru Imprezza, finishing 9th, 6th and 4th, leading to selected drives as a tarmac specialist, by the works team for the following two years. He did not live up to his early promise with another fourth his best result, and 20 points from his total 15 starts (10-8-6-5-4-3-2-1 scoring).

In 2009, he finished third for Peugeot in the Monte Carlo Rally, fourth in 2010 (both were rounds of the Intercontinental Rally Challenge). Stéphane has been driving for Peugeot in their diesel-fueled Le Mans prototypes since 2007, winning, with Pedro Lamy, the 2007 Le Mans series, and getting second places in the 2007 and 2009 Le Mans 24 Hours.

Stirling Moss, subsequently winner of 16 World Championship Formula One races and World Championship runner-up four times, finished second in the 1952 Monte Carlo Rally, driving a Sunbeam-Talbot in a one-off appearance. (His sister, Pat Moss, a winner of international rallies, only managed a best of third in 1967.) The modern WRC events centre around the Special Stages, that is fast timed runs on closed stages. Old rallies featured long runs on public roads, and arduous hours, over several days. Often this featured timing-points that the competitors had to reach at set times as well as speed-test stages. With Moss’s experience in events such as the Mille Miglia, an open-road endurance event he had first entered for Jaguar the year before, doing the blue riband rally probably did not seem so different. Stirling went on to win the Monaco Grand Prix three times.

However, this is not the best performance by a driver in both Monte Carlo events. Louis Chiron in 1931 became the only Monaco-born driver to win the Monaco Grand Prix, and won the Monte Carlo Rally in 1954.

Born in 1899, Chiron’s career spanned the Second World War. He won his first local race in 1926. By 1928, he was driving for Bugatti and won the Spanish Grand Prix. In 1929, he came seventh in a Delage in the Indianapolis 500. The first European Drivers Championship was in 1931 featuring only three rounds, Louis winning the French Grand Prix in a shared drive with Achille Varzi. He competed again for Bugatti in 1932, finishing fifth-equal in the title-chase. The European Championship did not reappear until 1935, in which he was ninth driving for Scuderia Ferrari (then running Alfa Romeos). He then gave his services to Mercedes, but in 1936 they only entered Chiron in two ‘Championship races, netting two retirements, and they did not keep him for long. Chiron had won over a dozen major non-Championship Grands Prix, but after 1934, his career seemed to peter out with his only subsequent semi-notable pre-war victory being the 1937 French GP in a Talbot-Lago, which that year was held for sportscars without a strong field.

Post-war, it seemed to slip the Monégasque’s mind he had retired in 1938, and there was a shortage of drivers and racing machinery (the F1 World Championship was not won by a driver that started his racing post-war until Mike Hawthorn in 1958). Louis Chiron won the French Grand Prix for Talbot-Lago in 1947 and 1949, setting what was then a record of winning that event four times.

In the first year of the World Championship Louis drove for Maserati, retiring at Silverstone, and his only points finish being a third at his home-race, Monaco. In 1951, he struggled on with customer-car teams finishing seventh in a Maserati in round one in Switzerland, and a sixth place (points only went down to fifth) the only non-retirement in a Talbot-Lago for the rest of the season.

Chiron sustained serious burns in a Maserati-Platé at the non-championship Syracuse GP, missing all the 1952 WC races. In the second year of the World Championship being run to F2 rules, he entered a private O.S.C.A. in four rounds, not starting twice, and a best of tenth.

Paired with Swiss driver, Ciro Basadonna, Chiron won the 1954 Monte Carlo Rally in a Lancia Aurelia GT. He made a Grand Prix return in 1955 at Monaco, in what was to be his last start. In a factory Lancia D50 he finished sixth in front of his home crowd. This makes Louis Chiron, then aged 55-plus-292-days, the oldest driver to start a World Championship race. He made two more entries in customer Maseratis for Monaco, but in ’56 he withdrew after the engine blew, and in ’58 failed to qualify.

Louis Chiron had a terrible time at Le Mans, entering nine times between 1928 and 1953, failing to finish each time.

After retirement, Chiron was asked to run the Monte Carlo Rally and the Monaco Grand Prix, which he did until 1979, the year of his death.

(The youngest driver to start was Jaime Alguersuari, 19-plus-125-days old, at the 2009 Hungarian Grand Prix. Michael Schumacher will be 42 in January.)

(So I start an article about Räikkönen scoring WRC points and end up doing a bio on Chiron. I did start a piece on the history of the USA GP, as I mentioned I might, but the research delayed it, and compromised its topicality. It seems that this is what I do, topical history! I might finish it next week or save it for when they race in Austin.)

(Link to Carlos Reutemann profile)

The Races Ferrari Missed

June 3, 2010

When I learnt that Turkey was Ferrari’s 800th race (out of 827), my initial thoughts were to check the figures, and that it would be interesting to examine the ones they missed.

1950    British GP    (1)
     Indianapolis 500    (2)
     French GP    (3)

The historical importance of this new World Championship was simply not appreciated at the time, and Ferrari missed the first round due to insufficient starting money for an overseas event. However, with Enzo Ferrari’s legendary lack of sentimentality, it probably would not have made a difference if he had realised the significance.

The Ferrari team went to Reims with drivers Gigi Villoresi and Alberto Ascari, but on realising the 1·5 litre supercharged V12 engines were not going to be competitive withdrew. Peter Whitehead, a rich British privateer and the first person ever to be sold a Ferrari F1 car, took his similarly engined Ferrari 125 to his highest ever finish of third, albeit three laps behind the Alfa Romeos. Ascari instead entered the supporting F2 race for Ferrari, which he won.

1951    Indianapolis 500    (4)

Since the World Championship only otherwise had European races for several years, the Indianapolis 500 was officially included from 1950 to 1960 to make the series look more intercontinental. The only notable crossover was in 1952, when Alberto Ascari missed the first-round Swiss Grand Prix to compete for Ferrari at Indianapolis. Piero Taruffi won for the team at Bremgarten; Ascari managed only 40 laps before retiring with a wheel problem at the Brickyard, but returned to Europe to win all six remaining European rounds (with only the best four scores counting). So Ferrari became the first team to compete in all rounds in a season of the World Championship. However, none were Formula One as in 1952 and 1953, Formula Two rules were adopted to generate better fields. Ascari then won the first three F2 rounds in ’53 on the way to a second title. This was nine wins-in-a-row, or seven as round-two at Indianapolis ’53 was missed.

1953    Indianapolis 500    (5)
1954    Indianapolis 500    (6)
1955    Indianapolis 500    (7)
1956    Indianapolis 500    (8)
1957    Indianapolis 500    (9)

In 1957, the Pescara Grand Prix (about halfway down the East coast of Italy) was held for the only time, which at 15.89 miles remains the longest ever circuit used. For some reason, Ferrari only sent one car for Luigi Musso. It should also be noted that all entries in ’56 and ’57 were Lancia-Ferraris, after at the end of 1955, Lancia had withdrawn and handed their cars and designer to Scuderia Ferrari. Juan Manuel Fangio won the World Championship for the team in 1956.

1958    Indianapolis 500    (10)
1959    Indianapolis 500    (11)
     British Grand Prix    (12)

Ferrari’s absence in Britain was blamed on strikes in Italy, but was probably a pretext for wanting more starting money. Ferrari driver, Tony Brooks, was able to start his home Grand Prix at Aintree in a Vanwall instead, but only lasted 13 laps.

1960    Indianapolis 500    (13)
     USA Grand Prix    (14)

The second USA Grand Prix at Riverside, California, was ten weeks after the rest of the season, and Ferrari prefered to look to the next year. Drivers, Phil Hill and Wolfgang von Trips, picked up rides in customer Coopers. This was the last year of the Indianapolis 500’s inclusion.

1961    USA Grand Prix    (15)

That there was a USA Grand Prix in 1961, given to Watkins Glen at a few weeks notice to replace a scheduled Formula Libre race, had much to do with American driver, Phil Hill’s success in that year’s title-chase. Hill won the round before at Monza, tragically clinching the title due to his team-mate, Wolfgang von Trips, being killed in the race in an accident that took the lives of fourteen spectators. Ferrari declined increased offers of starting money, and Phil Hill attended as Grand Marshall but could not race. Enzo Ferrari probably would have been more than happy to take the cash but the shockwaves in Italy over the deaths at Monza left little choice but to not attend.

1962    French Grand Prix    (16)
     USA Grand Prix    (17)
     South Africa Grand Prix    (18)

The reason cited for non-attendance in France was industrial action. Ferrari did not have any drivers in contention so skipped the last two rounds. It was quite a spread of dates with Monza on 16th September, Watkins Glen on 7th October, and the title-decider between Graham Hill and Jim Clark (East London, first GP in South Africa), not until 29th December.

Ferrari managed full attendance in 1963 and John Surtees won the title for the team in 1964, but not in a scarlet Ferrari. Enzo Ferrari had a huge row with the Automobile Club d’Italia when they would not back him over his dispute with FIA over homologation of the Ferrari 250LM for sports-car racing, relinquished his Italian entrants licence, and swore his cars would never race in red again. The ACI did not bend so the Ferraris were entered in the last two rounds by Luigi Chinetti, a successful dealer for the marque in America, under the North American Racing Team banner, with the cars in USA racing colours of blue-and-white.

The dispute rumbled on into 1965, with the cars back in scarlet but entered (as Scuderia Ferrari) by team manager, Eugenio Dragoni, in the first race in South Africa (held on 1st January with second round, Monaco, not until May 30th). NART-entered Ferraris appeared again in the USA and Mexico at the end of the ’65 season, this time to run Pedro Rodriguez on Firestone tyres, bypassing the contract with Dunlop. Lorenzo Bandini led the ‘official’ team.

1966    British Grand Prix    (19)
     Mexico Grand Prix    (20)

Strikes again saw Ferrari miss Britain, and the last round at Mexico was another case of being outside the title-chase so why the bother?

1967    South Africa Grand Prix    (21)

Another South African GP near the turn of the year (four months before Monaco) which Ferrari decided to skip.

1968    Monaco Grand Prix    (22)

Ferrari driver, Lorenzo Bandini, had been killed at Monaco in horrific circumstances during the 1967 race. He had gone wide after clipping the chicane following the tunnel (then more a bridge than a tunnel), hit a post on the harbour-side barely protected by a straw-bale, and the car crashed to the other side of the track upside-down with the ruptured tank turning it into a fireball. The marshals took an age to do anything not having the clothing to approach the inferno or suitable extinguishers, and between the noise of the passing cars racing unabated, Bandini could be heard screaming. Eventually, charred and smashed, he was dragged out to die three days later in hospital. The death of von Trips had drawn censure from the Italian government and the Vatican, and Bandini’s death caused another national uproar of flak in Ferrari’s direction. Safety standards were reported to be the reason Ferrari did not attend Monaco in ’68, but the Commodore never seemed to consider driver-safety a priority. Drivers were often goaded into pushing harder by being berated for not trying, or having their car turn up late for practice if out of favour within the team, despite the deaths this contributed to. Had they gone to Monaco in ’68 and had another tragedy, the Italian backlash might have been unsustainable, so it was about the safety of the team, not the drivers.

1969    Germany Grand Prix    (23)

In 1968, Enzo Ferrari had secured the future of the marque by selling Ferrari to FIAT in a deal that guaranteed him control of the racing team. 1969 was a restructuring year in which only Chris Amon raced for the team until the British Grand Prix. There he was joined by Pedro Rodríguez, the team skipped Germany at short notice, and Amon had left by the next round at Monza. Rodríguez was entered in Canada, USA and Mexico by Luigi Chinetti’s North American Racing Team. Only an older car, not used since the second round at Spain, was sent over, attended to by Chinetti’s mechanics, in what seems to have been a cheap way to collect on the large starting and prize money for the American events.

1973    Dutch Grand Prix    (24)
     German Grand Prix    (25)

Another half-hearted year by Ferrari. Jackie Ickx was into his fourth season for the team but left after the British Grand Prix. Arturo Merzario had driven the second car at some races. The team did not enter the two GPs, a week apart, in Holland and Germany, as the car was uncompetitive, and Merzario finished off the season with the team.

Phil Hill and John Surtees had both found out when they joined Ferrari that the main emphasis was often on Le Mans, back in the ‘sixties a bigger event than any Grand Prix, and success there selling more cars to raise money for Enzo Ferrari’s racing. After 1973, works involvement in sports-cars ended to concentrate on Formula One. Thus Ferrari were back in force challenging for the title in 1974, with Nicki Lauda winning it in ’75.

1976    Austrian Grand Prix    (26)

Nicki Lauda was still critically ill in hospital after his fiery Nürburgring accident. Enzo Ferrari threw a tantrum over James Hunt having his Spanish win reinstated on appeal, and announced he was withdrawing from the World Championship, almost leading to the cancellation of Austria. They were back with Regazzoni the round after. Lauda returned for Italy, annoyed Reuterman had already been signed to replace him for 1977, in which year Lauda won his second title for Ferrari. Jody Scheckter won the team’s next drivers’ title in 1979.

1982    Belgium Grand Prix    (27)
     Swiss Grand Prix    (28)

The team started the year with Gilles Villeneuve and Didier Pironi. After one point in the first two races in South Africa and Brazil, Ferrari raced at Long Beach sporting two rear-wings, offset one to the left and one to the right, arguing both were individually within the width restriction. This was basically another Ferrari hissy-fit. The Ford Cosworth teams were running underweight against the heavier turbo-cars by taking advantage of a rule allowing them to top up water-and-oil before post-race weighing, and were pouring gallons of liquid into big tanks in the sidepods. Pironi retired but Villeneuve finished third and was obviously disqualified.

Next was San Marino, which FOCA led by Ecclestone boycotted. Once the Renaults had blown up, although some think it was one of the most exciting races ever with the Ferrari drivers repeatedly passing each other, sometimes twice a lap, it seems more probable they were showboating, until on the last lap, Pironi nipped by and grabbed the win. Villeneuve was livid, he had played second fiddle to help Scheckter win in ’79, now it was his turn, and he vowed never to speak to Pironi again.

He never did. In the final burst of qualifying at the next event in Belgium at Zolder, Gilles went out on qualifying tyres that he had already had the best of to make up a tenth of a second on Didier. He came across Jochen Mass’s March who tried to get out the way. Mass went to the left as Villeneuve did, then Jochen pulled to the right just as Villeneuve decided to go right, flying over the March right-rear wheel launching him into a bank. The front of the car was smashed away, Villeneuve was thrown out and killed. The team withdrew from the race.

Didier Pironi alone raced in Monaco, Detroit and Canada. Patrick Tambay joined the team by Holland where Pironi won again. Both were on the podium in Britain with Pironi third in France.

In Germany, Pironi took pole in the dry qualification session on Friday. Saturday morning, it was teeming with rain, and of the few cars out Didier was driving four seconds a lap faster than anyone else with Hockenheim as then a very fast circuit. In the forest, he came upon a wall of spray that was that of Derek Daly’s Williams. Daly pulled over so Pironi blasted past, but Derek had pulled over to pass the slower Prost whose Renault the Ferrari hit before somersaulting into the barrier. Didier Pironi’s legs were so badly injured amputation was considered, and his F1 career was over. (He later died in an off-shore power-boating accident. His pregnant girlfriend, Catherine Goux, subsequently called the twins, “Didier” and “Gilles”.) Patrick Tambay started the race which he won.

Tambay remained the sole Ferrari driver for Austria and Switzerland (held at Dijon, France). At the latter weekend, he had a trapped nerve in his back and had to withdraw. Mario Andretti joined the team for Monza and took pole. Rene Arnoux had been signed to drive the scarlet cars in 1983 and the Tifosi had already taken him to their hearts, perhaps because of the famous battle for second between Arnoux and Villeneuve at the 1979 GP. So when Arnoux won for Renault with Tambay and Andretti second and third, instead of being disappointed, the Tifosi just treated it as a Ferrari 1-2-3!

Andretti raced in the last round in Las Vagas, his last race which unfortunately he failed to finish. Tambay again withdrew with back problems.

Didier Pironi only lost the title by five points. Ferrari won the Constructors’ Cup despite only 22 starts in sixteen races, indeed two of those starts with the double-wing making sure they would not count for points. (Nearest rival, McLaren, missed San Marino and Nicki Lauda withdrew from the German race after a wrist injury.)

All the rounds since Ferrari have competed in, with Michael Schumacher winning five titles 2000 to 2004, plus Kimi Räikkönen in 2007.

It is often the case that F1 statistics depend on how one counts them. I have chosen to include the five races that featured North American Racing Team entries but no Scuderia Ferrari entries, as they were surely on behalf of the official team. With twenty-eight races missed, I still make it one race premature that Scuderia Ferrari celebrated the eight-hundred at the 2010 Turkey Grand Prix, but Whitehead’s private-entry at Reims in 1950 does give them 800 as constructors. This would still only be 799 Grands Prix as the 1952 Indy 500 was not a GP. Fifteen of the races in ’52 and ’53 were Formula Two (so Ascari never was Formula One World Champion). The fourteen races in 1956 and 1957 were with Lancia cars, but entered as Lancia Ferraris. This would only be 764 F1 World Championship Grands Prix that Scuderia Ferrari had at least one pure Ferrari in, but what the heck, let us not rain on the parade and call it eight-hundred.

The top-five for constructors are [after Turkey 2010]:

Team    Races    Wins     
Ferrari    800    211     
McLaren    682    167     
Williams    553    113     
Lotus    497    79    (not including new Lotus)
Tyrrell    431    23     

Ferrari have started the last 456 races. McLaren started the last 449 races since failing to qualify for the 1983 Monaco GP. Williams have started the last 466 since joining in the boycott of the 1982 San Marino GP, which is the last race McLaren skipped deliberately. (The teams that withdrew from the 2005 USA GP count as having retired, not as DNSs.)

Ferrari Constructors titles were won in 1961, 1964, 1975 to 1977, 1979, 1982, 1983, 1999 to 2004, 2007 and 2008.

(It was Dima (thank you) in the comments that pointed out I had missed that Scuderia Ferrari withdrew from the 1950 French GP and that only a private Ferrari started. I have since given this article a partial rewrite after the Ferrari Market Letter showed an interest in publishing the post.)