- April 5 down the years
Brazilian woe for Amati and Andrea ModaWhat happened on April 5 in Formula One history?
The difference between the haves and the have-nots was brought home at the Brazilian Grand Prix. McLaren arrived with six cars; at the other end of the scale the hapless Andrea Moda team worked ceaselessly to get their two working, only for Perry McCarthy to be banned from competing as he did not have the necessary superlicence. The Williams pair of Nigel Mansell and Riccardo Patrese took the one-two, and the race saw the last (to date) appearance of a female driver - Giovanna Amati who failed to qualify.
After serving as a US marine, Andy Linden raced in seven grands prix when the Indianapolis 500 was a part of the Formula One championship. Linden had shown huge amounts of skill as a sprint and midget racer and finished in the top six at three of the Indy 500s he competed in. His career ended when he was left brain-damaged after a shard of metal pierced his helmet during a race in 1957. He was confined to a wheelchair but learned to walk again before his death.
A chartered accountant and entrepreneur, David Murray, who was born in Edinburgh on this day, raced an ERA and then a Maserati in events all over Europe, and between 1950 and 1952 made four Formula One World Championship appearances but failed to reach the end in any of them. In 1951, while practising for the German Grand Prix, he crashed and, so the story goes, realised his driving ambitions would not succeed and so turned his efforts and cash to joining forces with mechanic Wilkie Wilkinson, the pair founding the Ecurie Ecosse team. Originally based at Murray's garage business in Merchiston Mews in Edinburgh, the team expanded - Murray's final F1 drive was under the Ecurie Ecosse flag - and in 1956 and 1957 they won the Le Mans 24 Hour. But financial problems escalated through the 1960s even though Murray poured more of his money into it. In 1968 he was summoned to a meeting with the Inland Revenue and, fearing the worst, he fled to the Canary Islands where he died five years later from a massive heart attack following a minor traffic accident.
Californian-born Ronnie Bucknum raced for Honda between 1964 and 1966, and at the 1964 German Grand Prix became the first person to drive a Honda-engined car in Formula One. In his 11 starts he only finished three times, with his best a fifth at the 1965 Mexican Grand Prix. He then drove in the USAC Championship Car series, and died at the age of 56 from complications arising from diabetes.
The second of Jenson Button's remarkable six straight wins at the start of the season came at the Malaysian Grand Prix, but it was not the most satisfying victory as it came as he sat with other drivers on the grid along with everyone else as a tropical downpour turned the circuit at Sepang into a lake. The last 50 minutes were spent watching the rain fall and the clock run down. "The only unexpected aspect was that when the rain came, it did so in dribs and drabs to start with, rather than via a sudden cloudburst, and this played a big role in the final outcome as teams struggled to respond with their tyre strategy," noted the Times.
Mario Andretti won his first IndyCar race for five years in the Valvoline 200 at the age of 53 years and 34 days, the 100th victory of his career, including 12 in Formula One.
Brands Hatch Leisure, the motor racing operator and owner of the famous racetrack, was bought by Apax Partners, the venture capitalists, for £15.5 million.