Cosworth CA2010 engines

Engine use in 2011, Button’s Canada penalty and car numbers

Your questions answeredPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

Questions on engine and tyre use in 2011, Button’s penalty in Canada and more from the F1 Fanatic mailbag.

Here’s the answers:

How many engines drivers have used

Cosworth CA2010 engines
Cosworth CA2010 engines

Skylar isn’t the only person to have written in with this question:

I noticed that last year’s statistics had a running count of how many engines each driver used. Will you be continuing that this year?
Skylar Wilson

The FIA limits how many engines drivers and teams can use during a season. If they use up their allocation too quickly they can get a penalty, so it’s important to know how many engines each driver has used.

However the FIA has stopped publishing on their site the details of how many engines each driver has used at each race.

I have made repeated enquiries to the FIA to obtain the data but without success.

The data we used to receive was quite limited in that it only showed when a driver had used a new engine – it did not show which engine was used at which race. The FIA said this information was kept confidential between it and the teams.

At the FOTA Fans Forum last year the teams were talking about giving more technical information to fans. This is exactly the sort of thing they should be sharing more, not less of.

Button’s drive-through penalty

Jenson Button, McLaren, Montreal, 2011
Jenson Button, McLaren, Montreal, 2011

Tristan Cliffe asks by why Jenson Button got his first penalty during the Canadian Grand Prix:

Can you explain Jenson’s drive through penalty at the recent Canadian Grand Prix?

As far as I can tell, the penalty was given for a misdemeanour during the first safety car period (the start of the race) for exceeding his permitted sector time.

But as they were behind a safety car, how did he manage this?

From the timing of the penalty, I don’t think it was from later safety car periods, but I’d love to hear your explanation and views on the matter.
Tristan Cliffe

Button’s penalty was for exceeding the speed limit behind the safety car. Article 40.7 of the Sporting Regulations says:

In order to ensure that drivers reduce speed sufficiently, from the time at which the “Safety car deployed” message is shown on the timing monitors until the time that each car crosses the first safety car line for the first time, drivers must stay above the minimum time set by the FIA Engine Control Unit.

This is often referred to as the “delta time” in team radio broadcasts.

It was at the heart of the problems following last year’s European Grand Prix where nine drivers were given time penalties for going too quickly during the safety car period.

Of course, just because the safety car is out doesn’t mean all the drivers are doing the same sector times – it can vary as they get close to and drop back from each other.

Car numbers

It wouldn’t be an instalment of “Your questions answered” without a question about car numbers:

How do the cars get allocated their numbers? We see messages such as “Investigation against cars four and six” – how do we know which driver and teams are involved?
Lynn Smith

The car numbers are allocated as follows:

Damon Hill, Williams, 1994
Damon Hill, Williams, 1994

1. The reigning drivers’ champion gets the number one on his car, and his team mate gets number two. If the world champion is not racing, the driver who’s taken his place in his former team uses number zero.

This last happened with Damon Hill at Williams in 1994.

2. After that, the car numbers are allocated based on finishing positions in the constructors’ championship, with the best-placed team first.

The teams decide which driver gets which of their two numbers, and usually the driver which scored best for them the previous year gets the lower number. But this is not a hard-and-fast rule and is sometimes adjusted for driver preference: Michael Schumacher says he prefers odd numbers, and has had the lower number at Mercedes for the last two years.

To see which drivers have which numbers this year, have a look at the list of 2011 F1 drivers and teams (accessible via the 2011 F1 season tab in the top menu).


I wish my name had a cool letter in it like this one:

I am delighted to discover your article of May 6th regarding tyre performance on Friday for the Turkish Grand Prix. Thank you for this information.

Can you tell me how you collect this info, please?
??yvind Thorvaldsen

Happily, Pirelli do not take the same attitude regarding tyre use as the FIA do about engines. They publish a list of which drivers used which tyres, which I cross-reference with my own notes to produce the data used on F1 Fanatic.

You can see which drivers have used which tyres the most across all the races this year on the statistics page:

Form guides

Thanks to Luke for this suggestion:

I love your form guide but I wish it showed all drivers at once. Would it be possible to make something like this in PDF form so we could print it out for reference during F1 weekends?

You can find an abbreviated version of the form guides (plus links to the detailed version) in today’s European Grand Prix preview. If you want to print it out, it should fit neatly on a single sheet.

Recent pictures

Jenson Button, Brawn, Singapore, 2009

Last question from Phillip Dutton-White:

Can you tell me how i can access photos of the F1 races in the period of 2010 and 2009. Are these photos still available?
Phillip Dutton-White

You certainly can – got to Pictures in the top menu tab and you can navigate back through all the images galleries under More F1 pictures.

Got a question for F1 Fanatic? Send it in via the contact form. Please include your real name.

Your questions answered

More of your questions answered

Image ?? Cosworth, McLaren, Williams/LAT, Brawn GP