- December 31 down the years
The quiet end of speed legendWhat happened on the last day of the year in Formula One history?
Sir Malcolm Campbell, legendary racing driver and land speed record holder, died at his Reigate home at the age of 63. He was one of the few leading drivers of his era, especially those who featured in speed-record attempts, to die in his bed. Campbell became a national celebrity as he broke the land speed record nine times between 1924 and 1935 - on his last attempt he became the first person to drive a car at more than 300 miles per hour. He also set the water speed record four times. As a grand prix driver he won the 1927 and 1928 Grand Prix de Boulogne driving a Bugatti T39A. He died peacefully after a series of strokes. His son Donald continued the Campbell legacy setting records on both land and water until he was killed in 1967 in a crash on Coniston Water.
One of the most influential and controversial figures in the modern world of F1 was born today. Herman Tilke is responsible for most of the modern day circuits around the world including Sepang in Malaysia, Yas Marina in Abu Dhabi, as well as Bahrain, Shanghai, Istanbul and Valencia. He is also lead designer on F1's newest venues in India and the USA. His circuit designs aim to encourage overtaking and drama, many featuring his trademark tight turns at the end of long straights Critics, however, have accused him of bland designs which have killed races as spectacles. "Some races have a lot of action, others not. That is the same in every sport," he countered. "Racing is very dangerous, and nobody wants dead or injured drivers.
A knighthood for Stirling Moss who claimed he owed a large part of his fame to both his driving skills and his name. "Thank goodness I wasn't called Hamish, which is what my mother wanted to call me." He said the honour meant more to him than anything he had achieved on the track. "I have no regrets about not winning the [drivers'] title. This honour, however, is the acceptance of the British nation."
Frank Williams , whose 30 years in Formula One according to The Times "combined ruthlessness with a magnificent obsession that has brought nine constructors' championships and seven individual driver's titles," was knighted in the New Year's Honours List.
Sebring International Raceway, one of the USA's oldest functioning racetracks, was opened with a six-hour race won by Fritz Koster and Ralph Deshon in a Crosley Hot Shot.