As parents, we greet each new talent of our children with a blend of pride and relief: pride at said offspring’s new ability, relief that one more potential path to them earning some kind of living in future has opened up.
FEB 10th 2017
Thank Frankel it's Friday: A fountain of useless (but awesome) Formula 1 trivia
Sadly I provided my parents with few such opportunities. Bone-idle at school, I failed to trouble the further education system. I could run a bit, but only slowly, knock over smaller boys on the rugby field but only if they were kind enough to run straight at me, and hit cricket balls I could neither throw nor catch. The only things for which I showed genuine aptitude were smoking without getting caught, forging my housemaster’s signature and collecting useless information.
This last ability I carry with me to this day and if I could rid myself of it, I’d be a far richer person. Because instead of being sent off in random directions for facts that will never be of any use to me, I could instead be writing and earning. Today’s wild goose chase started with a clip of Jim Clark drifting a Lotus Cortina and ended with me having to find out whether American comedian Will Ferrell and Chad Smith, the drummer of the Red Hot Chilli Peppers whose likeness to Ferrell is uncanny, have ever had a drum battle on stage before. I won’t bore you with the entire route but it started at Crystal Palace and proceeded in short hops via Indianapolis and Talladega. And, because I know you’re desperate to find out, indeed they have.
But when it comes to racing trivia, I am less a child and more a zygote in stature to David Hayhoe whose latest work thumped onto the doormat yesterday morning. When not pursuing careers in the Civil Service and aviation security, Hayhoe has been an F1 statistician since 1982 and his ‘Grand Prix Data Book’, first published in 1989, has been not just a source of fascination but also a vital working tool for anyone writing about the top level of racing. My edition is 20 years old and so well-thumbed, it’s falling to bits in my hands.
But his new book ‘Formula 1 The Knowledge’ is something else. Over 1,000 sections crammed into 434 pages of small point type, there are 27 chapters and four appendices, all simply bursting with weapons-grade racing trivia.
You might not think there could possibly be an entire chapter’s worth of trivia on a matter such as F1 tyres, but Hayhoe begs to differ. Thanks to him I know that, up until the start of the 2016 season, Goodyear rubber has shod more than twice as many pole-sitters as any other brand and that Avon is the only tyre manufacturer to have competed in F1 but scored no wins or poles.
In another section I found out that Alberto Ascari scored the win, pole and fastest lap in four consecutive Grands Prix – twice as many as anyone else – but that if you look for who had the greatest number of wins, poles and fastest laps who also led every lap of those races, that man is Jim Clark and he did it eight times, albeit not consecutively.
I might have guessed that Fangio was the oldest driver to score a fastest lap in a Grand Prix, but the second? I probably would have taken some time to come up with Piero Taruffi.
I could drone on relentlessly about this and the trivia-obsessed among you may be wishing I would. But there will be others wondering what sort of person could be so easily diverted by such matters and you have my sympathies.
So I’ll close with just three from the ‘coincidences’ chapter, where the trivia reaches a whole new level of nerdiness. Did you know, for instance, that all three of Jackie Stewart’s reigns as World Champion lasted 392 days? Or that the only season to have 13 races (1970) is the only season to have produced a posthumous World Champion? Or that four people all called Taylor entered the 1959 British Grand Prix and none of them were related…
By now you’ll either have had quite enough of this twaddle or be desperate to get your hands on one. Either way, I’ll get my coat. For the latter group, however, I know stocks were running low, but I’ve looked on the website www.f1knowledge.com and it seems some are still available. And for you, if no one else, at 35 notes it’s a bargain.
Images courtesy of LAT
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