Jackie Stewart OBE

Scottish former racing driver Sir John Young ‘Jackie’ Stewart, OBE was born 11th June 1939. Nicknamed the ‘Flying Scot’, he competed in Formula One between 1965 and 1973, winning three World Drivers’ Championships. He also competed in Can-Am. He is well known in the United States as a color commentator (pundit) of racing television broadcasts, and as a spokesman for Ford, where his Scottish accent has made him a distinctive presence. Between 1997 and 1999, in partnership with his son, Paul, he was team principal of the Stewart Grand Prix Formula One racing team. In 2009 he was ranked fifth of the fifty greatest Formula One drivers of all time and is considered one of the greatest figures of motor racing.”

His racing career began In 1964 when he drove in Formula Three for Tyrrell. His debut, in the wet at Snetterton on 15 March, was dominant, taking an astounding 25 second lead in just two laps before coasting home to a win on a 44 second cushion. Within days, he was offered a Formula One ride with Cooper, but declined, preferring to gain experience under Tyrrell; he failed to win just two races and became F3 champion. After running John Coombs’ E-type and practising in a Ferrari at Le Mans, he took a trial in an F1 Lotus 33-Climax, in which he impressed Colin Chapman and Jim Clark. Stewart went to the Lotus Formula Two team and In his F2 debut, he was second at the difficult Clermont-Ferrand circuit in a Lotus 32-Cosworth. While he signed with BRM alongside Graham Hill in 1965 his first race in an F1 car was for Lotus, as stand-in for an injured Clark, in December 1964; the Lotus broke during the first race, but won the second. On his F1 debut in South Africa, he scored his first Championship point, finishing sixth. His first major competition victory came in the BRDC International Trophy in the late spring, and before the end of the year he won his first World Championship race at Monza, fighting wheel-to-wheel with teammate Hill’s P261. Stewart finished his rookie season with three seconds, a third, a fifth, and a sixth, and third place in the World Drivers’ Championship.

He also piloted Tyrrell’s unsuccessful F2 Cooper T75-BRM, and ran the Rover Company’s revolutionary turbine car at Le Mans. 1966 saw him almost win the Indianapolis 500 on his first attempt, in John Mecom’s Lola T90-Ford, only to be denied by a broken scavenge pump while leading by over a lap with eight laps to go; however, Stewart’s performance, having had the race fully in hand and sidelined only by mechanical failure, won him Rookie of the Year honours despite the winner, Graham Hill, also being an Indianapolis rookie. Also, in 1966, a crash triggered his fight for improved safety in racing. On lap one of the 1966 Belgian Grand Prix at Spa-Francorchamps, when sudden rain caused many crashes, he found himself trapped in his overturned BRM, getting soaked by leaking fuel. The marshals had no tools to help him. Since then, a main switch for electrics and a removable steering wheel have become standard. Also, noticing the long and slow transport to a hospital, he brought his own doctor to future races, while the BRM supplied a medical truck for the benefit of all. It was a poor year all around; the BRMs were notoriously unreliable, although Stewart did win the Monaco Grand Prix. Stewart had some success in other forms of racing during the year, winning the 1966 Tasman Series and the 1966 Rothmans 12 Hour International Sports Car Race. BRM’s fortunes did not improve in 1967, during which Stewart came no higher than second at Spa, though he won F2 events for Tyrrell at Karlskoga, Enna, Oulton Park, and Albi. He also placed 2nd driving a works-entered Ferrari driving with Chris Amon at the BOAC 6 Hours at Brands Hatch, the 10th round of World Sportscar Championship at the time.

In Formula One, he switched to Tyrrell’s Matra International team for the 1968 and 1969 seasons. Skill (and improving tyres from Dunlop) brought a win in heavy rain at Zandvoort. Another win in rain and fog at the Nürburgring, where he won by a margin of four minutes. He also won at Watkins Glen, but missed Jarama and Monaco due to an F2 injury at Jarama. His car failed at Mexico City, and so lost the driving title to Hill. In 1969, Stewart had a number of races where he completely dominated the opposition, such as winning by over 2 laps at Montjuïc, a whole minute at Clemont-Ferrand and more than a lap at Silverstone. With additional wins at Kyalami, Zandvoort, and Monza, Stewart became world champion in 1969 in a Matra MS80-Cosworth. Until September 2005, when Fernando Alonso in a Renault became champion, he was the only driver to have won the championship driving for a French marque and, as Alonso’s Renault was built in the UK, Stewart remains the only driver to win the world championship in a French-built car. For 1970, Matra (since taken over by Chrysler) insisted on using their own V12 engines, while Tyrrell and Stewart wanted to keep the Cosworths as well as the good connection to Ford. As a consequence, the Tyrrell team bought a chassis from March Engineering; Stewart took the March 701-Cosworth to wins at the Daily Mail Race of Champions and Jarama, but was soon overcome by Lotus’ new 72.

The new Tyrrell 001-Cosworth initially had a few problems, but things improved during 1971, so Stewart stayed on. Tyrrell continued to be sponsored by French fuel company Elf, and Stewart raced in a car painted French Racing Blue for many years. Stewart also continued to race sporadically in Formula Two, winning at the Crystal Palace and placing at Thruxton.A projected Le Mans appearance, to co-drive the 4.5 litre Porsche 917K with Steve McQueen, did not come off, for McQueen’s inability to get insurance. He also raced Can-Am, in the revolutionary Chaparral 2J. Stewart achieved pole position in 2 events, ahead of the dominant McLarens, but the chronic unreliability of the 2J prevented Stewart from finishing any races. Stewart went on to win the Formula One world championship in 1971 using the excellent Tyrrell 003-Cosworth, winning Spain, Monaco, France, Britain, Germany, and Canada. He also did a full season in Can-Am, driving a Carl Haas sponsored Lola T260-Chevrolet. and again in 1973. During the 1971 Can-Am series, Stewart was the only driver able to challenge the McLarens driven by Dennis Hulme and Peter Revson. Stewart won 2 races; at Mont Treblant and Mid Ohio. Stewart finished 3rd in the 1971 Can-Am Drivers Championship.

Unfortunately The stress of racing year round, and on several continents eventually caused medical problems for Stewart. During the 1972 Grand Prix season he missed Spa, due to gastritis, and had to cancel plans to drive a Can-Am McLaren, but won the Argentine, French, U.S., and Canadian Grands Prix, to come second to Emerson Fittipaldi in the drivers’ standings. Stewart also competed in a Ford Capri RS2600 in the European Touring Car Championship, with F1 teammate François Cevert and other F1 pilots, at a time where the competition between Ford and BMW was at a height. Stewart shared a Capri with F1 Tyrrell teammate François Cevert in the 1972 6 hours of Paul Ricard, finishing second. He also received an OBE. Entering the 1973 season, Stewart had decided to retire. He nevertheless won at South Africa, Belgium, Monaco, Holland, and Austria. His last (and then record-setting) 27th victory came at the Nürburgring with a convincing 1-2 for Tyrrell. “Nothing gave me more satisfaction than to win at the Nürburgring and yet, I was always afraid.” Stewart later said. “When I left home for the German Grand Prix I always used to pause at the end of the driveway and take a long look back. I was never sure I’d come home again.” After the fatal crash of his teammate François Cevert in practice for the 1973 United States Grand Prix at Watkins Glen, Stewart retired one race earlier than intended and missed what would have been his 100th GP. Stewart held the record for most wins by a Formula One driver (27) for 14 years (broken by Alain Prost in 1987) and the record for most wins by a British Formula One driver for 19 years (broken by Nigel Mansell in 1992).

Ayrton Senna

Generally regarded as one of the greatest F1 drivers to have raced, the Brazilian driver & three-time Formula One world champion Ayrton Senna was tragically killed 1st May 1994 in a crash at Tamburello corner while leading the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix at Imola. Senna was born in Santana near Sao Paulo on 21st March 1960 and began his motorsport career in karting, moving up to open-wheel racing in 1981, and winning the British Formula 3 championship in 1983.

Ayrton Senna began his motorsport career in karting, moving up to open-wheel racing in 1981, and winning the British Formula 3 championship in 1983. He made his Formula One debut with Toleman-Hart in 1984 before moving to Lotus-Renault the following year and winning six Grands Prix over the next three seasons. In 1988, he joined Frenchman Alain Prost at McLaren-Honda. Between them, they won all but one of the 16 Grands Prix that year and Senna his first World Championship. Prost claimed the championship in 1989, and Senna his second and third championships in 1990 and 1991. In 1992, the Williams-Renault combination began to dominate Formula One. Senna nonetheless managed to finish the 1993 season as runner-up, winning five races and negotiating a move to Williams in 1994. Senna was recognised for his qualifying speed over one lap and from 1989 until 2006 held the record for most pole positions.

He was especially quick in wet conditions, as shown by his performances in the 1984 Monaco Grand Prix, the 1985 Portuguese Grand Prix, and the 1993 European Grand Prix. He also holds the record for most victories at the prestigious Monaco Grand Prix – six – and is the third most successful driver of all time in terms of race wins. Senna courted controversy throughout his career, particularly during his turbulent rivalry with Alain Prost. Both the 1989 Championship won by Prost and the 1990 Championship won by Senna were decided by collisions between them at those years’ Japanese Grands Prix.

Stirling Moss OBE FIE🏁🏎

Former English race car driver Stirling Moss OBE FIE (Fellow of the Institute of Engineers) , sadly died 12 April 2020. He was born September 17th 1929 . Moss was a pioneer in the British Formula One racing scene and placed second in the Drivers’ Championship four times in a row from 1955 to 1958 and won 212 of the 529 races he entered, including 16 Formula One Grands Prix.Moss’s first Formula One win was in 1955 at his home race, the British Grand Prix at Aintree. His Mercedes-Benz W196 led home a 1–2–3–4 win for the German marque. This victory made Moss the first British driver to win the British Grand Prix. It was the first race where he finished in front of Juan Manuel Fangio, his teammate, friend, mentor, and arch rival at Mercedes.One of his best remembered drives was in the 1955 Mille Miglia, which he won in the record time of 10 hours 7 minutes 48 seconds, finishing almost half an hour ahead of teammate Fangio in second place

In 1957 Moss won on the longest circuit to ever hold a Grand Prix, the daunting 25 km (16 mi) Pescara Circuit, again demonstrating his skills at high speed, long distance driving. He beat Fangio, who started on pole, by a little over 3 minutes over the course of a gruelling 3 hour event. In the 1960 Formula One season, Moss took the top step of the podium at Monaco, winning in Rob Walker’s Coventry-Climax-powered Lotus 18. For the 1961 F1 season, which was run under the new 1.5-litre rules, Enzo Ferrari rolled out his state-of-the-art “sharknose” Ferrari 156 with an all-new V6. Moss was stuck with an underpowered Climax-engined Lotus, but managed to win the 1961 Monaco Grand Prix by 3.6 seconds (beating the 156s of Richie Ginther, Wolfgang von Trips, and Phil Hill).

Sadly though, I n 1962, Moss was badly injured in a crash at Goodwood in a Lotus in the Glover Trophy. The accident put him in a coma for one month and partially paralyzed the left side of his body for six months. He recovered but decided to retire from racing after a private test session in a Lotus 19 the next year. He would compete in as many as 62 races in a single year and drove 84 different makes of car over the course of his racing career, including Lotus, Vanwall, Maserati, Jaguar, Ferrari and Porsche. Like many drivers of the era, he competed in several formulae—very often on the same day and was as gifted at the wheel of a sports car as he was in a Grand Prix car. For three consecutive years (1958–1960) he won the gruelling 1,000 km (620 mi) race at Germany’s Nürburgring, the first two years in an Aston Martin (where he won almost single-handedly) and the third in the memorable Tipo 61 “birdcage” Maserati, co-driving with young American prospect Dan Gurney. Moss was also a competent rally driver and is one of only three people to have won a Coupe d’Or (Gold Cup) for three consecutive penalty-free runs on the Alpine Rally (Coupe des Alpes). In addition, he finished second in the 1952 Monte Carlo Rally driving a Sunbeam-Talbot 90 with co-driver John Cooper. He retired in 1962 after a crash left him in a coma for a month, as afterwards he felt unable to continue driving at a professional level. In spite of this early retirement he has remained a well-known figure

Sabine Schmitz🏁🏎

German professional motor racing driver and television personality Sabine Schmitz sadly died 16 March 2021 following a battle with “an extremely persistent cancer”. She was born in Adenau Germany 14 May 1969. Schmitz and her two elder sisters grew up in the “Hotel am Tiergarten” (in the basement of which is the Pistenklause restaurant) in Nürburg within the Nürburgring Nordschleife. Following occasional drives with the family car on the Nordschleife, all three Schmitz sisters started racing, however only Sabine continued and collected victories. Schmitz won in CHC and VLN race events, the VLN endurance racing championship in 1998. she won the 24 Hours Nürburgring in 1996 and 1997 as Sabine Reck, all with a BMW M3 Group N entered and co-driven by local veteran Johannes Scheid. In 2006 Schmitz and Klaus Abbelen drove the #97 Porsche 997 in the Nürburgring VLN endurance racing series, entered by Land Motorsport and  finished third in the 24h in 2008

Schmitz also trained as a Hotelfachfrau (graduate in hotel and catering business) and sommelière. During her marriage to a hotelier she lived in Pulheim, but after her divorce in 2000, up until 2003, she owned a bar-restaurant in Nürburg named the Fuchsröhre (Foxhole) after a track section. She was also a qualified helicopter pilot.

Schmitz came to mass public attention driving one of the two BMW M5 “ring taxis” around the 20.8 km-long race track in an entertaining manner. Schmitz went around the track more than 20,000 times, increasing by approximately 1,200 per year. Her familiarity with the circuit earned her the nicknames “Queen of the Nürburgring” and “the fastest taxi driver in the world”. She said her favourite parts of the track are the Schwedenkreuz (“Swedish Cross”) and Fuchsröhre (“Fox Hole”). Schmitz’s company, Nürburgring-based Sabine Schmitz Motorsport, offers advanced driver training and a “ring taxi” service for passengers. Schmitz herself ceased driving the “ring taxi” in 2011.

As a result of her popularity as “the fastest taxi driver in the world”, and her charisma, Schmitz became an occasional motorsport guest commentator, known for her gleefully dry descriptions of driving incidents. Since September 2006, Schmitz has co-hosted a motoring show on German television, D Motor on the DMAX TV channel. In each show, she takes on another challenge, for example Schmitz in a Ferrari 360 vs. a 1200 hp Race Truck, or Schmitz in a Formula Renault race car vs. a race sidecar. 

Her first appearance on British television was on the 2002 BBC programme Jeremy Clarkson: Meets the Neighbours, where she took Clarkson around the Nürburgring in the “ring taxi”. In 2004, Schmitz gained further recognition in the United Kingdom after appearing in Top Gear guiding presenter Jeremy Clarkson around the Nürburgring in a Jaguar S-Type diesel, in which he set a lap time of 9 minutes 59 seconds. Prompting her to comment “I tell you something, I do that lap time in a van”. She later did a lap in the Jaguar S-Type, and set a time of 9 minutes 12 seconds, beating him by 47 seconds and also drove a Ford Transit diesel van round the Nurburgring to prove her point and was just 9 seconds slower

In March 2015, The Guardian featured a satirical article calling for Schmitz to be the new presenter of Top Gear, concluding that “She has appeared from time to time on Top Gear in the past, and shown herself to possess exactly the right mix of knowledge and boisterousness for the job every time. Plus, she is both German and a woman, a combination of traits so alien to the majority of Top Gear viewers that the whole show would probably self-destruct within an hour of her taking the job”. Schmitz was selected as a presenter on the revamped Top Gear and has also appeared on Fifth Gear.

Tom Chilton

British Touring Car driver and Hairdressing Legend Tom Chilton was born 15th March 1985. Tom was educated at Reigate St. Mary’s School and Shiplake College. A keen racer from an early age, he competed in the BRSCC T-Cars Championship in 1999 and 2000, going on to take the BRSCC Saloon Car winter championship in 2001.Turning his attention to the BTCC, he was team mate to ex-Superbike racer Aaron Slight in 2002 driving a Vauxhall Astra Coupé for Barwell Motorsport. He proved to be very quick, and although his lack of experience counted against him he nevertheless finished the season in 15th place overall and 5th in the Independents’ Cup.

In 2003 he finished in 9th place overall driving a works Honda Civic Type-R run by Arena Motorsport alongside Matt Neal and Alan Morrison. With Honda withdrawing manufacturer support for 2004, Arena only had the budget to run a single car for Chilton. However, the car was still well-prepared and he came through to take his first victory during the 9th race of the season, at Silverstone, in the process becoming the youngest winner of a BTCC race. He won again in the 29th race at Donington. His plans for 2005 centered around the DTM with a new programme backed by MG Rover, but this fell through with the demise of the British marque. He and Arena rejoined the BTCC at the second meeting of the season and combined his touring car duties with racing for Zytek in the ALMS and LMS endurance series. Chilton won in both ALMS and LMS racing. He was classified 5th in the 2005 British Touring Car Championship season despite only starting 24 of the 30 races. Chilton’s involvement with Zytek continued, subject to funding and availability; Tom and his brother Max drove the car at the Silverstone 1000 km in September 2007.

VX Racing signed him for 2006 to drive the #5 Vauxhall Astra Sport Hatch. In a disappointing season for Vauxhall, Chilton never won a race and slipped to 7th overall. However, Vauxhall retained Chilton and Fabrizio Giovanardi for 2007, but Chilton did not want to stay at VX Racing in 2008.For 2009 Chilton returned to Arena Motorsport to drive a Ford Focus ST in the BTCC under the Team Aon banner, but spent much of the year developing the car and he ended the season 13th in the drivers’ standings. He remained with the team for 2010. The LPG-powered car was more competitive, taking four of the first five poles, but bad luck meant team-mate Tom Onslow-Cole took better results than Chilton initially. Both were on the podium in race two at Snetterton. At Silverstone the team was dominant, and Chilton was allowed to take both wins ahead of team-mate Tom Onslow-Cole, who finished ahead in the overall drivers’ championship but Chilton secured the Independents’ Trophy by a two point margin over Steven Kane.For 2011 the team developed a new car based on the new third generation Ford Focus which ran to Super 2000 regulations powered by an NGTC turbocharged engine. Results were poor initially as the car was developed but Chilton took the car to pole position at Knockhill, going on to win race one. He also won the final race of the season at Silverstone. He finished the year 7th in the drivers’ championship on 197 points.

Chilton made his debut in the World Touring Car Championship in 2012, driving for the Arena Motorsport team with their Ford Focus S2000 TC alongside fellow WTCC debutant James Nash. Although he was new to the championship, Chilton was ruled out of the Yokohama Trophy due to his experience in the BTCC as both a privateer and a works driver. In race one in Morocco, he scored the first points for Ford in their WTCC return after coming home in seventh place.He scored another point in race two in Slovakia. Chilton was given a five place grid penalty for a collision during qualifying for the Race of Austria, he locked up down the inside of Franz Engstler and made contact, putting Engstler out of Q1.An engine change for both Fords at the Race of Japan sent Chilton to the back of the grid for the first race. In the final race at Macau, Chilton lost control in the oil left on the track from Alex MacDowall’s collision with the barrier on lap 4, the subsequent crash forced him to retire. Chilton finishes 22nd in the drivers’ standings, two places behind team mate Nash. Chilton moved to RML for the 2013 season, driving a Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T alongside former world champion Yvan Muller.

He was also one of many racing drivers rumoured to be The Stig on BBC2 show Top Gear, after the previous Stig revealed his identity and has appeared in five series of Top Gear. He was one of the drivers in the People Carrier Race. He then again appeared as one of the drivers in the Toyota Aygo football match and also raced a Chevrolet motorhome with other touring car drivers as well as Richard Hammond and has also raced (and then rolled over) a double decker bus, and had earlier on in the episode raced against Jeremy Clarkson whilst driving a BMW M3. He has also appeared in Top Gear, racing against other touring car drivers, driving many other vehicles including, airport vehicles, buses and taxis, with most of these races ending in absolute carnage.

Alain Prost OBE

French racing driver Alain Prost, OBE, Chevalier de la Légion d’honneur, was born 24th February 1955 in Lorette, Loire. He is A highly successful four-time Formula One Drivers’ Champion, Having won the World Championship in 1985; 1986; 1989 & 1993 Prost has won more titles than any driver except for Juan Manuel Fangio (five championships), and Michael Schumacher (seven championships). From 1987 until 2001 Prost held the record for most Grand Prix victories. Schumacher surpassed Prost’s total of 51 victories at the 2001 Belgian Grand Prix. In 1999, Prost received the World Sports Awards of the Century in the motor sport category.

Prost discovered karting at the age of 14 during a family holiday. He progressed through motor sport’s junior ranks, winning the French and European Formula Three championships, before joining the McLaren Formula One team in 1980 at the age of 25. He finished in the points on his Formula One début in Argentina and took his first race victory at his home Grand Prix in France a year later, while he was driving for the factory Renault team.

During the 1980s and early 1990s, Prost faced fierce rivalry from Ayrton Senna, Nelson Piquet and Nigel Mansell. In 1986, at the last race of the season, he managed to pip Mansell and Piquet of Williams to the title after Mansell retired late on in the race, and Piquet was pulled in for a late precautionary pit stop. Senna joined Prost at McLaren in 1988 and the two had a series of controversial clashes, including a collision at the 1989 Japanese Grand Prix that gave Prost his third Drivers’ Championship. A year later at the same venue they collided again, but this time Prost, driving for Ferrari, lost out. Before the end of a winless 1991 season Prost was fired by Ferrari for his public criticism of the team. After a sabbatical in 1992, Prost joined the Williams team, prompting reigning drivers’ champion Mansell to leave for CART. With a competitive car, Prost won the 1993 championship and retired from driving at the end of the year.

In 1997, Prost took over the French Ligier team, running it as Prost Grand Prix until it went bankrupt in 2002. He currently competes in the Andros Trophy, which is an ice racing championship. Prost employed a smooth, relaxed style behind the wheel, deliberately modeling himself on personal heroes like Jackie Stewart and Jim Clark. He was nicknamed “The Professor” for his intellectual approach to competition. Skilled at setting up his car for race conditions, Prost would often conserve his brakes and tyres early on in a race, leaving them fresher for a challenge at the end.

Niki Lauda

Formula One legend Niki Lauda was born on 22 February 1949 in Vienna, Austria, His paternal grandfather was the Viennese-born businessman Hans Lauda. Lauda became a racing driver despite his family’s disapproval. After starting out with a Mini, Lauda moved on into Formula Vee, but rapidly moved up to drive in private Porsche and Chevron sports cars. Then he got into the fledgling March team as a Formula Two (F2) driver in 1971. He was quickly promoted to the F1 team, but drove for March in F1 and F2 in 1972. Although the F2 cars were good March’s 1972 F1 season was catastrophic so Lauda, joined the BRM team in 1973. Lauda was instantly quick. However his big break came when his BRM teammate Clay Regazzoni left to rejoin Ferrari in 1974 and team owner Enzo Ferrari asked Regazzoni to suggest a replacement and he recommended Lauda.

During the 1970s, Ferrari s fortunes revived under Luca di Montezemolo and Lauda finished second-place at the 1970 Argentine Grand Prix and won the Spanish Grand Prix after achieving six consecutive pole positions however, a mixture of inexperience and mechanical unreliability meant Lauda won only one more race that year, the Dutch GP. He finished fourth in the Drivers’ Championship.The 1975 F1 season started slowly for Lauda, not finishing higher than fifth in the first four races but he then won four out of the next five races in the new Ferrari 312T. His first World Championship was confirmed with a third place finish at the Italian Grand Prix at Monza; Lauda’s teammate Regazzoni won the race and Ferrari clinched their first constructor’s championship. Lauda won the race of the year, the United States GP. He also became the first driver to lap the Nürburgring Nordschleife in under 7 minutes. Never one to be awed by the trappings of success, Lauda famously gave away any trophies he won to his local garage in exchange for his car to be washed and serviced. despite tensions between Lauda and di Montezemolo’s successor, Daniele Audetto, Lauda dominated the start of the 1976 F1 season, winning four of the first six races and finishing second in the other two. By the time of his fifth win of the year at the British GP, he had more than double the points of his closest challengers Jody Scheckter and James Hunt, and a second consecutive World Championship appeared a formality. It would be a feat not achieved since Jack Brabham’s victories in 1959 and 1960. He also looked set to win the most races in a season, a record held by the late Jim Clark since 1963.

A week before the 1976 German Grand Prix at the Nürburgring, Lauda urged his fellow drivers to boycott the race, largely due to the 23 kilometre circuit’s safety arrangements. Most of the other drivers voted against the boycott and the race went ahead. On 1 August 1976 during the second lap at the very fast left kink before Bergwerk, Lauda’s Ferrari swerved off the track, hit an embankment, burst into flames and rolled back into the path of Brett Lunger’s Surtees-Ford car. Unlike Lunger, Lauda was trapped in the wreckage. Drivers Arturo Merzario, Lunger, Guy Edwards and Harald Ertl arrived at the scene a few moments later, but before they were able to pull Lauda from his car, he suffered severe burns to his head and inhaled hot toxic gases that damaged his lungs and blood. As Lauda was wearing a modified helmet, the foam had compressed and it slid off his head after the accident, leaving his face exposed to the fire. Although Lauda was conscious and able to stand immediately after the accident, he later lapsed into a coma. Lauda suffered extensive scarring from the burns to his head, losing most of his right ear as well as the hair on the right side of his head, his eyebrows and his eyelids. He chose to limit reconstructive surgery to replacing the eyelids and getting them to work properly. Since the accident he has always worn a cap to cover the scars on his head.

Lauda was replaced by Carlos Reutemann and Ferrari boycotted the Austrian GP in protest against McLaren driver James Hunt at the Spanish and British GPs. Surprisingly, Lauda returned to race only six weeks (two races) later, at Monza and finished fourth in the Italian GP where he wore a specially adapted AGV crash helmet so as to not be in too much discomfort. In Lauda’s absence, Hunt had reduced Lauda’s lead in the World Championship standings and stood three points behind Lauda before the final race of the season, the Japanese GP. Lauda qualified third, one place behind Hunt, but retired after two laps. Hunt led much of the race before his tires blistered and an inevitable pit stop dropped him down the order. He recovered to 3rd, and won the title by a single point. Niki Lauda’s incredible rivalry with James Hunt is also the subject of the film Rush starring Chris Hemsworth. Lauda had a difficult 1977 season, despite winning the championship. Lauda disliked his new teammate, Reutemann, and felt he had been let down by Ferrari so he announced his decision to quit Ferrari at season’s end, Lauda left earlier due to the team’s decision to run the unknown Gilles Villeneuve in a third car at the Canadian Grand Prix. Five years after his first retirement, Lauda won his third title driving a McLaren MP4/2. having joined Brabham in 1978 for a $1 million salary, Lauda endured two unsuccessful seasons, notable mainly for his one race in the Brabham BT46B, a radical design known as the Fan Car: it won its first and only race at the Swedish GP, but Brabham did not use the car in F1 again; after other teams vigorously protested the fan car’s legality. Lauda next drove the Brabham BT46 Alfa Romeo which began the 1978 season at the third race in South Africa. The BT46 suffered from a variety of mostly minor troubles that forced Lauda to retire the car 9 out of 14 races. However, when it ran it ran well, with Lauda winning the sole outing of the fan car in Sweden, and also winning in Italy, as well as 2nd in Montreal and Great Britain, and a 3rd in the Netherlands. At the 1979 Canadian Grand Prix, Lauda informed Brabham that he wished to retire immediately, as he had no more desire to “drive around in circles”. Lauda, who had founded a charter airline, returned to Austria to run the company full-time.

In 1982 Lauda returned to racing, feeling that he still had a career in Formula One. After a successful test with McLaren, the only problem was in convincing then team sponsor Marlboro that he was still capable of winning. Lauda won the Long Beach Grand Prix. Before the race at the Kyalami race track in South Africa, Lauda organised a ‘drivers’ strike over the new contracts, and The drivers, with the exception of Teo Fabi, barricaded themselves in a banqueting suite at Sunnyside Park Hotel until they won. Lauda won a third world championship in 1984 by half a point over teammate Alain Prost, due only to half points being awarded for the shortened 1984 Monaco Grand Prix. he also won the Austrian Grand Prix. Initially, Lauda did not want Prost to become his teammate, as he presented a much faster rival.

However, during the two seasons together, they had a good relationship. The whole season continued to be dominated by Lauda and Prost, who won 12 of 16 races. Lauda won five races, while Prost was able to win seven Grands Prix. However, Lauda, who was able to set records for most Pole Position in a season during the 1975 season, rarely matched his teammate in qualifying. Despite this, Lauda’s championship win came in Estoril, when he had to start in eleventh place on the grid, while Prost qualified on the front row. However, Lauda was able to come in second and claimed the title. 1985 was a poor season for Lauda, with eleven retirements from the fourteen races he started. He did not start the Belgian Grand Prix at Spa-Francorchamps after crashing and breaking his wrist during practice, and he later missed the European Grand Prix at Brands Hatch. He did manage 4th at the San Marino Grand Prix, 5th at the German Grand Prix, and a single race win at the Dutch Grand Prix. This proved to be his last Grand Prix victory and also the last Formula One Grand Prix held in the Netherlands and in 1985 Lauda retired.

Other Birthdays and Anniversaries happening on 22 February

British soldier, author, and Scout movement founder Robert Baden-Powell, was born 22nd February 1857 (d. 1941)
born 22nd February 1889 – Olave Baden-Powell, English founder of the Girl Guide (d. 1977

born 22nd February 1918 – Robert Pershing Wadlow, World’s tallest ever human (d. 1940)
English singer/songwriter James Blunt, born 22nd February 1974
English radio DJ Chris Moyles, was born 22nd February1974
American actress Drew Barrymore, was born 22nd February 1975

Enzo Ferrari

Italian motor racing legend and entrepreneur, the founder of the Scuderia Ferrari Grand Prix motor racing team and Ferrari automobile marque Enzo Ferrari, was born February 18, 1898 in Modena, Italy. Ferrari grew up with little formal education but a strong desire to race cars. At the age of 10 and seeing 1908 Circuit di Bologna, he decided to become a racing Driver.During World War I he was assigned to the third Alpine Artillery division of the Italian Army. His father Alfredo, as well as his older brother, also named Alfredo, died in 1916 as a result of a widespread Italian flu outbreak. Ferrari became severely ill himself in the 1918 flu pandemic and was consequently discharged from Italian service. Upon returning home he found that the family firm had collapsed. Having no other job prospects, Ferrari eventually settled for a job at a smaller car company called CMN (Costruzioni Meccaniche Nazionali), redesigning used truck bodies into small passenger cars. He took up racing in 1919 on the CMN team, but had little initial success.

He left CMN in 1920 to work at Alfa Romeo and racing their cars in local races he had more success. In 1923, racing in Ravenna, he acquired the Prancing Horse badge which decorated the fuselage of Francesco Baracca’s (Italy’s leading ace of WWI) SPAD S.XIII fighter, given from his mother, taken from the wreckage of the plane after his mysterious death. This icon would have to wait until 1932 to be displayed on a racing car.In 1924 Ferrari won the Coppa Acerbo at Pescara. His successes in local races encouraged Alfa to offer him a chance of much more prestigious competition. Ferrari turned this opportunity down and did not race again until 1927. He continued to work directly for Alfa Romeo until 1929 before starting Scuderia Ferrari as the racing team for Alfa.Ferrari managed the development of the factory Alfa cars, and built up a team of over forty drivers, including Giuseppe Campari and Tazio Nuvolari. Ferrari himself continued racing until 1932.

The support of Alfa Romeo lasted until 1933. Only at the intervention of Pirelli did Ferrari receive any cars at all. Despite the quality of the Scuderia drivers, the company won few victories. Auto Union and Mercedes dominated the era, but Ferrari achieved a notable victory when Tazio Nuvolari beat them on their home turf at the German Grand Prix in 1935.In 1937 Alfa took control of its racing efforts again, reducing Ferrari to Director of Sports under Alfa’s engineering director. Ferrari soon left, but a contract clause restricted him from racing or designing cars for four years.In response, Ferrari organized Auto-Avio Costruzioni, a company supplying parts to other racing teams. Ferrari did manage to manufacture two cars for the 1940 Mille Miglia, driven by Alberto Ascari and Lotario Rangoni. During World War II his firm was forced to undertake war production for Mussolini’s fascist government. Following Allied bombing of the factory, Ferrari relocated from Modena to Maranello. It was not until after World War II that Ferrari could start making cars bearing his name, founding today’s Ferrari S.p.A. in 1947.

The first open-wheel race was in Turin in 1948 and the first victory came later in the year in Lago di Garda. Ferrari participated in the Formula 1 World Championship since its introduction in 1950 but the first victory was not until the British Grand Prix of 1951. The first championship came in 1952–53, with Alberto Ascari. The company also sold production sports cars in order to finance the racing endeavours not only in Grands Prix but also in events such as the Mille Miglia and Le Mans. Ferrari’s decision to continue racing in the Mille Miglia brought the company new victories and greatly increased public recognition. However, increasing speeds, poor roads, and nonexistent crowd protection eventually spelled disaster for both the race and Ferrari. During the 1957 Mille Miglia, near the town of Guidizzolo, a 4.0-litre Ferrari 335S driven by the flamboyant Alfonso de Portago was traveling at 250 km/h when it blew a tire and crashed into the roadside crowd, killing de Portago, his co-driver, and nine spectators, including five children. In response, Enzo Ferrari and Englebert, the tyre manufacturer, were charged with manslaughter in a lengthy criminal prosecution that was finally dismissed in 1961. Many of the firm’s greatest victories came at Le Mans (14 victories, including six in a row 1960–65) and in Formula One during the 1950s and 1960s, with the successes of Juan-Manuel Fangio (1956), Mike Hawthorn (1958), Phil Hill (1961) and John Surtees (1964).

By 1969 the problems of reduced demand and inadequate financing forced Ferrari to allow Fiat to take a stake in the company. Ferrari had previously offered Ford the opportunity to buy the firm in 1963 for US$18 million but, late in negotiations, Ferrari withdrew once he realised that he would not have been able to retain control of the company sporting program. Ferrari became joint-stock and Fiat took a small share in 1965 and then in 1969 they increased their holding to 50% of the company. (In 1988 Fiat’s holding rose to 90%). In 1974 Ferrari nominated Luca Cordero di Montezemolo sporting director. Niki Lauda won the championship in 1975 and 1977. After those successes and another title for Jody Scheckter in 1979, the company’s Formula One championship hopes fell into the doldrums.1982 opened with a strong car, the 126C2, world-class drivers, and promising results in the early races. However, Gilles Villeneuve was killed in the 126C2 in May, and team mate Didier Pironi had his career cut short in a violent end over end flip on the misty back straight at Hockenheim in August. Pironi had been leading the driver’s championship at the time. Ferrari remained chairman of the company until his death in 1988 but the team would not see championship glory again during his lifetime.

Jenson Button MBE

Formula One racing Driver Jenson Button MBE was born 19 January 1980. He began karting at the age of eight and achieved early success, before progressing to car racing in the British Formula Ford Championship and the British Formula Three Championship. He first drove in Formula One with the Williams team for the 2000 season. The following year he switched to Benetton, which in 2002 became Renault F1, and then for the 2003 season he moved to BAR. They were subsequently renamed Honda for the 2006 season, during which Button won his first Grand Prix in Hungary, after 113 races.

Following the withdrawal of Honda from the sport in December 2008, he was left without a drive for the 2009 season, until Ross Brawn led a management buyout of the team in February 2009, and Button suddenly found himself in a highly competitive, Mercedes-engined car. He went on to win a record-equalling six of the first seven races of the 2009 season, and secured the 2009 World Drivers’ Championship at the Brazilian Grand Prix,having led on points all season; his success also helped Brawn GP to secure the World Constructors’ Championship. For 2010, he moved to McLaren, partnering fellow British racer and former world champion Lewis Hamilton. After finishing fifth for the team in 2010, Button finished the 2011 season as runner-up to World Champion Sebastian Vettel.

Button remained at McLaren for the 2012 season, again partnering Hamilton. Button qualified second to Hamilton, Winning the 2012 Australian Grand Prix And went on to qualify second to Hamilton at the following race in Malaysia, eventually finishing14th after a collision with the HRT of Narain Karthikeyan.bButton finished second in the Chinese Grand Prix two weeks later. Button qualified fourth behind his team mate Lewis Hamilton at the 2012 Bahrain Grand Prix Button, But and retired on lap 55 due to an exhaust failure. Button qualified in 11th position At the 2012 Spanish Grand Prix Button qualified in 11th and finished 3rd at the German Grand Prix at Hockenheim but was later promoted to second after Sebastian Vettel was penalised. He started in Pole Position for the Belgian Grand Prix at Spa Francorchamps eventually winning after leading the whole race. He qualifies second at the Italian Grand Prix in Monza, but retired. Button qualified in fourth position for the Singapore Grand Prix, eventually finishing second behind Vettel and qualified third for the Japanese Grand Prix but received a five place penalty starting Eighth eventually finishing fourth behind Kabui Kobayashi. Button retired from the Korean Grand Prix after colliding with Kobiyashi and Nico Rosberg. Button finished fifth at the Indian Grand Prix, behind team-mate Hamilton and fourth atheist Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. Button won the Brazillian Grand Prix after Lewis Hamilton and Nico Hülkenberg collided, and finished fifth in the Championship.

In 2013 Button announced his intention to stay with McLaren until his retirement, partnering Mexican driver Sergio Perez, and finished ninth at the Australian Grand Prix. He sadly retired form the Malaysian Grand Prix. Button finished Forth at the Brazilian Grand Prix after a disappointing season. Danish driver Kevin Magnussen replaced Sergio Perez for the 2014 season. For 2014 The rules changed enabling drivers to pick a car number lasting for their Formula One career. Button picked number 22 which was the car number he raced under during his World Championship winning year for Brawn GP in 2009. Button finished the Australian Grand Prix in 4th place being promoted to third after Daniel Ricciardo was disqualified for rule-breaking and went on to finish the season Eighth in in Drivers Championship.

Button completed two further years with the McLaren team in 2015 and 2016 before stepping back from full-time racing to take an ambassadorial and reserve driver role. He returned for a one-off appearance at the 2017 Monaco Grand Prix in place of Fernando Alonso which elevated him to joint second with Michael Schumacher in the list of all-time F1 starts. From the 306 races that Button has started he has won 15, with a total of 50 podium finishes despite driving uncompetitive machinery for most of his career. His time in F1 was characterised by fallow early years as he tried to make his mark, a competitive and ultimately successful middle stint in which he won the World Championship and won races for McLaren and a difficult end to his career as the team struggled with the new regulations introduced in 2014.

John Cooper

The well renowned English race car Designer, and creator of such classic racing cars as The Cooper Climax, John Cooper sadly died 24 December. He was Born 17th July 1923. His surname became synonymous with sporty cars and was used on many classic cars such as The Original Mini Cooper, which, thanks to its short wheelbase, light weight and accurate handling, became a highly effective rally car during the 1960’s in the hands of drivers such as Paddy Hopkirk and Raono Aaltonen ( winning thee Monte Carlo Rally on many occasions, thanks to it’s short wheelbase & front wheel drive. It was also used during a thrilling and rather memorable car chase through the gridlocked streets of Turin in the original Italian Job.