- January 24 down the years
Button hits the limelightWhat happened on January 24 in Formula One history?
Twenty-year-old Jenson Button became the youngest F1 driver - Stirling Moss was 21 when he raced in 1951 - when he signed a five-year deal with BMW. "I am still on cloud nine," Button said when wheeled out to face the media. "The last 45 minutes have been amazing; difficult to explain because I've never experienced anything like this before." Moss was fulsome in his praise. `It's a fantastic achievement and I wish him all the best,' he said. `I'm obviously sorry to have been pushed out of the record books as the youngest British F1 driver, but what the hell. We'll have to start calling him `The Boy', as they referred to me when I was new to it."
Eddie Jordan completed the sale of his eponymous team to the Midland Group, owned by Alex Shnaider, a 36-year-old Canadian entrepreneur of Russian origin. Many doubted whether Midland were in it for the long term, and so it proved as the team was sold twice more in the next two years. "I have devoted 35 years of my life to motor racing and have had some really fantastic times," Jordan said. "I came into F1 on a wing and a prayer. No-one gave us a chance. Frank Williams is the only other team owner to have come through the ranks from Formula Ford to F1. I'm immensely proud of that."
Scott Speed , born on this day in San Jose, California, proved to be quite a controversial character during his two seasons in Formula One with Toro Rosso. Although he scored no points he made his mark by being outspoken and on one occasion got fined US$5,000 for using abusive language against team-mate David Coulthard in a post-race hearing. He came to F1 with an impressive record after winning Formula Renault championships in both Germany and Europe and finishing third behind Nico Rosberg and Heikki Kovalainen in the 2005 GP2 series. However, he struggled to translate that promise into points in F1 and was replaced by Sebastian Vettel midway through the 2007 season, returning to Nascar.
Jo Gartner , born in Vienna, competed in eight grand prix during the 1984 season for Ossella. He enjoyed a successful junior career, winning races in Formula 2, but never finished higher than fifth in an F1 race. Even at that race, the Italian Grand Prix, he didn't score any points as his team had only officially entered one car and he was driving the second. He also had a career in sportscars and won the 1986 Sebring 12-hours with team-mates Bob Akin and Hans-Joachim Stuck. However, he died in an accident on the Mulsanne straight at Le Mans the same year, after his car somersaulted and caught fire.
Tony Trimmer born in Maidenhead, Berkshire entered six grand prix, between 1975 and 1978 but failed to qualify for all of them. He won the 1970 Shellsport British F3 title and looked set to be an upcoming star. However, he never got a top drive in Formula One and often drove cars that were a year out of date. His best result was at the rain-soaked 1978 non-championship BRDC international trophy at Silverstone when he finished third against serious F1 competition. In the same year he won the British Aurora F1 Championship.