• December 1 down the years

Sauber hand lifeline to Villeneuve

What happened on December 1 in Formula One history
Jacques Villeneuve and Nick Heidfeld pose at the start of the 2006 season. Before it was finished Villeneuve had been replaced by Robert Kubica, hovering in the background ©

Despite rumours that he would be dropped, Jacques Villeneuve was confirmed as a driver for the BMW Sauber team for the 2006 season. "After an extremely tough first half of the year, which showed that even a former world champion cannot come back after a period away and be totally competitive from day one, he got closer and closer to his team-mate over the second half of the season," said team boss Mario Theissen. "We are in no doubt that having Jacques in 2006 will make the BMW-Sauber team stronger." It was not to be. After a string of disappointing performances Villeneuve was axed, in favour of Robert Kubica, by the time of the Hungarian Grand Prix.

Bernie Ecclestone hit out at rumours of a rival F1 championship being launched, warning it would drive sponsors away from the sport. Paolo Cantarella, chief executive of Fiat, had met F1 teams to propose a rival competition offering them a bigger income. "The manufacturers came in because it was a shop window for them, so why do they want to destroy it?" said Ecclestone. "I have told them to wait and see what happens. They became involved because they liked the stability of F1 and knew that things were done properly. Once these companies leave it is hard to get them back."

The first issue of Locomotion Automobile hit the newsstands in France. It only survived a year but it was the world's first specialist motoring magazine, covering everything from bicycles to trollies to automobiles.

1962High praise for Stirling Moss who was described by Enzo Ferrari as the world's best driver , likening him to the legendary Tazio Nuvolari. At the same time at Monza, Peter Arundell won a challenge from a German sports writer who claimed Lotus had used oversized engines in winning the formula junior races that season. Lotus offered £1000 that one of their cars could match speeds achieved in races.

Michael Schumacher was revealed by Forbes magazine as the fourth-highest earner in world sport. His income from F1 of £21.9 million ranked below Michael Jordan (£48.9m), Evander Holyfield (£33.9m) and Oscar De La Hoya (£23.5m).

Guy Tunmer, who was born on this day in Transvaal, South Africa, competed in his home grand prix in 1975 in a Lotus 72D, finishing 11th from 25th on the grid; he also enjoyed success in Formula Atlantic, He was killed in a motorcycle accident in 1999.