Strange F1 Facts That No One Knows

If you’re a fan of F1, here are some little-known facts you might enjoy.

The Average Age of an F1 Driver Is 26

The average age might only be 26 today, but the average age of drivers during the first ever F1 race in 1950 at Silverstone was 39. Not only that, but three of the drivers taking part were over 50. That’s hard to imagine today, given how youthful the sport has become!

Max Verstappen Holds Multiple Age-Related Records

Max Verstappen, born in 1997, became the youngest driver to compete in F1 when he was aged just 17 years and 166 days. He holds a number of records relating to his youth, including being the youngest F1 Grand Prix winner of all time. Verstappen, recently in the headlines for criticising Red Bull, is the son of Jos Verstappen, himself a former racing driver.

It’s Possible To Drive Too Slowly

Al Pease holds the dubious distinction of being the only driver ever to have been black-flagged for not driving fast enough. He was black-flagged and disqualified from the race at the Canadian Grand Prix back in 1969.

Fastest Ever Penalty

In 2006, at the Turkish Grand Prix, Sebastian Vettel was caught speeding during practice in the pit lane right after exiting the garage. He was fined $1000 just nine seconds into his Formula 1 career as a result.

The Most Expensive Crash Took Place in 2004

To celebrate and promote the release of the blockbuster movie Ocean’s 12, two F1 cars were fitted out with an incredible £150,000 worth of diamonds at the 2004 Monaco Grand Prix. The cars, driven by Christian Klien and Mark Webber, were decked out in sparkling diamonds, attracting considerable media attention. Unfortunately, Klien crashed on lap one and his diamond-encrusted car wasn’t seen again.

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Rugby fan’s collection of 400 Groggs figures

Avid collector, Andy South, credits his impressive collection of Groggs figures to giving up smoking a decade ago. Investing the money he would have spent on cigarettes into more than 400 individual figures, his impressive collection is estimated to be worth £100,000.

An overview of Groggs figures

John Hughes, who passed away in 2013, began making the models in his garden shed in Pontypridd, Wales, in 1965. JPR Williams and Gareth Edwards were some of the first stars to be depicted in model form, and some of the rarest second-hand figures now regularly sell for hundreds of pounds.

Richard Hughes, John’s son, began sculpting in 1976, and says that it is impossible to estimate how many individual figures have been produced in total.

Impressive investments

Before the popularity of Groggs increased, Mr Hughes would produce limited runs of just 10 figures. Figures produced during this time are now the most sought-after, with collectors especially keen to snap up rare examples, often scouring the internet and car boot sales for elusive models missing from their collections.

An exclusive Shane Williams figure in his Japanese club kit, which sold in a charity auction for an impressive £1,500, is thought to be one of the most expensive Groggs models ever sold so far.

Encouraging participation

As avid sports fans, the Hughes family would be delighted if their work inspired people to get involved with sport. If you’re keen to start training, there are many services available, including Sportplan, who has put together a selection of rugby drill training video programs to encourage participation, develop skills and boost confidence.

A snowballing collection

Knowing he had always enjoyed Groggs, Andy South’s wife suggested that he invest the money saved by stopping smoking into building his collection. One of his most valuable figures was a £5 charity shop find, and the model, depicting Jonathan Thomas, is currently worth around £500. The most he has ever paid was at a charity auction, when he snapped up an exclusive figure of Craig Bellamy, a former Wales footballer, for £350.

Consistent demand

Many companies have offered to mass produce Groggs figures over the last decade, but it remains a small, family-run operation. Richard Hughes spends around eight weeks sculpting each model and has a team of five painters painstakingly colouring and finishing each figure to the highest standard.