• December 10 down the years

The streets of London

What happened on December 10 in Formula One history?
Bernie Ecclestone said he would "Sign a deal today" to hold a grand prix in London © Getty Images

Never a man to miss the chance to make a headline or two, Bernie Ecclestone announced he was interested in staging a grand prix through the streets of London. "I would sign a deal today," he said. "It could happily run alongside a British Grand Prix at Silverstone. It's finding the money to put it on." The idea even got as far as a planning meeting at which it was established that grandstands would be erected in Hyde Park and a pit and paddock complex along Horse Guards Parade.

The French Grand Prix was axed following the introduction of tough anti-tobacco laws in the country. Organisers were concerned cars bearing illegal logos would be seized by the courts after a court in France fined the British-based Williams team £3.5 million under an old anti-tobacco law for displaying Camel logos in a broadcast televised from the Australian Grand Prix in Adelaide. In the event, a compromise was found and the race went ahead.

An arrest warrant was issued for Eddie Irvine when he failed to turn up at Bow Street Magistrates Court in London to answer to a speeding charge. Irvine was accused of exceeding the 30mph limit on a scooter at Hyde Park Corner in London, as well as driving without insurance or a licence. Nothing more came of the incident or the warrant.

The first traffic lights (known as traffic control lights) came into use in Parliament Square, London. They were more like railway signals, with semaphore arms operated in the day and red and green lights for night use. The gas used to illuminate the signals exploded on January 2, 1869, killing the policeman who was operating the signals.

The first meeting of the Self Propelled Traffic Association was held in London. Aside from the promotion of motoring, it's main aim was the repeal of the Highways & Locomotives (Amendment) Act of 1878 which put strict limitations on the use of motor vehicles, including them having to stop when near a horse and preventing them from emitting any smoke.

The Argentinian Grand Prix, scheduled to take place on January 28 the following year, was cancelled by the government because of a lack of funds. Four weeks later it was restored to the schedule after promises of support from several large companies.

Jean Behra and Harry Schell signed a deal to drive BRMs in the following season. On the same day Colin Chapman announced his Lotus firm would be entering the sport, using a Formula Two car with a new modified five-speed gearbox.