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Ask the Expert - Force India's Giancarlo Fisichella 29 May 2009

Giancarlo Fisichella (ITA) Force India F1.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 6, Monaco Grand Prix, Preparations, Monte-Carlo, Monaco, Wednesday, 20 May 2009 Giancarlo Fisichella (ITA) Force India F1 VJM02.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 6, Monaco Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Monte-Carlo, Monaco, Saturday, 23 May 2009 Giancarlo Fisichella (ITA) Force India F1 at the celebrity football match.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 6, Monaco Grand Prix, Monte-Carlo, Monaco, Tuesday, 19 May 2009 Giancarlo Fisichella (ITA) Jordan.
Formula One World Championship, Rd3, Brazilian Grand Prix, Interlagos, Brazil, 4 April 2003 Nicolas Cage (USA) on the grid with Giancarlo Fisichella (ITA) Renault.
Formula One World Championship, Rd1, Australian Grand Prix, Race Day, Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia, 6 March 2005

Which cricket team does Dr Vijay Mallya own? Why does German driver Adrian Sutil enjoy support from Uruguay? What gift did Hollywood star Nicolas Cage bestow on the winner of the 2005 Australian Grand Prix? And which Italian driver scored the Jordan team’s first points? These are just some of the questions we thought Force India’s Giancarlo Fisichella would take in his stride after he agreed to be the latest participant in our personal trivia test, ‘Ask the Expert’...

Q: You were born in Rome, a city that loves football. In which year did Rome last host the World Cup final, and who won?
Giancarlo Fisichella:
Brazil or Argentina? No?
Incorrect - it was 1990 and West Germany won.

Q: Only one Italian has scored more points than you - Riccardo Patrese, with 281 to your 267. Jarno Trulli is next up with 228.5, but who are the only four other Italians have scored more than 100 points?
For sure Michele Alboreto, Nino Farina, Alberto Ascari maybe. Another one? Elio de Angelis.
Correct - Alboreto (186.5), Ascari (140.14), De Angelis (122) and Farina (127.33).

Q: Your first F1 podium was a third place for Jordan at the 1997 Canadian Grand Prix. Which two drivers finished ahead of you?
Schumacher. Who was with me on the podium? Panis had an accident… I don’t remember.
One out of two - Schumacher won, second was Benetton’s Jean Alesi.

Q: Your boss Dr Vijay Mallya loves cricket as well as Formula One racing. Which Indian Premier League team does he own?
Kingfisher team? No, wait a minute: Royal Challengers?
Correct - Royal Challengers Bangalore

Q: Force India’s test driver and fellow Italian Vitantonio Liuzzi scored a record seven wins during his F3000 days. With which two F1 drivers - one past, one present - does he share that record?
I don’t know.
Incorrect - BMW Sauber’s Nick Heidfeld and former McLaren driver Juan Pablo Montoya.

Q: Your team mate Adrian Sutil is German, but why does he also enjoy support from Uruguay?
His father is from Uruguay.
Correct - and his mother is German-born.

Q: Your former team boss at Renault, Flavio Briatore, is part of a consortium that bought a British football club in 2007. Which team did he buy?
Correct - London’s Queens Park Rangers Football Club

Q: In 2005 you wowed crowds in Rome. But which historic landmark did you drive around? And for a bonus point, what events did the Ancient Romans hold there?
Circus Maximus
Correct, but no bonus point - the Circus Maximus was used by the ancient Romans for public games, particularly chariot racing.

Q: Although Ferrari have won more than their fair share of Italian Grands Prix, who was the last Italian to win their home race?
Must have been way back. I was born in 1973 so it must have been before that year.
Incorrect - in 1966, Ludovico Scarfiotti, a relative unknown, won an unexpected victory for Ferrari in front of his home crowd.

Q: You started your Formula One career at Minardi, but didn’t score any points for the team. One of your contemporaries, however, scored two points during his debut season with them. Can you name him?
Correct - Mark Webber scored two for his fifth place at the 2002 Australian Grand Prix.

Q: You are a fan of A.S. Roma, but can you explain why a common nickname for the team is I lupi (the wolves)?
The lupa is the logo of A.S. Rome.
Correct - the club’s badge shows a female wolf with the two infant brothers Romulus and Remus, who in Roman mythology were the founders of Rome.

Q: If your team mate Sutil hadn’t become a racing driver, what would his most likely profession have been?
Playing piano
Correct - a concert pianist.

Q: In 2008, for the first time you failed to score a single point all season. What was your best qualifying performance and your best race finish?
Qualifying was 11th in Monza and best result was 10th in Barcelona.
Close but only half marks - best qualifying was 12th at Monza.

Q: While you celebrated your 200th race start at the last year’s Monaco Grand Prix, another veteran, Rubens Barrichello, marked a milestone at the 2008 Turkish Grand Prix. What was he celebrating?
He became the record holder of the most Grand Prix starts. 257.
Correct - he surpassed the record of 256 starts, held by Riccardo Patrese since 1993. To mark the occasion, Barrichello’s car and helmet featured a specially designed ‘257’ livery throughout the Istanbul weekend.

Q: You clinched your first Formula One victory at the 2003 Brazilian Grand Prix at Interlagos. But who is the most successful driver - in terms of victories - to have raced there?
Good guess, correct - Michael Schumacher scored four wins, in 1994, 1995, 2000 and 2002.

Q: You were awarded the Lorenzo Bandini trophy in 1998. But which fellow Italians have also won the award?
Trulli. More than one?
Just one out of three - Trulli won in 2000, Ivan Capelli in 1992, and Luca di Montezemolo in 1996.

Q: You spent three seasons racing for Jordan and took a win for the team at the 2003 Brazilian Grand Prix. But how many wins did the team score overall?
Eight? Ah, I guess it was half that. So make it four.
Correct - in addition to Fisichella’s win, Heinz-Harald Frentzen won twice in 1999 at the French and Italian Grands Prix, and Damon Hill won in Belgium in 1998.

Q: After you won the 2005 Australian Grand Prix, Hollywood star Nicolas Cage reportedly handed you a gift. What was it?
His hat.

Q: You have said you’re a fan of Dolce and Gabbana clothes. But what are Mr Dolce and Mr Gabbana’s first names?
Stefano and Domenico
Correct - Stefano Gabbana and Domenico Dolce.

Q: You scored your first points with Jordan in 1997, but can you name the Italian driver who scored Jordan’s first points?
Schumacher? No? Could that have been De Cesaris?
Correct - Andrea de Cesaris finished the 1991 Canadian Grand Prix fourth, ahead of team mate Bertrand Gachot.

Final score: 21 points from a possible 31
Ask the Expert rating: 68%

Current leader board:
1. Mark Webber - 84%
2. Sebastien Buemi - 72%
3. Robert Kubica - 70%
4. Jenson Button - 69%
5. Giancarlo Fisichella - 68%
6. Nico Rosberg - 66%
7= Sebastian Vettel - 64%
7= Rubens Barrichello - 64%
9. Nick Heidfeld - 57%

More drivers coming soon.