• January 9 down the years

Jody Scheckter takes first Wolf victory

What happened on January 9 in Formula One history?
Jody Scheckter won the first race of 1977 © Sutton Images

The season kicked off in Argentina, at the Autodromo Oscar Alfredo Galves. The race was won by Jody Scheckter driving a Ford-powered Wolf, the first victory for the team. It was a disappointing start to James Hunt's defence of his crown - by halfway he had established a 15-second lead over the field only to misjudge an exit from a hairpin and plough into the safety barriers. The 1975 champion, Niki Lauda, was equally out of sorts as his Ferrari broke down.

Formula One fans who are not enamoured with some of Ferrari's subsequent tactics will be permitted a wry smile at comments made by team boss Jean Todt who said that following the retirement of Michael Schumacher, drivers Kimi Raikkonen and Felipe Massa would be treated equally. "It will be healthy for two drivers to compete equally with each other," he said.

Eddie Jordan signed Italian Giancarlo Fisichella who had eight races the previous season with Minardi under his belt to drive for his team. "His only drives in F1 have been in a bad car, so it's hard to judge from that," Ferrari's Eddie Irvine said. "I know they talk a lot about him as if he is good." Fisichella gained his first podium in Canada and scored more points than No. 1 driver Ralf Schumacher, and as a result was signed by Benetton for the 1998 season.

Dutch driver Jos Verstappen returned to F1 by signing for cash-strapped and far-from-competitive Minardi. "I am really impressed with (principal) Paul Stoddart's plans for the team and by this year's technical package," he said. The car proved slow and unreliable, and despite being offered a drive in 2004, Verstappen opted to walk away from the team and F1 itself.

Never one to let diplomacy stand in the way of a quote, Eddie Irvine branded David Coulthard "a loser" in an interview. "He's got as much chance of being crowned Formula One World Champion as I have of winning the lottery - and I don't do the lottery," he said. Coulthard went on to finish a distant second to Michael Schumacher that season, his best result in the drivers' championship. As for Irvine, he finished 12th and, to date, has still to win the lottery.

French driver Pascal Fabre was born in Lyon. He competed in F1 in 1987 for the AGS team, his best results were at the French and British Grand Prix when he finished ninth. After F1 he had a successful career in sports cars.

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