- October 18 down the years
'I'm world champion, baby'What happened on this day in Formula One history?
Jenson Button fulfilled his boyhood dream of winning the world championship after a spirited drive through the field from 14th to fifth at the Brazilian Grand Prix. Wet qualifying saw Button line up well down the grid while his Brawn team-mate and title rival Rubens Barrichello started from pole. But Barrichello's challenge fizzled out with a puncture, meaning that Button's title was secure. "I'm world champion, baby," he screamed after the race. "That race deserved it. Twenty-one years ago I jumped into a kart and I loved winning - but I never expected to be world champion." Brawn also took the constructors' title ahead of Red Bull, to become the only team in the history of the sport to win the championship in its first (and only) year of competition.
Despite winning the Mexican Grand Prix by over 26 seconds, Nigel Mansell left Mexico City under a cloud, moaning about the stewards' decision not to penalise his team-mate and championship rival Nelson Piquet. Piquet had collided with Alain Prost at the start and both spun out. The marshals gave Piquet a push to get him going again and Mansell felt he had been duped. "I saw Nelson spin," he said. "I believe he was push-started and I remember the days when you were disqualified if you were push started. I'm happy I won but I must take my hat off to the luck that Nelson has had again." Bizarrely it was Piquet who took the chequered flag ahead of Mansell after the race had to be restarted to clear Derek Warwick's mangled Arrows. The cars formed up for a second start and Piquet took the lead, but the final result was decided by an aggregate of both halves of the race. Fans were left scratching their heads, Mansell was left droning his Midlands burr and only Piquet came away with a smile on his face.
One of Italy's best drivers of the 1960s, Ludovico Scarfiotti was born in Turin. A member of the Agnelli family, he was an expert hillclimber and made his name when he won the 1963 Le Mans 24 Hours alongside Lorenzo Bandini in a factory Ferrari 250P. The very next weekend he made his F1 debut at the Dutch Grand Prix and finished the race 6th, having qualified 11th. It was a reasonable result but he was still primarily a sportscar driver and went on to win the Sebring 12 Hours the same year, sharing a Ferrari with John Surtees. In 1966 he wrote his name into Ferrari folklore by winning the Italian Grand Prix and, as of 2012, is still the last Italian to do so. He was then expected to become a full time F1 driver in 1967 but Chris Amon was favoured by Enzo Ferrari and Scarfiotti competed in just two championship grands prix for the Italian team. He shared victory at the 1967 non-championship Syracuse Grand Prix after a dead-heat with Ferrari team-mate Mike Parkes, but soon became disenchanted with the team. In 1968 he switched to Cooper and raced with some success until he was killed in a Porsche 908 during a hillclimb event in the German Alps. His car slid off the side of a mountain and was found suspended in the dense forest with Scarfiotti 50 metres away further down the hillside.
One of the greatest sportscar racers of all time, Clemente Biondetti was born in Budduso, Sardinia. He won the Mille Miglia an unprecedented four times both before and after the war and competed in several non-championship grands prix. His 1947 win was particularly spectacular as he beat Tazio Nuvolari in terrible conditions and without the use of two gears. In 1948 and 1949 he also won the Targa Florio in a Ferrari 166 before attempting similar feats for Jaguar but coming up short. However, he took a liking to the Jaguar and, with the birth of the Formula One world championship in 1950, attempted to convert one for use at the sport's highest level. He took a straight-6 engine from a C-Type and transplanted it into the body of a Ferrari 166S. He gained entry to the Italian Grand Prix and qualified the car 25th, albeit 32 seconds off the pace of Juan Manuel Fangio's Alfa Romeo. He completed just 17 of the 80 laps in the race, but in doing so gave Jaguar its F1 debut 50 years before Ford entered the name in 2000. He continued to race competitively until 1954 and died of cancer a year after retiring from the sport.