- February 7 down the years
Reutemann wins the race that never wasWhat happened on February 7 in Formula One history?
Carlos Reutemann won the disputed South African Grand Prix in a Williams - the race did not count towards the FIA World Championship as it was not sanctioned, but one used as leverage by FISA in an ongoing battle with the governing body. It was probably the last Formula Libre race staged as the cars did not conform to FIA rules prohibiting the use of skirts. Ferrari, Renault and Alfa Romeo refused to have anything to do with the race in which Reutemann led from start to finish in drying conditions after stealing a march on his rivals by switching to dry tyres minutes before the start. "FOCA have proved themselves capable of staging a race," wrote Maurice Hamilton in the Guardian, "but even the most ardent enthusiasts had to admit that a race without Ferrari was like an international rugby championship without Wales."
Bruce McLaren took his second F1 victory at the season-opening Argentine Grand Prix. The win was rather lucky as both Innes Ireland and Joe Bonnier retired with mechanical failures while running ahead of the New Zealander. McLaren failed to win another race that year but his consistent results meant he finished runner-up in the championship. Stirling Moss finished third in a Cooper Climax he had taken over from Maurice Trintignant on the 66th of 80 laps - he had been leading until the rear springs of his own car broke.
Ferrari launched its car for the 2000 season. It proved to be the team's most successful since Jody Scheckter's championship winning 312 T4 of 1979. Michael Schumacher took his third world championship in 2000, accumulating nine wins along the way, heralding five years of complete domination by the Schumacher-Ferrari partnership.
David Coulthard was fined $650 for injuring a woman in a road car accident in Monaco. He was giving his passenger a high-speed tour of the circuit when he crashed in the famous tunnel at between 60 and 90mph. The woman was slightly hurt but withdrew her complaint in 2002 at the same weekend he won the illustrious race. However, the Monaco authorities still decided to charge Coulthard for dangerous driving.
Force India unveiled its first car, the VJM01 at ceremony in Mumbai. It was the first car produced by the team under Vijay Mallya's ownership but didn't live up to the Indian billionaire's expectations as it failed to score a single point all season. It came closest in the hands of Adrian Sutil at the Monaco Grand Prix but Kimi Raikkonen's out-of-control Ferrari rear-ended him while he was running in fourth.