- February 16 down the years
French motor racing legend bornWhat happened on February 16 in Formula One history
Legendary French racing driver Jean Behra was born in Nice. Possibly one of the fastest racing drivers never to win a Formula One championship race, Behra came to the sport off the back of winning three French motorbike championships. He was victorious in a number of non-championship races and drove for big names such as Gordini, Maserati and Ferrari during his career. He was brave to a fault and carried a number of scars from 12 big crashes. In 1955 he had his ear torn off in a collision. He was famously sacked by Ferrari when he punched team manager Romolo Tavoni after retiring from the 1959 French Grand Prix. Less than a month later he died driving a Porsche when he lost control on the banking at Avus and speared off into the air. He was thrown from his car and flew into one of eight flagpoles skirting the outside of the track. He landed near a public street and was declared dead as soon as the circuit doctor arrived.
Jenson Button narrowly avoided injury when his Williams hit a bird during testing in South Africa. He was travelling at over 160mph on the Kyalami track when the bird flew across his path and smashed into the car's airbox, directly above Button's head. He immediately returned to the pits where he parked up the car completely unhurt.
Formula One teams agreed on lifting the ban on traction control that had been in place since 1994. The controversial technology, which prevents wheel-spin, was believed to be fitted to a number of cars but was not being detected by the FIA's scrutineers. To ensure a level playing field the technology was made legal and became an important technological battle ground for the teams. In 2008 it was finally banned for good when the FIA introduced a standard Engine Control Unit.
Tony Crook was born in Manchester. A pilot during World War II, he competed in two British Grand Prix in 1951 and 1952 as well as a number of non-championship races. He is better known for his joint ownership of the luxury British car maker Bristol, where he continued to work up until 2007.