- December 22 down the years
Super Aguri joins F1 gridWhat happened on December 22 in Formula One history?
Super Aguri were given the go ahead to join the F1 circus. The team, fronted by former F1 driver Aguri Suzuki, had submitted a late application to join the grid but had to wait to see if there were objections from any other teams. "I would like to thank all of the teams for approving our late entry," said Suzuki. "I assure them that the Super Aguri F1 team will co-operate and do our best to reach your expectations." Super Aguri proved to be anything but super and they they withdrew from the championship four races into their third F1 season having scored four points.
A miffed David Coulthard found out that a new £55 Nintendo F1 game showed him as being English. Coulthard was listed alongside Damon Hill and Martin Brundle as being among England's best drivers. A spokesman for Coulthard said: "He has a saltire on his car and his helmet. If they can't spot that, what hope is there? David will really take exception to this. He's proud to be Scottish and will be infuriated."
Zsolt Baumgartner, the first Hungarian to compete in an official race, secured his drive with Minardi thanks to backing worth £2.7 million from his government. Baumgartner made his F1 debut in the 2002 Hungarian Grand Prix as a replacement for Ralph Firman. He was released by Minardi after a season in which he managed only one top-ten finish. Ironically, he replaced Justin Wilson, who himself had only got a drive by virtue of raising £2 million of sponsorship.
French racing driver Pierre Levegh was born in Paris. He competed in six grand prix in 1950 and 1951 and outside motorsport he was also a world class ice hockey and tennis player. His death however is far more famous than his life - he was killed in the 1955 Le Mans disaster. His Mercedes 300SLR hit a bank spewing burning engine parts into the crowd, while Levegh was thrown from the car crushing his skull. In what is considered the worst motorsport disaster ever, Levegh died along with 80 spectators, and a further 300 were injured.