- September 16 down the years
Crashgate claims Briatore's headWhat happened on September 16 in Formula One history?
The day Flavio Briatore resigned at boss of Renault as the notorious Crashgate affair streamrolled out of control - the team's director of engineering, Pat Symonds, also stood down. "Their careers were in ruins last night," wrote the Times. After initially denying all claims Nelson Piquet Jnr had been instructed to crash during the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix, Briatore caught everyone on the hop when he suddenly quit. Long-time friend Bernie Ecclestone said: "Well, I feel sorry for him actually. He told me recently he didn't want to finish up like me, playing with racing cars at my age. So at least he's been saved that embarrassment." The story would run for months and end up in a Paris court the following year.
The Italian Grand Prix took place in the shadow of terrorist attacks in the USA five days earlier. Serious consideration was given to cancelling the race but it did go ahead albeit in a sombre atmosphere, and the Ferraris sported black nose cones as a mark of respect. Michael Schumacher tried to organise a pact with the other drivers not to overtake at the first two corners but this was scuppered when Jacques Villeneuve refused to comply. Juan Pablo Montoya went on to score his maiden win in Formula One, while Schumacher finished fourth.
The Italian Grand Prix was won by Graham Hill, his third victory of the season for the BRM team. It was not enough to clinch him his first World Championship title, which would come later in the year at the South African Grand Prix.
Alberto Ascari won the Italian Grand Prix, beating Juan Manuel Fangio who had been on pole and cutting Fangio's lead in the drivers' championship to two points. Ascari had one problem when his car caught fire during a pit stop but the blaze was quickly extinguished and he was able to continue. Fangio sealed the first of his five world titles in the season finale in Spain.
The Belgian Grand Prix had something in common for both Fernando Alonso and Mark Webber - they both started their 100th Grand Prix. Alonso finished on the podium in third, and Webber achieved his second best result of the season by finishing seventh.