- January 8 down the years
The 94-year-old racing driverWhat happened on January 8 in Formula One history?
The oldest licensed racing driver in the world, Tom Delaney, was born. He raced the same Lea-Francis for more than three-quarters of a century from 1930 until a few weeks before his death in 2006. In 2004 Delaney crashed during a race at Silverstone, and was run over by his car which rebounded off the barriers. Later in hospital, when he was found to have nothing more than a sore wrist, he called his mechanic to see if the car could be repaired for racing the following day. In 2005 Delaney received the Motor Sports Association's first ever Lifetime Achievement award to mark his 75 years of racing. His last race was at a Vintage Sports Car Club meeting at Silverstone in April 2006; he had been invited to the Goodwood Revival meeting in early September, but died, after a short illness, just a few days before it was held. His cars are still regularly competed by his son Geoffrey and his granddaughter Lucy.
Thirty-seven year old Michael Schumacher gave the first real indication he was about to bow out - for the first time. "If I don't have the chance to win races and challenge for the title I don't think I'll be very keen to extend my career," he said. "If we [Ferrari] want to progress we need more staff. In F1 you cannot afford to stand still. I want to know where we're heading." He quit at the end of the season when his contract finished, but still managed to finish second in the drivers' championship, only to make a surprising comeback with Mercedes in 2010.
Donington Park announced that they had secured the planning permission necessary to bring the circuit up to the specification required by the FIA. After Bernie Ecclestone's announcement the previous year, that the race would make the move north, it was seen as the first major sign of progress. "I'm over the moon," gushed chief executive Simon Gillet. "From tomorrow morning it's shovels at dawn and away we go. It starts in earnest now and time to start focusing on 2010 and delivering the best grand prix in the world. We are going to do it." The plan ultimately failed. Unable to raise the necessary funds for redevelopment Gillet's company went into receivership and the race reverted to Silverstone.