- July 9 down the years
Prost wins in France after a huge accidentWhat happened on this day in Formula One history?
The weekend after Alain Prost announced he would be leaving McLaren to go to Ferrari in 1990, he won the French Grand Prix. However, the race is often remembered for a huge accident at the start, which saw Mauricio Gugelmin's March take off after hitting the back of Theirry Boutsen's Williams and land in the middle of turn one, just as the front runners were exiting the corner. The race was immediately red flagged and all those involved in the accident, including Nigel Mansell, Martin Donnelly and Gugelmin, ran back to the pits to start the race in their spare cars. On the restart Ayrton Senna, who had led the field into the first corner originally, suffered a transmission failure and was out on the spot. Prost took the lead and stayed there for the rest of the afternoon to finish ahead of Mansell and Riccardo Patrese. After the race Prost said he was delighted to have taken maximum points while his fierce rival and team-mate Senna had failed to score. "This was a very important victory for me, not only because it was on French soil but also because I've now managed the double with pole position and a win two years running. It's also very good for the championship, for not only do I have an extra nine points but my main rival didn't score any."
Bernie Ecclestone admitted he was "ashamed" of the British Grand Prix at Silverstone, as a long-standing feud with the then event organisers Octagon rumbled on. The previous year Ecclestone had said the event was "a country fair masquerading as a world event" and in 2004 he upped his criticism, warning that he would not think twice about removing the event from the calendar. "I raced in the first British Grand Prix and I don't have any sentiment about anything," he said. "If they don't match up they should not be on the calendar. I'm ashamed, that's all, of the British Grand Prix. Simple. It's beautiful when people come to me and they say we want to go to Silverstone to see what to do and I say 'well, don't go to Silverstone, go to Barcelona or Germany or... You see how they are fighting at the moment to get the Olympic games in Britain, and quite right too; so they should. And, other people do the same. But others try to get the Formula One event, which I think is just as important. But the British seem to think it is a right and there's got to be a British Grand Prix."
Juan Pablo Montoya turned his back on Formula One by signing a deal to race for Chip Ganassi Racing in NASCAR. He had left McLaren just one week earlier when he crashed out of the US Grand Prix and wasted no time in setting up a new career in the USA. "I am so happy to be entering the fastest growing racing league in the world," Montoya said. "I've thought about this for quite some time, but the opportunity had to be right...I will be a lot happier here."
Hotel proprietor and one-time Formula One driver Don Beauman was killed in a Formula 2 accident in Ireland. His only grand prix came in 1954 at Silverstone when he finished 11th in a Connaught A-Type, sponsored by wealthy privateer Sir Jeremy Boles. He achieved some success in Formula 2 in 1955, but sustained fatal head injuries when he was thrown from his somersaulting Connaught during a Formula Libre race.