- January 21 down the years
Money wins out over talentWhat happened on January 21 in Formula One history?
Japanese driver Yuji Ide , born on this day in Saitama, can lay claim to being one of the worst drivers of the modern era. His four-race career with Super Aguri owed everything to money he brought with him and nothing to ability, and so bad was he that the FIA pulled the plug by revoking his superlicense. He was drafted in as a second Japanese driver to Takuma Sato, but with a fairly uninspiring record in the junior formulas, expectations weren't high. He was regularly well off the pace in qualifying and then became something of a mobile chicane during the races. Being unable to communicate with his team in English didn't help his cause and by the end of the San Marino Grand Prix the FIA had seen enough. Franck Montagny was brought in to replace him and Ide returned to Japan to race in Formula Nippon and Super GTs.
There was a row before the season had even started when the Williams team - the holders of the drivers' and constructors' titles - were omitted from the list of entrants for the opening race in South Africa. While the oversight was easily remediable by all the other teams agreeing to let them enter, Frank Williams revealed two unnamed rivals had refused to do so without being given "concessions". A Williams' insider said: Frank feels he has been publicly humiliated, and his sponsors are up in arms. But he has no need to do anything but just sit it out. Everybody knows that the cars will be on the grid come South Africa." And so it turned out.
Jacques Laffite dominated the season-opening Argentina Grand Prix, taking pole position, fastest lap and the win in his Ligier Ford even though he was briefly headed by Patrick Deppailler. John Watson took third place despite being involved in an eight-car pile-up on the first corner which caused the race to be restarted. Laffite also won the next grand prix, but reliability issues dogged the rest of his campaign and he finished fourth in the drivers' championship.
John Campbell-Jones , a British racing driver, was born in Leatherhead, Surrey. He competed in the 1962 Belgium Grand Prix in a borrowed Lotus 18, because the gear box failed on the Emeryson he originally intended to compete in. The Lotus eventually suffered gear box failure of its own, but he was classified 11th.