5 Interesting F1 Facts

I learn something new about Formula One every day, which I deeply love about the sport. Here are five F1 facts to feed your curiosity! Enjoy!

1. Sebastian Vettel’s Car Names

Vettel is notorious for naming his Formula One cars after girl’s names, having done so throughout his career in the series. In his rookie year of 2008, Julie was his Toro Rosso STR3. His championship-winning cars at Red Bull were: Luscious Liz and Randy Mandy (2010), Kinky Kylie (2011), Abbey (2012), and Hungry Heidi (2013) in his last season at the team. In the 2020 season, his Ferrari SF1000 was called Lucilla. His 2021 Aston Martin Formula 1 car has been christened Honey Ryder, after the first ‘Bond girl’. The Bond girl reference is a nod to the series as James Bond is famous for driving an Aston Martin. 

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Ayrton Senna at the 1993 Brazilian GP.

2. Prost won Senna’s first race, and Senna won Prost’s last race. – F1

It feels fitting, a fair full circle for a fierce rivalry. Senna’s first race was the 1984 Brazilian Grand Prix, in which he retired, becoming one of sixteen drivers to do so in that race. It’s evidence of how much the technical aspects of the cars have been improved that fifteen of those sixteen racers didn’t finish the race due to mechanical issues. Prost took the race win for McLaren while Senna was raced for the small Toleman-Hart team.  

Prost’s last race was nine years later, again in Brazil. Senna’s home race didn’t disappoint fans, and he took pole position by four-tenths of a second, with Prost starting the race behind in P2. There was no competing for the lead in this race, and Senna saw the checkered flag 9-seconds ahead of Prost in second. Even though Senna won the race, Prost clinched fourth place and the World Championship.  

Fun Fact: Tina Turner played at the 1993 Brazilian GP concert after the race for her What’s Love? Tour, according to the race’s Wikipedia page. 

Sir Jackie Stewart, Monza, 1965.

3. The most lead changes during an F1 race were at the 1965 Italian Grand Prix. – Wikipedia, Beyond The Flag, F1 Technical

While it’s unclear as to how many lead changes there were precisely, the number was between 40-42 – a massive amount. Sir Jackie Stewart was the eventual winner of the 1965 Italian Grand Prix at Monza, but three other drivers were in contention for the race victory. Those drivers were Jim Clark, John Surtees, and Graham Hill, who all led various laps of the race. It just so happened to be Sir Jackie Stewart’s first-ever F1 race win, which is perhaps why he fought so hard for it. 

Princess Margaret is in pink, standing visibly to the right of the picture. According to F1, this was the ‘royal box’. Photo Credit: F1

4. The Queen attended the inaugural 1950 British Grand Prix. F1

It’s true. HRH King George VI, then-Princess Elizabeth, Princess Margaret and Lord and Lady Mountbatten came to the first-ever official F1 race – the 1950 British Grand Prix. Since that race, the Queen hasn’t come to a GP, preferring equestrian over race cars.

5. The longest ever F1 pitstop lasted about 43 hours and 15 minutes – Essentially Sports and Watson Post

If you didn’t watch the 2021 Monaco GP, you might be thoroughly confused about this fact. On the 31st lap of the race, Valtteri Bottas came into the pit box from second place. Far from the regular 2-3 second pit stop Mercedes typically produce; the pit crew couldn’t remove Bottas’s front-right tyre at all. That resulted in Bottas retiring from the race, all hopes of a podium gone. According to the Essentially Sports article cited above, “The tire was removed back at Mercedes’ Brackley factory using expert gear.” Bottas has previously experienced awful luck with pit stops, most notably in the 2020 Sakhir Grand Prix. In that race, Bottas “remained in the pit box for nearly half a minute before being sent out with the same tyres he had come in on. . .” Here’s to hoping Bottas’s luck in the pits improves!