• November 5 down the years

Boutsen wins strike-threatened, rain-hit race

What happened on this day in Formula One history
Thierry Boutsen on his way to victory in the pouring rain © Sutton Images

Thierry Boutsen in a Williams won a rain-hit Australian Grand Prix in which only 70 of the 81 laps could be completed and 13 of the 25 starters crashed. Ayrton Senna, who piled into the back of Martin Brundle's Brabham on the 14th lap, was indignant. "The responsibility for allowing this race to take place belongs to FISA," he fumed, no doubt in part points-scoring after clashing with FISA over his disqualification from the Japanese GP a fortnight earlier. "It's obvious when FISA complain we drivers are lunatics it is really they who are crazy." At one point a boycott of the race was threatened, and Alain Prost was as good as his word and withdrew after a lap, but others soldiered on. Nelson Piquet, who with Boutsen was one of the ringleaders, said: "This is a dangerous sport which does not need to be made more dangerous. There is a difference between bravery and stupidity." If the drivers thought the conditions in Adelaide were bad, they were nothing with what was to follow two years later.

Joe James, who competed in two Indianapolis 500s, died on this day after an accident three days earlier at San Jose Speedway. A native of Mississippi, that year he was the AAA Midwest Sprint car Champion with six victories to his name. On October 17 he was crowned as the champion at a banquet in Dayton, Ohio. Sixteen days later he was blinded by the sun, failed to see a yellow flag and ran over a wheel on the track. His car flipped and he suffered massive head injuries. A Joe James Memorial Auto Race , set up in 1953, ran every year until the track was closed in 1999.

Born in France on this day, Louis Rosier started out driving a lorry for his father, and he competed in hillclimb events while in his twenties, and at the same time opened his own garage selling Renaults and Talbots. In 1938, by which time he was 32, he switched to cars with hillclimbs and an outing at the Le Mans 24-Hour. In the war he worked with the French Resistance - his wife and daughter were taken hostage and sent to Germany, and after the war ended he travelled to Germany to find them. Driving a Talbot, he soon made his mark in motor-racing following World War Two. His first win came at Albi in 1947. He won the Belgian GP in 1948 featured in both the 1948 and 1949 British Grands Prix, finishing fourth and third, and in 1949 also scored a good win in an International Grand Prix at Spa-Francorchamps. He won the French Championship every year between 1949 and 1952. He featured in the early days of the FIA World Championship, winning the non-championship Dutch Grand Prix in 1950 and 1951 as well as the Le Mans 24-Hour in 1950. However, a win in a championship F1 race eluded him. He went on to set up and manage teams. In 1956 he spun his Ferrari at Le Mans and suffered serious internal injuries when it overturned. He died three weeks later.