Nelson Piquet

Brazilian race car driver and former Formula One World Champion, Nelson Piquet was Born 17th August 1952. Born the son of a Brazilian politican, he had a brief career in tennis before losing interest in the sport. Piquet took up karting and hid his identity to prevent his father discovering and he became the Brazilian national karting champion in 1971-72 and won the Formula Vee championship in 1976. With advice from Emerson Fittipaldi, Piquet went to Europe to further success by taking the record number of wins in Formula Three in 1978, defeating Jackie Stewart’s all-time record.In the same year, he made his Formula One debut with the Ensign team and drove for Mclaren and Brabham.

In 1979, Piquet moved to the Brabham team and finished the runner-up in 1980 before winning the championship in 1981. Piquet’s poor performances in 1982 saw a resurgence for 1983 and his second world championship. For 1984-85, Piquet had once again lost chances to win the championship but managed to score three wins during that period. He moved to the Williams team in 1986 and was a title contender until the final round in Australia. Piquet took his third and final championship in 1987 during a heated battle with team-mate Nigel Mansell which left the pair’s relationship sour. Piquet subsquently moved to Lotus for 1988-89 where he experienced his third drop in form. He eventually went to the Benetton team for 1990-91 where he managed to win three races before retiring. After retiring from Formula One, Piquet tried his hand at the Indianapolis 500 for two years. He currently runs his own company Autotrac, which supplies tracking equipment for transport and also manages his son Nelson Piquet Jr.

Mark Knopfler/Tanita Tickaram

Mark Knopfler, the singer-songwriter and guitarist with British rock band, Dire Straits, was born 12th August 1949. Formed in 1977 by Brothers Mark (lead vocals and lead guitar)and David Knopfler (rhythm guitar and backing vocals), and friends John Illsley (bass guitar and backing vocals, and Pick Withers (drums and percussion), they recorded a five-song demo tape which included their future hit single, “Sultans of Swing”, as well as “Water of Love”, “Down to the Waterline”, “Wild West End” and David Knopfler’s “Sacred Loving”.The group’s first album, was intitled Dire Straits the album had little promotion when initially released in the United Kingdom However, the album came to the attention of A&R representative Karin Berg, working at Warner Bros. Records in New York City. She felt that it was the kind of music audiences were hungry for, That same year, Dire Straits began a tour as opening band for the Talking Heads after the re-released “Sultans of Swing” which scaled the charts to number four in the United States and number eight in the United Kingdom. The song was one of Dire Straits’ biggest hits and became a fixture in the band’s live performances. “

Recording sessions for the group’s second album, Communiqué, took place in December 1978, Released in June 1979 Communiqué Featured the single “Lady Writer”, the second album continued in a similar vein as the first and displayed the expanding scope of Knopfler’s lyricism on the opening track, “Once Upon a Time in the West”. In 1980, Dire Straits werenominated for two Grammy Awards for Best New Artist and Best Rock Vocal Performance by a Duo or Group for “Sultans Of Swing.In July 1980 the band started recording tracks for their third album. Making Movies which featured longer songs with more complex arrangements, a style which would continue for the rest of the band’s career. The album featured many of Mark Knopfler’s most personal compositions. The most successful chart single was “Romeo and Juliet” and was released in October 1980.

Dire Straits’ fourth studio album Love Over Gold, an album of songs filled with lengthy, experimental passages, was well received when it was released in September 1982, going gold in America and spending four weeks at number one in the United Kingdom, its main chart hit, “Private Investigations”, gave Dire Straits their first top 5 hit single in the United Kingdom, where it reached the number 2 position despite its almost seven-minute length, and became another of the band’s most popular live songs. along with “Industrial Disease”, a song that looks at the decline of the British manufacturing industry in the early 1980s. In 1983, a four-song EP titled ExtendedancEPlay was released while Love Over Gold was still in the album charts. It featured the hit single “Twisting By the Pool”. Dire Straits also embarked on a world tour. wgich resulted in The double album Alchemy Live, a recording of two live concerts of the group at London’s Hammersmith Odeon in July 1983, was released in March 1984.

Dire Straits returned to the recording studios at the end of 1984 to record their biggest selling album to date, Brothers in Arms, which has so far sold over 30 million copies and contains the songs “Money for Nothing”, “Walk of Life”, “So Far Away”, “Your Latest Trick” and “Brothers in Arms”. Released in May 1985, Brothers In Arms entered the UK Albums Chart at number 1 and spent a total of 228 weeks in the charts, It went on to become the best-selling album of 1985 in the UK, “Money for Nothing” was also the first video ever to be played on MTV in Britain and featured guest vocals by Sting, who is credited with co-writing the song with Mark Knopfler, although in fact, it was just the inclusion of the melody line from “Don’t Stand So Close To Me”.Brothers in Arms was among the first albums recorded on digital equipment due to Knopfler pushing for improved sound quality The album’s title track is reported to be the world’s first CD single. The album is listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the first compact disc to sell a million copies, and has been credited with helping to popularise the CD form

Their sound drew from a variety of musical influences, including jazz, folk, blues, and came closest to beat music within the context of rock and roll. Despite the prominence of punk rock during the band’s early years, the band’s stripped-down sound contrasted with punk, demonstrating a more “rootsy” influence that emerged out of pub rock. Many of Dire Straits’ compositions were melancholic and they have gone on to became one of the world’s most commercially successful bands, with worldwide album sales of over 120 million. making them One of the world’s best selling music artists, and their fifth album, Brothers in Arms, has won many accolades. In November 2009, Dire Straits were honoured by the new PRS for Music Heritage Award. A special blue plaque was erected at Farrer House, Church Street, Deptford in south London, where the original group, Mark Knopfler, David Knopfler, John Illsley and Pick Withers once shared a council flat and performed their first ever gig in 1977. PRS for Music has set up the Heritage Award to recognise the unusual “performance birthplaces” of famous bands and artists. Dire Straits have also won numerous music awards during their career, including four Grammy Awards, three Brit Awards—winning Best British Group twice, and two MTV Video Music Awards. The band’ most popular songs include “Sultans of Swing”, “Romeo and Juliet”, “Tunnel of Love”, “Private Investigations” .Dire Straits’ career spanned 18 years. There were several changes in personnel over that period, leaving Mark Knopfler and John Illsley as the only two original bandmates who had remained throughout the band’s career. Dire Straits disbanded in 1995 when Mark Knopfler launched his career full time as a solo artist. Since then he has recorded many great solo albums including Privateering and Tracker

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HAPPY BIRTHDAY TANITA TIKARAM

British pop/folk singer-songwriter,Tanita Tikaram was born 12 August 1969, She is best known for the hits “Twist in My Sobriety” and “Good Tradition” from her 1988 debut album, Ancient Heart. Tikaram started singing in nightclubs while she was still a teenager. Her debut album, Ancient Heart, was released in September 1988 when she was 19-years-old.The album peaked at Number 3 in the United Kingdom, where it was certified Double Platinum by the British Phonographic Industry. It also became an international hit and led to a world concert tour. The singles “Good Tradition” and “Twist In My Sobriety” were Top 10 hits in Europe. Tikaram’s second album, The Sweet Keeper, was released in 1990. While it also peaked at Number 3 in the UK, it was less successful than her debut, earning just a Gold disc. No singles from the album were Top 40 hits.

The album Everybody’s Angel followed in 1991, with Jennifer Warnes providing vocals on two tracks, including the lead single “Only The Ones We Love” The album was less successful than her previous releases, peaking at Number 19 in the UK. 1992 saw the release of Eleven Kinds Of Loneliness. And in 1995, she released Lovers in the City. In 1998 she released The Cappuccino Songs, which was produced by Marco Sabiu and one of the singles off the album, “I Don’t Wanna Lose At Love”, was remixed by the Asian Dub Foundation. She then retired from the music scene for several years. In 2005, Tikaram released the album, Sentimental, which features two collaborations with Nick Lowe. Tikaram began recording her eighth studio album in 2010 and also played some “acoustic sessions” live dates in Europe from September to November 2011, her first tour in 10 years. Tikaram’s eighth studio album, Can’t Go Back, was released 2012 and contained the single, “Dust On My Shoes”, was released digitally on 11 May 2012

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HAPPY BIRTHDAY PETE SAMPRAS

Greek American tennis player and former world number 1.Peter “Pete” Sampras was born August 12, 1971 During his 14-year tour career, he won 14 Grand Slam singles titles and became recognized as one of the greatest tennis players of all time.Sampras debuted on the professional tour in 1988 and played his last top-level tournament in 2002 when he won the US Open, defeating rival Andre Agassi in the final. He was the year-end world no. 1 for six consecutive years (1993–1998), a record for the Open Era. His seven Wimbledon singles championships is an Open Era record shared with Roger Federer, while Sampras’ five US Open singles titles is an Open Era record shared with both Federer and former World No. 1 player Jimmy Connors. Sampras is the last American male to win Wimbledon (2000) and the ATP World Tour Finals (1999)

Greek American tennis player and former world number 1. Peter “Pete” Sampras was born August 12, 1971 During his 14-year tour career, he won 14 Grand Slam singles titles and became recognized as one of the greatest tennis players of all time.Sampras debuted on the professional tour in 1988 and played his last top-level tournament in 2002 when he won the US Open, defeating rival Andre Agassi in the final. He was the year-end world no. 1 for six consecutive years (1993–1998), a record for the Open Era. His seven Wimbledon singles championships is an Open Era record shared with Roger Federer, while Sampras’ five US Open singles titles is an Open Era record shared with both Federer and former World No. 1 player Jimmy Connors. Sampras is the last American male to win Wimbledon (2000) and the ATP World Tour Finals (1999)

Nigel Mansell

British Motor Racing Driver and 1992 Formula One World Champion Nigel Mansell, CBE was born 8 August 1953 in Upton-upon-Severn, Worcestershire, England. He won both the Formula One World Championship (1992) and the CART Indy Car World Series (1993). Mansell was the reigning F1 champion when he moved over to CART, being the first person to win the CART title in his debut season, making him the only person to hold both titles simultaneously. His career in Formula One spanned 15 seasons, with his final two full seasons of top-level racing being spent in the CART series. Mansell remains one of the most successful British Formula One drivers of all time in terms of race wins with 31 victories, and is fourth overall on the Formula One race winners list behind Michael Schumacher, Alain Prost and Ayrton Senna. He held the record for the most number of poles set in a single season, which was broken in 2011 by Sebastian Vettel.

Mansell was also rated in the top 10 Formula One drivers of all time by longtime Formula One commentator Murray Walker. In 2008, American sports television network ESPN ranked him 24th on their top drivers of all-time. He was also ranked No. 9 of the 50 greatest F1 drivers of all time by the Times Online on a list that also included such drivers as Alain Prost, Ayrton Senna, Jackie Stewart and Jim Clark.Mansell raced in the GP Masters series and signed a one-off race deal for the Scuderia Ecosse GT race team to drive their number 63 Ferrari F430 GT2 car at Silverstone on 6 May 2007. He has since competed in additional sports car races with his sons, Leo and Greg, including the 2010 24 Hours of Le Mans. To date, he is the most recent inductee to the International Motorsports Hall of Fame from a country other than the US, having been inducted in 2005. He is also the current President of one of the UK’s largest Youth Work Charities, UK Youth and is also President of the IAM (Institute of Advanced Motorists).

International Surfing Day

International Surfing Day is a worldwide celebration of the sport of surfing. The day is observed with surf contests,barbecues, film screening and other surf-Related events. International Surfing Day, is held annually on or near the date of the summer solstice—usually June 21 (20 June on leap years) it is an unofficial, environmentally conscious sports-centered holiday that celebrates the sport of surfing and the surfing lifestyle and the sustainability of ocean resources.International Surfing Day was established in 2004 by Surfing Magazine and The Surfrider Foundation International Surfing Day closely follows the spirit and intent of the World Surf Day established by the Usenet newsgroup alt.surfing in 1993.

Contests and prizes are also part of the celebration with surfing related industries donating prizes such as surfboards and wetsuits. Another purpose of the celebration is to promote the popularity of surfing and to attract new participants. Surfers also use the day to give back to the environment by organizing beach clean-ups, dune and other habitat restoration and other activities such as lobbying to maintain the recreation areas in California where surfing occurs, or Naupakaplanting in Hawaii. Direct action was also used by form of protest on this day in England to express opposition to sewage in the waters of the Gold Coast; a precarious problem for many surfers who become infected by the bacteria from open wounds from sports related injuries.

Many other International Surfing Day events have also been held In South America where it is celebrated in Argentina, Brazil,and Peru. Also in the Southern Hemisphere the holiday is observed in the Oceanian nations of Australia and New Zealand. The day is also widely observed in the American state of Hawaii, also in Oceania. In North America the surfing day is most widely observed and celebrations may be found in Canada, Costa Rica, the French Antilles, El Salvador, Mexico,and in the majority of coastal states of the United States, Connecticut, New York, North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, District of Columbia, Maine Texas, New Jersey, California, Oregon, South Carolina, Florida,and Georgia.

After North America the observance has the most popularity in Europe: including in most of the coastal European Union and it is held by surf enthusiasts in France, Italy, the United Kingdom particularly Cornwall, Portugal, Spain, and Belgium. Further European celebrations are held in Norway, Israel and many other EU nations overseas. In Africa, the two French territories of: Réunion and Mayotte hold annual festivities alongside Morocco,Ghana, the Spanish insular area of the Canary Islands and South Africa. The day has also taken hold in some Asian countries like Japan, and Korea

James Hunt

British Motor Racing legend James Hunt tragically died 15 June 1993 after suffering a heart attack. Born 29 August 1947, He began his racing career in touring car racing, Hunt progressed into Formula Three where he attracted the attention of the Hesketh Racing team and was soon taken under their wing. Hunt’s often action-packed exploits on track earned him the nickname “Hunt the Shunt”. Hunt entered Formula One in 1973, driving a March 731 entered by the Hesketh Racing team.

He went on to win for Hesketh, driving their own Hesketh 308 car, in both World Championship and non-Championship races, before joining the McLaren team at the end of 1975. In his first year with McLaren, Hunt won the 1976 World Drivers’ Championship, and he remained with the team for a further two years, although with less success, before moving to the Wolf team in early 1979. Following a string of races in which he failed to finish, Hunt retired from driving halfway through the 1979 season.

After retiring from racing in 1979, Hunt became a media commentator and businessman, commenting on Grands Prix for the BBC. He was known for his knowledge, insights, dry sense of humour and his criticism of drivers who, he believed, were not trying hard enough, which in the process brought him a whole new fanbase and He was inducted into the Motor Sport Hall of Fame on 29 January 2014.

Sir 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).

Jean Alesi

French former Racing driver Jean Alesi (born Giovanni Alesi; was born June 11, 1964. He is of Italian origin and his Formula One career included spells at Tyrrell, Benetton, Sauber, Prost, Jordan and most notably Ferrari where he proved very popular among the tifosi. In 2006 Alesi was awarded Chevalier de la Legion d’honneurAlesi debuted in the 1989 French Grand Prix at Paul Ricard in a Tyrrell-Cosworth, replacing Michele Alboreto, finishing fourth. He drove most of the rest of the season for Tyrrell while continuing his successful Formula 0300 campaign, (occasionally giving the car up in favour of Johnny Herbert when Formula 3000 clashed), scoring points again at the Italian and Spanish Grands Prix. 1990 was his first full year in Grand Prix racing, with the underfunded Tyrrell team. At the first event, the United States Grand Prix at Phoenix, he was a sensation, leading for 25 laps in front of Ayrton Senna with a car considered as inferior, and also re-passing Senna after the Brazilian had first overtaken for the lead. Second place in the Monaco Grand Prix followed the second place gained in Phoenix, and by mid-season, top teams were clamouring for his services in 1991. A very confused situation erupted, with Tyrrell, Williams, and Ferrari all claiming to have signed the driver within a very short period.Ferrari were championship contenders at the time, and there he would be driving with fellow countryman Alain Prost, at that time the most successful driver in Formula One history.

Alesi signed with Ferrari, making the choice that not only appeared to maximize his chances for winning the championship and for learning from an experienced and successful teammate, but that fulfilled his childhood dream of driving for the Italian team.Ferrari, however, experienced a disastrous downturn in form in 1991, while the Williams team experienced a resurgence which would lead them to win five constructor’s titles between 1992 and 1997, thus becoming the most successful team of the 1990s. Alesi’s choice of Ferrari over Williams seemed the most logical at the time, but turned out to be very unfortunate. One of the reasons for this failure was because Ferrari’s famous V12 engine was no longer competitive against the smaller, lighter and more fuel efficient V10s of their competitors. Having a dismal 1991 season, Prost left the team describing the car as a “truck” and took a sabbatical. Alesi was partnered by Ivan Capelli the following year, before being joined by Austrian Gerhard Berger in 1993. Alesi injured his back after the first race of the 1994 season (Brazil) and was replaced in the Pacific Grand Prix and the infamous San Marino Grand Prix (round 3) by Nicola Larini.

In five years at the Italian marque Alesi gained little, except the passionate devotion of the tifosi, who loved his aggressive style. That style, and his use of the number 27 on his car, led many to associate him with Gilles Villeneuve, a beloved and still-popular Ferrari driver from 1977–1982. Alesi and Berger won only one race each during this period at Ferrari. Following Alesi’s first and only GP win in the 1995 Canadian Grand Prix (on his 31st birthday), his Ferrari ran out of fuel as he waved to fans on the backstraight and he was given a lift back to the pits by Michael Schumacher. When Benetton’s Michael Schumacher joined Ferrari in 1996, Alesi and team mate Gerhard Berger swapped places with him. Though Benetton was the defending constructors’ champions, they were about to experience a lull in form like Ferrari in 1991. Schumacher went on to rejuvenate Ferrari, while Alesi and Berger spent two seasons at a declining Benetton riddled with bad luck and internal politics. While Berger had a reasonable run at Benetton, winning the 1997 German Grand Prix after having come two laps from victory at the same race the previous year when his engine blew while he was leading within sight of the flag, Alesi’s Benetton career proved more turbulent, not helped by an embarrassing retirement in the season-opening Australian Grand Prix in 1997 when he ignored several radio messages from the pit mechanics to come in for his pit stop, and continued for five laps until running out of fuel.

His form became increasingly erratic that season, including incidents at the French Grand Prix when he needlessly pushed David Coulthard off the track, and the Austrian Grand Prix, where his attempt to outbrake Eddie Irvine from nearly eight lengths behind caused a spectacular collision that saw Alesi placed under investigation for dangerous driving after the race. A pole position and eventual second place at the Italian Grand Prix were not enough to salvage his drive at Benetton, and the team released Alesi at the end of the 1997 season.Alesi moved on, initially to Sauber and later Prost, the latter which was owned by his former Ferrari teammate Alain Prost. With Prost, Alesi was consistent, finishing every race, occasionally in points scoring positions, his best finish being at Canada.A fallout after the British Grand Prix, however saw Alesi walk out after the German Grand Prix, where he scored a point. The reason was because of the German driver Heinz-Harald Frentzen was suddenly sacked by Jordan after the British Grand Prix and he needed a drive, he was interested in joining the Prost team. Alesi finally decided to leave Prost after the German Grand Prix in order give way to Frentzen. Then, Alesi joined Jordan and eventually swapped teams. Alesi ended his open-wheel career in 2001 with Jordan, bookending his career nicely: Alesi had driven for Jordan in Formula 3000 when he won the championship in 1989.

Alesi was often regarded as flamboyant, emotional and aggressive, but after his spectacular performance at Phoenix in 1990, his career was notable more for its “bad luck” and longevity than for its final results. In 2001, he became only the fifth driver to start 200 Grand Prix races, and he achieved thirty-two podiums, yet he only gained one victory. It could be suggested that Alesi’s potential was unfulfilled – some say he spent his peak years during the uncompetitive period at Ferrari – retiring while in the lead or in 2nd place in no less than 9 races but somehow he was unlucky when driving for Benetton too, losing the lead of the Italian GP both in 1996 and 1997 after relatively slow pitstops and Monaco 1996 retiring with suspension failure. His sole win was an emotional triumph at the 1995 Canadian Grand Prix in Montreal on his 31st birthday.

Alesi’s win at Montreal was voted the most popular race victory of the season by many, as it was the scarlet red number 27 Ferrari – once belonging to the famous Gilles Villeneuve at his much loved home Grand Prix. Memorably, Schumacher gave Alesi a lift back to the pits after Alesi’s car ran out of fuel just before the Pits Hairpin. Alesi would never win another Formula One Grand Prix, although later in 1995 at Monza his right-rear wheel bearing failed while he was leading with 9 laps to go, then at the Nürburgring severely worn tyres broke his defence of the lead with two laps remaining and he was passed by Michael Schumacher. In 1996 suspension failure with ten laps left prevented him from taking victory at Monaco (although he had led this race only after Damon Hill, who had held a commanding lead for the first half of the race, was forced to retire on lap 40 when his Renault engine blew up in the Tunnel) while in 1997 he led the Italian Grand Prix from pole before relinquishing the lead to David Coulthard courtesy of a slow pit stop during the race.