Your questions: Silverstone tips, Monza track invasions and, erm, number twos

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Barrichello spent five years with the number two on his Ferrari
Barrichello spent five years with the number two on his Ferrari

My inbox is full to bursting at the moment, so in an attempt to make some progress through it I’ve rounded up some of your questions and attemptted to answer them all below.

And as ever the F1 Fanatic commenters are on hand to fill in the blanks where I can’t.

Silverstone travel

First up Franceso is heading to the British Grand Prix and needs some advice:

I’ll be attending the race weekend, and I plan to drive from London to Silverstone and back every day with a rented car.

Do you think it’s worth it, or is it better to sleep somewhere around the circuit? Is it possible to sleep in the car somewhere?

I would definitely advise trying to find somewhere near to the track to stay. However, this close to the race weekend, most of the nearest hotels and campsites may have been booked up for some time.

It’s worth checking for local hotels (try Premier Inn or Travelodge) in case of last-minute cancellations.

However if you’ve got tickets for the park-and-ride it’s quite possible to do the trip from London – I have myself in the past. I’ll be at the race myself and we’ll be organising a meet-up for anyone else who’s going. Check out the forum and keep an eye on the blog for more information.

Read what other F1 fans have said about visiting Silverstone here: Silverstone – spectators? experiences

Electric shocks

Texas F1 Fan has a query about pit stops:

What are those strips that the cars drive over in the pit as they come to a stop to get tyres/fuel ect? Are they ground straps to electrically ground the car so the pit crew don’t get a big static shock when they touch the car?

I think you’ve answered your own question there! As far as I know the strips are there to keep the car earthed during refuelling and prevent any static build-up from causing an ignition.

They may also serve the same purpose in the event of a KERS malfunction – we all remember what happened to that BMW mechanic:

Cornering speeds

Simon wants to know:

Do you know whether there is any data available for car speeds achieved in qualifying, specifically for turn eight [at Istanbul]?

I was reading on the Times blog that Hamilton claimed the current Mclaren was “10-15kph slower” than the Force India around turn eight, and wanted to see how close to the mark that was.

I’d actually be quite interested to see an article analysing the Mclaren at this stage (being a Lewis fan!), as Turkey and Silverstone both have plenty of the high-speed corners that seem to be the car’s biggest weakness.

I’d like to see some of that data as well, unfortunately I’m not aware of any good sources for it! If anyone has got some information on the cornering speeds of this year’s cars, please post in the comments…

Number twos

Robert asks this question about ‘number two’ drivers:

Under the current driver number system, the team mate of the reigning world champion wears the number two on his car. Since this system was put in place, which driver has spent the longest time as car number two? If I had a guess, it would be Rubens Barrichello.

Good guesswork Robert! Here are the top ten drivers who started the most races with the number two:

1Rubens Barrichello2001 2002 2003 2004 200587
2Alain Prost1985 1989 199348
3David Coulthard1994 1999 200041
4Gerhard Berger1991 199232
5Carlos Reutemann1972 1979 198131
6Jochen Mass1975 197731
7Nigel Mansell1990 199420
8Jacky Ickx1970 1971 197418
9Felipe Massa200818
10Giancarlo Fisichella200618

What are the odds on Barrichello breaking the 100 mark next year?

Prize money

Marco wants to know:

Do you have an idea of where I could find out how much money each driver earned in the 2008 season?

Prize monies are a closely-guarded secret in Formula 1, although other racing series make them public knowledge. I don’t believe I’ve ever seen concrete details on how much drivers or teams get for winning points, races or championships.

Sorry Marco! Perhaps one of our readers can help?

How to invade the track at Monza

Rodrigo from Brazil wants to know how to get on the track at Monza:

Hi Keith, I saw your review of Monza ’07 – great pics and info!
You mentioned that you could not enter the track and head towards the podium – why? Do you know which grandstands allow for that?

It looked to me like fans in most of the grandstands along the start/finish straight were able to find their way onto the track. However the ones who got ready to go first – several laps before the end of the race – were best placed to leg it up the straight and get to the podium for the traditional celebrations.

Unfortunately, this being my first time there, we hadn’t anticipated how much of a rush there would be. Plus we were down at the chicane, some way from the start/finish area.

Next time I’ll book a seat closer to the pits and make sure I don’t miss it. I’d love to hear from anyone in the comments who’s been at the Monza podium celebration.

More on my Monza visit:

BBC F1 music

Finally, Hannah asks:

Do you know what the songs are that the BBC are playing at the end of each grand prix and who they’re sung by?

I’ve been searching the internet with no luck!

I haven’t been keeping a note of this, though I did remark on it in the live blogs over the weekend when they played songs by two bands I like: The Prodigy and Pendulum.

There is a thread on the forum naming some of the songs that have been used. Anyone who remembers any of the many other songs the BBC has used in its excellent F1 coverage, please share them below.

Send in your questions – and answers

If you can help add to any of these answers please post a comment below.

And if you?ve got an F1 question of your own please send them in – you can email me, contact me on Twitter or leave a comment.

More questions

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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57 comments on “Your questions: Silverstone tips, Monza track invasions and, erm, number twos”

  1. Re: metal strips in pits.

    Interesting! I always thought they were timing mechanisms to see how long the pit stop lasted. If that is not what they are for, how do they time the stops?

    1. Re: metal strips in pits.

      Yes i believe the strips are a safety device to ground the car to prevent sparks which can cause a fire. Not such a problem when there is no refuelling.

      As for the timing of the length of a pit stop there is a timing beam which is broken when the car comes into the pits i believe, but i could be wrong about this.

      1. Aha. This talks about it too, and has some good pictures.

      2. I’m quite sure the strips are to ground the car. These cars are charged with static because the run so fast rubbing with the air. the minute they hit the strips they discharge to the ground.

        the alternative is that the mechanics get zapped with a painful shock, and the fuel rig lights up if there’s a leak. it happened in 94 or 95 with Shumacher’s teammate. there’s plenty of videos about it.
        i’m sure it also helps with KERS these days.

        BTW, if you are wearing specific fabric in a regular car, after stepping out a long trip and you touch the outside of the car, there’s a good chance you will get zapped, multiply that by X for F1….

    2. When the fuel is being pumped into the car it creates an enormous amount of static electricity, which is bad considering the massive amount of combustible fuel. The grounding strips aren’t just limited to F1, if you watch an airliner being filled up there’s usually a metal wire placed between the wing and ground to stop static electricity build up. There’s a deeply scientific explaination for this involving the free electrons in liquid fuel but my a-level physics didn’t go into much depth (or I wasn’t listening properly – more likely).

    3. The pitlane entry/exit, pitlane speed limit and pitstop timings are all measured using the cars transponder. The same goes for the start of the race to check for any cars jumping the lights.

      1. zach 'o' balls
        11th June 2009, 16:07

        forum . batracer . com

        1. zach 'o' balls
          11th June 2009, 16:12


          1. ok guys i’m sorry about this post as its completely off topic. but i’m desperate & had no other choice, hope keith won’t mind. i guess there are some rfactor modders here. so i need some help & advice from them. i’ve some good experience in converting rfactor tracks to f1c, but my problem is the other way round conversion i.e. conversion of cars from f1c to rfactor. someone might say why convert from an old game to a new one, but i have my reasons for it. we all know that rfactor uses .gmt instead of a .mts format for the physical model & uses dds instead of bmp for images. i’m sucessfully able to convert from mts to gmt & bmp to dds & repack it into a .mas file using gmotor. now arises the problem part, i’m having problems with the .gen file (vehicle generator) which is a notepad file. how should i organize it? for example in f1c the car suspension is a single model but in rfac its split into 4 differtent parts i.e front left sus,front right,rear left & rear right. should i split the suspension using zmodeler or is there any way round? my next important question is what happens to the dds images? is repacking then it into a .mas file sufficient? will the dds file automatically associate itself with .gmt files? or is it to be done manually? if manually, how? in f1c for example the instance name for suspension is mgsuspa in rfac its called debris. so is renaming necessary for each & every .gmt file in the .gen notepad file? or will the f1c instance name suffice? i would be very grateful if someone helps me out with a tutorial. so ppl thanx in advance. i thank keith for letting me use his blog.

            deeply appreciate any help from anyone. plz

  2. I don’t think the odds of Barrichello breaking the 100 barrier are very high, just because I don’t think he’ll have a seat next year.

    1. supposing brawn enters the F1 next year…

    2. David (Brazil)
      11th June 2009, 18:40

      ditto, ditto

  3. I made it onto the track after the 2007 Monza GP but by the time I got down from our stand (opposite the pit exit) to the podium the celebrations were all over :(

    The trick is to spot where the gates are onto the track from your stand and be at them a few laps before the end, this is the bit that we got wrong, only heading there once the race was over.

    Still I did manage to get some photo’s of the wife and I on the start line and also managed to pick up some ‘marbles’ from the outside of parabolica :)

    1. It depends where you are sitting, obviously, because that will dictate which sections you can get into.
      For instance, there are gates in front of the Tribune Laterale Destra almost opposite the podium.
      Many tifosi run (or even drive) from the 2 ends of the main straight but, as has been said, you`ll probably be lucky to get there to see anything unless there`s a delay in the podium proceedings.

  4. Regarding the “erm number twos”

    Well officially prost mansell and coulthard had the number two on their cars in 93′ and 94′ because their was no defending champion those years.

    1993 mansell had gone to indy car leaving no official number one so Prost took the number two on his williams

    1994 after Senna did the same as Prost because the latter had retired from F1, and after Senna died both Coulthard and Mansell had to take the number two while Damon Hill had the zero on his car for 1993 and 1994.

    I wonder if we will ever see the zero on a car again in F1?

    1. Depends on how the FiA/FOTA situation works out…if Brawn (and hence Button) win this year but aren’t in F1 next year then we could see car number “0” again…

    2. John Spencer
      11th June 2009, 10:22

      In 1993 Prost had the choice of Number 0 or Number 2 (because as you say, Mansell was WDC and had left for Indy). Apparently in France being a zero is not good for some reason, so Prost opted for 2, and let Damon Hill be the zero.

      1. correctamundo John

      2. Mansell went to Indy as Williams had already signed Prost for ’93, and Mansell wouldn’t drive alongside him.

        1. Yep Gav i knew that. Nige had a bad time with Prost when Prost joined Ferrari, and our Nige didn’t want to go through that again in 93′

    3. We’ll only see the zero again if a Williams driver wins the championship again – and is fired immediately…

      2 must have been Prost’s lucky number – every time he used it, he became world champion.

    4. Would Massa have been car number zero if Schumacher had clinched the title in 2006?


      1. Well if schummi had won in 06 and then retired then massa could have chosen between 0 or 2. it would have been upto massa and kimi to choose.
        I have a feeling Schummi would have stayed on racing even if he did win in 06.
        I wonder if Finland and/or Brazil have superstitions over the zero like France does?

    5. Yeah, next year!

  5. Re: BBC music: a lot of the songs they play at the end are acoustic versions of hit songs that are often recorded during Jo Wiley’s Live Lounge. The one at the end of the Turkey coverage was an acoustic version of the chorus of Lupe Fiasco’s Superstar featuing Matthew Santos.

    I have to say that the BBC’s choice of music to go with their coverage is 1000 times better than ITV’s – which usually had some dull boring mainstream dance or rock track. BBC choose much more alternative and interesting tracks – full marks to them for that alone!

    1. Yep many are live lounge tracks – and off the top of my head at least two have came from the BBC Live Lounge #2 CD which includes:

      Foo Fighters – times like these
      Biffy Clyro – umbrealla (cover)

  6. Not been to Monza, but did manage getting onto the track at Hungary in 2006 – we had spotted a small crowd beginning to gather at the gate onto the track right by our stand (last corner)a couple of laps from the end, so we went and joined it, actually shaking with excitement with the prospect of Button winning – didnt actually beleive it was happening until he crossed that line, the last twelve laps or so were the longest ever! Literally as soon as the last car came past the gates were opened, I dont think I have ever run so fast in my life! Was brilliant – got down to the podium just in time to see the drivers come out – Jenson leading the way! :D

    Words cannot describe how amazing an experience it was, Jenson winning in the first place was something special, then hearing the British national anthem, it was amazing. We were there with our British flags waving, and were getting congratulated by loads of other fans for Button winning just becuase we share a nationality with him and were clearly there in support of him. You could smell the champagne from the podium and everything! Best experience of my life!

    And then to top it all off, when we got to the airport, lo and behold, there was Lewis Hamilton with his Dad and Brother sat waiting for his plane in the same departure lounge as us, with his GP2 trophy on his lap! He signed all our tickets and stuff, and had a little chat with us – lovely guy, really friendly.

    Every second of the camping in the rain, wind, thunder and lightning for four days (and thats no exaggeration, the weather was atrocious!) was worth it come the Sunday. Itll take quite a lot to beat that in future races. Will always have a soft spot for Hungary now.

    Monza is next on the list though, with pit straight tickets the idea just so we can get on the track at the end of the race for the podium again – next year I reckon – well if F1 exists and all that lol!

  7. When will we see the prediction championship standing?

  8. The cornering speeds for Turn 8 were on-screen as a table at some point during the race, but unfortunately, I don’t have it recorded. Perhaps someone else can transcribe?

    1. Hamilton’s race preview gave this information, which I assume was based on his experience the last two years:

      1. ‘Turn 8’ from Istanbul Speed Park, home of the Turkish Grand Prix
      Speed: 161mph
      Gear: 5
      G-force: 5

  9. I haven’t found anything for turn 8, but here are speeds at speed trap before turn 12 I think.


    1 3 Felipe Massa 309.9
    2 21 G.Fisichella 309.8
    3 4 Kimi Räikkönen 309.6
    4 1 Lewis Hamilton 309.5
    5 7 Fernando Alonso 308.6
    6 8 Nelsinho Piquet 308.0
    7 2 H.Kovalainen 308.0
    8 17 Kazuki Nakajima 307.5
    9 14 Mark Webber 307.2
    10 20 Adrian Sutil 307.1
    11 6 Nick Heidfeld 307.0
    12 9 Jarno Trulli 306.0
    13 16 Nico Rosberg 305.5
    14 10 Timo Glock 304.6
    15 15 Sebastian Vettel 303.7
    16 22 Jenson Button 303.5
    17 23 R.Barrichello 303.5
    18 5 Robert Kubica 303.4
    19 12 Sébastien Buemi 301.0
    20 11 S.Bourdais 300.8


    1 2 H.Kovalainen 312.8
    2 17 Kazuki Nakajima 312.1
    3 1 Lewis Hamilton 311.6
    4 16 Nico Rosberg 311.3
    5 3 Felipe Massa 311.2
    6 20 Adrian Sutil 310.1
    7 4 Kimi Räikkönen 309.8
    8 8 Nelsinho Piquet 309.8
    9 15 Sebastian Vettel 309.5
    10 14 Mark Webber 309.4
    11 10 Timo Glock 309.1
    12 9 Jarno Trulli 309.1
    13 7 Fernando Alonso 308.4
    14 6 Nick Heidfeld 306.7
    15 5 Robert Kubica 305.8
    16 12 Sébastien Buemi 305.0
    17 11 S.Bourdais 304.3
    18 22 Jenson Button 304.3
    19 23 R.Barrichello 303.7
    20 21 G.Fisichella 286.9

    1. Mclaren at the top and Button near the bottom. I recall these speeds were related to driving style so not necessarily an indicator of performance?


      1. All it proves is that the McLaren is very fast along a straight but crap in the corners.

    2. Button was quickest through turn 8 they showed the speeds during the race as graphic.

      Also I noticed Button was the only driver throughout and at end of the race that wasn’t using the right hand side of his cockpit as a cushion whilst hurtling through turn 8 (of the drivers that appeared on TV anyway)

  10. I remember seeing Jenson at the top of the ‘Turn 8 apex speed’ graphic during the race. Whether he was still top at the end of the race, I don’t know.

  11. Mclaren don’t have much problems with straight line speed, its cornering speed that is their problem.

  12. Terry Fabulous
    11th June 2009, 10:57

    Q. How do I get in front of the podium?

    Australian Grand Prix 2005 – Fisichella’s win!

    I was in the Prost stand on the final corner and on the final lap dashed down the fence hole and waited for the sweeper car. So when it went past, I was out on the track very quickly, not stuck with the crowd.

    It was about 6-700m to the podium and I reckon I was there in about a minute or so!! And that was with a belly full of beer to boot!

    When I arrived at the crowd, I leapt onto the cyclone fence that surrounds the pits and climbed up on top. Becuase it juts out over the track, if you are a bit athletic (and drunk) you can swing over and sit on it.

    I will post photos but I was very close to the podium and made it there by the time that the anthem was played. It was one of my favourite F1 moments.

    After the race, when a policeman comes and yells at you for climbing the fence like an idiot. Obey him, get off and then thank him for not kicking you off during the podium.

    1. Fabulous tips, Terry! Love it. :D

  13. For Hannah:

    The BBC post-race song lineup so far has been:
    AUS – Times Like These (Live Lounge) – Foo Fighters
    MAL – Umbrella (Live Lounge) – Biffy Clyro
    CHN – Sunday Rain – Sugababes
    BAH – I Can See Clearly Now – Ray Charles
    ESP – Fast Car – Mutya Buena
    MON – Feeling Good – Muse
    TUR – Superstar (Live Lounge) – Lupe Fiasco/Matthew Santos

    1. And I agree with Karlos, it’s a fantastic playlist of songs. Am downloading them all, along with the race edit playlist (which I started on last season).

      1. Damn right! ;o)

  14. Invading the track at Monza should be easy. They open the gate at a certain time.
    If you are on the main straight you should be one of the first to get in and celebrate below the podium.

  15. If you’re really struggling to figure out what a song used on any BBC sport program is, they actually have an email address you can ask them on! The details are on this page, along with some of the songs other poeople have tried to track down

    1. *retries Link* — sorry about that Link

  16. The music used at the end of the Malaysian GP is here:

  17. Mark Hitchcock
    11th June 2009, 14:21

    Didn’t have you down as a Prodigy fan Keith. Nice.

    BBC are bound to use better music than ITV did because they don’t have to pay for it. ITV probably used the cheapest stuff they could get their hands on.

  18. Mouse Nightshirt
    11th June 2009, 14:38

    I bet Nige wouldn’t be best pleased at knowing he’s 7th on the all time “Number 2” list!

    1. better to be 7th than 1st i reckon. Nige would’nt have wanted to be 2nd driver to so many champions, or multiple championship winners like Rubens.

      1. Mansell’s are from when he was number two to Prost at Ferrari in 1990 (which didn’t work out so well) and his handful of races for Williams in 1994.

  19. I am really liking the BBC’s music selection as well. Perhaps we should start an official “What’s that song” forum thread since many people seem to be showing an interest in the music. This is something does for Top Gear and Fifth Gear.

  20. I did successfully invade the track at Monza 2007. I was at the Piscina grandstand between the first chicane and the starting grid. When the cars finished their glory lap people started storming onto the circuit, the entrance can be quite harsh because you might have to jump a few walls and tall grass. As soon as you get to the tarmac start running!

  21. Jose Arellano
    11th June 2009, 16:56

    During the race sometimes they show APEX SPEED CLASSIFICATION, there you can see whats the speed of the cars in the closest point to the inner kerb of the line (apex)

    for the music tracks, anyone with a Motorla/Nokia/Samsung mobile phone can id them,, just go to MOTOID application on motorola, TRACKID on nokia or Track recognition in samsung,, you record a sample of the track with it, and the phone tells you the name of the track!

  22. Texas F1 Fan
    11th June 2009, 17:38

    Well, over here in the US, they tripped us up last week by moving the Turkey GP from Speed channel (cable/satellite) to Fox (network tv). I got home from church Sunday and started looking at the DVR list for my F1 so I can watch the race while eating lunch. NO F1 ON THE LIST!!!!! So I start looking through menus (while starting to freak out) and see that they are showing TUR GP on Fox 2pm to 4pm. I look at the clock, it was about 2:15pm…..I quickly switch to Fox and it came up about 3 seconds before the start!!! Thank you Lord!
    Anyway….Fox had some great commercial bumpers with some music that rocked really hard and some great fast editing of the GPs, drivers/wrecks/spinouts/girls/victory/defeat. I was very impressed. Way better than the speed channel version. But, I guess they’re trying to drum up new viewers. So, from now on, I must check the DVR schedule and make sure it is directed to the right channel before the race!!!!

    1. Except that Fox cut to commercials about 5 times more than Speed does, had no problem cutting to commercial with less than 5 laps left, cut out part of the post race victory lap, and basically just truncated the race wherever they felt like. Since they had over 6 hours to edit the race, I feel like they really dropped the ball on it.

      I can’t believe I am saying this, but thankfully the TSN feed is back for the GB GP.

  23. On the turn eight thing, Mark Hughes in this week’s Autosport writes:

    McLaren was slowest of all through Istanbul Park’s turn eight.

    1. According to Peter Windsor, all F1 cars nowadays are designed to generate as much downforce as they can upto about 250 km/h, and then lose as much as they can above that speed(through microscopic wing flexing ).The exact speed varies from track to track. The problem with McLaren is that it loses it’s downforce way before the optimum speed (and hence is slow in fast corners). Otherwise, it’s got phenomenal downforce in slow corners, and also has extraordinary straight line speed thanks to that Mercedes engine.

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