- February 8 down the years
Pre-war racing legend diesWhat happened on February 8 in Formula One history
Hans von Stuck died in Grainau, Germany aged 77. He mainly raced in the pre-war era but took part in three grand prix after the formation of the Formula One championship in 1950. He started his career driving in hill-climbs in which he quickly became successful. Confident in his own abilities, he gained notoriety when he won an event driving backwards after reversing the gearbox in his car. His legendary status continued to grow when in 1926 when Count Szichy, an Austrian playboy, bet that Stuck's Austro-Daimler couldn't match his Bugatti for speed. Stuck accepted the bet on the condition that the prize was the Count's wife. Stuck won the wager and the new couple spent many happy years together until her death in 1931.
He was involved with the formation of the Auto Union racing team, funded by the German state when Adolf Hitler came to power. The team enjoyed success but as it faced competition from Mercedes it demanded younger drivers and Stuck's influence waned. He was finally sacked in 1937 for, what he claims, was revealing his salary to fellow driver Bernd Rosemeyer. After the war he avoided the ban on German drivers in world motorsport by claiming Austrian nationality. In 1951 he fathered Hans-Jociam Stuck who, legend has it, he told the secrets of driving the daunting Nurburgring. Stuck Jnr was an expert at the circuit and raced in F1 in the 1970s but never won a race.
The Belgian Grand Prix was dropped from 2006 calendar after organisers revealed improvements to the circuit would not be ready in time for the event. It was the second time that decade that the popular Spa Francorchamps circuit was withdrawn from the calendar, after Belgium's tobacco sponsorship legislation prevented a race in 2003.
A coroner investigating the death of marshal Graham Beveridge at the 2001 Australian Grand Prix found that the accident could have been avoided. Beveridge died in hospital after being hit by a wheel from the wreckage of Jacques Villeneuve's BAR, which had tangled with Ralf Schumacher heading into turn three. The tyre flew through a gap in the catch fencing that the coroner said need not have existed. Despite the findings the FIA confirmed the 2002 event would go ahead as planned.
Cliff Alison was born in Brough, Cumbria. A Ferrari driver in the 1950s, he only competed in six events with the famous marque before a horrific accident all but ended his career. After driving for Lotus and Maserati in 1958, he made his Ferrari debut in 1959 but failed to make an impact before his life changing crash at the 1960 Monaco Grand Prix. He hit one of the barriers hard and was thrown from the cockpit onto the track, luckily avoiding further injury. After being hospitalised he didn't regain consciousness for 16 days, and when he did he woke speaking French - an oddity because he did not know the language. He made a comeback in 1961 with Lotus, which had given him his break in sports car racing at Le Mans in the mid-1950s, but broke both his legs when he rolled his car. He retired to run a family garage but always lamented his missed opportunity in F1.