- January 28 down the years
Fittipaldi wins as Stewart praises 'remarkable' CevertWhat happened on January 28 in Formula One history?
Emerson Fittipaldi began the defence of his drivers' championship with victory in Argentina at the Autodromo Oscar Alfredo Galvez. The race was a gripping battle between Fittipaldi, Jackie Stewart and Francois Cevert - a slow puncture meant Stewart did well to finish third, while Fittipaldi overhauled Cevert ten laps from the end. Stewart went out of his way to praise team-mate and protégé Cevert. "He drove the race of his life … it was remarkable. He really is the great young driver everyone has been saying he was going to be. In my opinion, he has already arrived." Cevert was killed practising for the final grand prix of the season.
Bernd Jean-Pierre Wimille, the leading driver in the immediate post-war years, was killed when he crashed into a tree while practising for the Argentinian GP. Some said he was blinded by a shaft of sunlight coming between the trees, others that he had swerved to avoid a dog. It was the first time he had driven in a crash helmet. He won the 1947 Swiss and Belgian GPs, and in 1948 the French and Italian, and was the leading driver of the season.
Eleven years earlier and another top driver was killed. Bernd Rosemeyer was a leading driver for the German Auto Union team of the 1930s, winning several grands prix between 1935 and 1937 and taking the European Championship in 1936. He died attempting to break the land speed record when he lost control of his Auto Union Streamliner on the Autobahn between Frankfurt and Darmstadt. It is believed the car was hit by a gust of wind and he lost control and Rosemeyer was hurled clear as it somersaulted through the air.
The cracks between teams and the establishment were beginning to show as only Ferrari turned up to a meeting called by the FIA president Max Mosley to discuss rule changes. While the stay-away by the other nine was symbolic, it indicated the days of them being told what to do and how to do it were over. The fact yesterday's meeting went ahead with only one team present will aggravate the divisions already splitting the sport," noted the Guardian. "It reinforces the view that Ferrari has an uncomfortably close relationship with the governing body."
Alain Prost's team became the first major F1 casualty for seven years when it collapsed with debts of US$30 million. Prost blamed the economic downturn following the terrorist attacks in the United States for difficulties in finding a saviour.
Aldo Gordini, son of Amedee - who founded the French sports car company, died in Paris at the age of 73. Aldo worked occasionally for the team as a mechanic and drove the cars in different disciplines, including the 1951 French Grand Prix. He was well known in France and regarded as a rich playboy.
Takuma Sato was born in Tokyo and enjoyed a seven-season career in Formula One with Jordan, BAR (alongside Jenson Button) and finally Super Aguri. His one podium in 92 grands prix came at the 2004 USA Grand Prix, although in his first season he sent his fans wild with a fifth-place finish at the Japanese Grand Prix. He switched to Super Aguri but the team had ongoing funding issues and folded in 2008. Although he tested for Toro Rosso in 2008, he was beaten to the drive by Sebastien Bourdais and after a year on the sidelines he headed to the USA and Nascar.
Juan Manuel Bordeu, born in Balcarce, Argentina, was a friend and protégé of the legendary Juan-Manuel Fangio, he entered the 1961 French Grand Prix but did not take part in the race. After retiring from racing in 1973 he became involved in race administration becoming the Argentine delegate on the World Motorsport Council.
Gene Hartley, who was born in Roanoke Indiana, competed in nine Indianapolis Grand Prix in the 1950s when the races counted towards the FIA World Championship. The son of a midget car racer, he said: "Auto racing is all I have ever known."
Brian Shawe-Taylor was born in Dublin - he competed in the 1950 and 1951 British Grand Prix. In 1951 he practiced in a Ferrari ahead of the French Grand Prix but failed to get the final drive. In the same ERA he was refused entry a year earlier, he came eighth at the 1951 British Grand Prix, and finished fifth at the Le Mans 24 Hour later that summer. Shortly after his career was ended when his ERA spun and crashed at Goodwood, leaving him in a coma for several weeks. He then went to work at GCHQ in Cheltenham.