• February 14 down the years

One of F1's most exciting talents born

What happened on February 14 in Formula One history?
Ronnie Peterson was widely regarded as the most exciting driver of his generation © Sutton Images
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One of the most talented racing drivers of his generation, Ronnie Peterson was born in Örebro, Sweden. His ability to drive a car on the absolute limit meant he was a favourite among fans and revered by his competitors. After turning heads in the lower formula he made his F1 debut with March in 1970. In his second year he finished second in the championship to Jackie Stewart and was immediately earmarked as a future champion. He had his best chance in 1978 driving as No.2 to Mario Andretti, but would loyally sit in second place behind the American rather than competing for victories. In 1979 he had lined up a contract to be McLaren's No.1 but tragedy struck at Monza while he was still at Lotus. He was involved in a first corner pile-up where he broke both legs and was rescued from his car by James Hunt. The injuries weren't too serious but a bone marrow embolism entered his bloodstream and the he died the following morning.

The Spice Girls and Jamiroquai attended one of the most extravagant F1 launches of all time, as McLaren unveiled its 1997 challenger at Alexandra Palace in London. The car was the first McLaren to feature a striking silver Mercedes livery after years of running red and white Marlboro sponsorship. It also marked a turning point in the team's fortunes as it scored a victory on its debut outing, the team's first since Ayrton Senna left in 1993. One year later and McLaren had won the title with Mika Hakkinen.

Nigel Mansell announced his plans to make yet another return as an F1 driver, albeit in a two-seater Minardi. The news quashed fanciful rumours that he would be making a full return with the team and partner Fernando Alonso all season. The deal was in fact to perform demonstration runs at certain events as part of a corporate entertainment package being run by team-boss Paul Stoddart.

Environmentalist and heritage groups lodged a complaint against Michael Schumacher's plans to build a costly new house with heliports and garages in a small Swiss village near Altenrhein. Schumacher wanted to move to the German-speaking area to give his children an education in his mother tongue, but had to settle for a $10 million, 32-acre farm in the hills of Lac Leman near Geneva .

In a bid to spice up racing, Max Mosley announced a ban on refuelling between the end of qualifying and the start of the race, meaning drivers had to qualify with race fuel. "What will happen is that you will get some very interesting strategies going on," said Mosley. "There will be the dilemma of do I want to be fast in qualifying and make an early pitstop or not." The system was scrapped in 2010 when refuelling during the race was banned.

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