- November 22 down the years
Williams cleared in Senna trialWhat happened on this day in Formula One history?
An appeals court upheld the acquittals of the Williams technical director Patrick Head and former team designer Adrian Newey in the 1994 death of Formula One star Ayrton Senna. The prosecution had alleged that a poorly modified steering column broke as the Brazilian driver entered a curve, causing him to lose control and crash. Newey, Head, team owner Frank Williams, and three race officials were originally cleared in December 1997. But prosecutors had renewed their request for one-year suspended sentences for Newey and Head, arguing the pair was to blame for the steering column. The original verdict absolved the defendants by ruling they did not commit the crime with which they were charged. Monday's ruling changed the formula, saying no crime took place. The court found that a series of factors contributed to Senna's accident, including the speed at which the car was traveling, the wear on the tires, and the unevenness of the track.
Pietro Bordino, who was born on this day in Turin, won the 1922 Italian Grand Prix, the first at Monza, and was described as the "finest road race driver in the world" by Henry Seagrave, but his results never matched his promise. He died in 1928 during practice for a race at Alessandria after he hit a dog, causing his car to overturn and land in a river, drowning him.
For a man whose career involves driving at high speed in one of the most dangerous sports, there was a certain irony that Mark Webber had to be airlifted to hospital after being knocked off his bike in a charity ride during the Mark Webber Pure Tasmania Challenge. Webber, who had trained with Lance Armstrong, was involved in a head-on collision with a four-wheel drive vehicle. He had to have a pin inserted in a broken leg.
The Prost Grand Prix team were placed into receivership by a French court but vowed to fight on and make it to the grid for the opening race in 2002. Prost failed to secure funding to ease the team's spiralling debts, which were estimated at $30 million. Founder Alain Prost said: "I'm still very motivated and excited about this project." The team eventually folded on the eve of the 2002 season.
British Formula 3000 driver Sam Haddock, 23, announced his intention to raise £1.75 million to fund his F1 ambitions by selling shares in himself. Those who invested more than £10,000 were offered the chance to become founder members of Hancock VIP, a service allowing special access to the young driver and events organised around his schedule. The venture, like Haddock's own racing ambitions, never got off the ground.
One of the more bizarre schemes to make F1 more TV-friendly emerged - handicapping of successful cars with lead ballast. It was quietly put to one side by the FIA.
McLaren's David Coulthard topped the times on the second day of testing at the Circuit de Catalunya as he stepped up his preparations for the 2001 season. The team also announced their new MP4/16 car would launch at the Valencia circuit on Wednesday, February 7.
McLaren test driver Alexander Wurz set a new track record behind the wheel of an interim MP4/16 at the Circuit de Catalunya. The Austrian was a second quicker than team-mate David Coulthard in a MP4/17 and 1.2s faster than German Nick Heidfeld in a new Sauber C21.
Two years on, it was Jenson Button's turn to smash the record at the Circuit de Catalunya with a lap of 1:14.607s, about a second faster than the previous best. Michael Schumacher was second fastest in his Ferrari, lapping in 1:15.410s ahead of Fernando Alonso and Ralf Schumacher's Williams.