- October 16 down the years
Alonso puts seal on perfect seasonWhat happened on this day in Formula One history?
Fernando Alonso rounded off his championship-winning season by taking the Chinese Grand Prix and in so doing ensuring Renault also won the constructors'' title. From pole he had built a 20-second lead before two safety-car periods brought him back to the field, but he still eased home by four seconds from Kimi Raikkonen. "All season has been a dream come true but for Renault even more because it is only four years since they came into Formula One and now we are champions," Alonso said. "It was not an easy job to do." Seven-time champion Michael Schumacher ended the year on an unusual note, colliding with Christijan Albers' Minardi on the installation lap. both cars that they had to be abandoned and the drivers used their spares to start from the pit lane. "The weird ending pretty much sums up our season," said Schumacher.
Michael Schumacher returned from a two-race ban for ignoring a black flag at Silverstone to take the win at the European Grand Prix at Jerez and in so doing stop Damon Hill's title bid, buoyed by three successive wins, in its tracks. Hill's Williams team-mate was a returning Nigel Mansell, but his day finished when he spun off while languishing near the back of the field than the front. "Mansell has always said he will know himself when it is time to give up," wrote Alan Henry in the Guardian "It is hoped that he will be true to his word. Running off the pace, mixing it with the also-rans would not be a fitting finale for the former world champion, whatever the financial temptations."
Tony Rolt, born on this say in Borden, Hampshire, took part in the first world championship race at Silverstone in 1950 and at the time of his death in 2008 was the last survivor of that day. He was a successful driver before World War Two (during which he won the MC and spent time as a POW in Colditz) but only raced in three F1 championship races in all. After quitting in the aftermath of the 1955 Le Mans tragedy, he became rich through his engineering achievements.