Affectionately nicknamed 'the Monza Gorilla', Vittorio Brambilla was born in Monza, Italy. He raced motorcycles, then karts, before joining his brother Tino in Formula Three in 1968 before progressing to Formula Two. He took Beta Tools to Formula One in 1974 with March and scored his first point before the year was out. His second season promised so much, with pole in Sweden, but offered frequent retirements until he famously held it all together to win the Austrian Grand Prix after a downpour before crashing off the circuit seconds after punching the air in celebration.
The FIA World Motorsport Council [WMSC] met to discuss the fate of Michael Schumacher for his part in attempting to drive title rival Jacques Villeneuve off the circuit in the final race of the season at Jerez. A hefty fine or even a several race ban for the following season seemed possible but ultimately the FIA decided to merely exclude him from the championship standings and make him participate in a road safety campaign. Even German tabloid Das Bild described the decision as 'crazy'.
Two-time world champion Mika Hakkinen announced that he would be moving into driver management to find and nurture new, young driving talent working alongside his long-time friend and manager, Didier Coton at the Aces Management Group. "I understand what it takes to arrive at the top and how vital it is to a sportsman's career to have a close group of trusted professionals around him," said Hakkinen. "I can't wait to share what I learned winning two world titles, with ambitious and talented young drivers."
Michael Schumacher signed a contract extension of two years to remain with Ferrari until the end of the 1999 World Championship in a deal believed to be worth in excess of $25m a year. Schumacher, however, will gain a great deal more money through his Schumacher Collection merchandising operation and from endorsements.
Prospects of a breakaway competition faded with an announcement six leading constructors, including Ferrari, Alfa Romeo and Renault, had decided to compete in the official championship in 1981. A dispute between FOCA and FISA had split manufacturers and sponsors, resulting in plans for a breakaway event. The teams committed only four days before the FIA deadline.