30th of December – Back in November 2007 I published a story in the Brazilian version of this blog about efforts being made to find ways to put a 3rd Ferrari for Fernando Alonso on the F1 grid. If you can read Portuguese, HERE it is. My little piece about the 3rd Ferrari was published in MOTORSPORT Aktuell, too. And my findings were duly rubbished by some. Since then Banco Santander have signed a sponsorhip deal with Ferrari and there’s talks of Vodafone doing the same for 2010. Why do you think? We lost Superaguri and Honda’s withdrawal nearly reduced the grid size for 2009 to 18 cars. Renault will quit at the end of 2009, if the team’s not sold before that – not an easy thing to do inmidst of a fierce global financial crisis. As FOM guarantees a minimum of 20 cars on the grid to their contractual partners, Bernie Ecclesteone is said to be pushing top teams to field a 3rd car. And Ferrari seem to be taking up this option for Alonso. Not an easy thing to do, even if only planning the pitlane allocation…
30/12/1963, HRH Prince Chula Chakrabongse dies.
The son of Prince Chakrabongse Bhuvanath of Bisnulok and his Russian wife, Ekatrina Desnitskaya, Prince Chula Chakrabongse, ran a racing team called White Mouse Racing for himself and his cousin Prince Bira in England, where he had spent his youth. Chula wrote several books, among them a biography entitled Dick Seaman – A Racing Champion. He died of cancer aged 55.
Born: 28th of March 1908 in Bangkok, then Siam;
Died: 30th of December 1963 in Tredethy, Cornwall.
Guy Edwards used to be perhaps the best funded driver in the 70s as he had an enormous talent to raise sponsorship. That ability helped him to 17 Grands Prix starts as of 1974 and from 1978 to 1980 to a quite successful Aurora F1 Championship campaign in the UK, scoring several wins. Along with Arturo Merzario, Brett Lunger and Harald Ertl, he was one of the four drivers who saved Niki Lauda from his burning car during the 1976 German Grand Prix.
Born in Germany but a Swiss citizen, Fischer was a known quantity among collectors for his quality restaurations. After some success in hill climbs and selected road races he bought a Ferrari V12 for the 1951 season and scored acouple of podium finishes in non-championship races. For 1952 he upgraded to the latest T500 Ferraris, promptly finishing 2nd in the Swiss GP and 3rd in the German GP. Despite those successes and a couple of victories in non-championship races, Rudi left the international racing scene to concentrate on his business and would only appear occasionally at one or the other hill-climbing event.
Born: 19th of April 1912 in Stuttgart, Germany;
Died: 30th of December 1976 in Locarno, Switzerland, aged 64.
A former Indy Lights racer, Tony George is the grandson of Tony Hulman, who purchased the Indianapolis Motor Speedway after the end of World War II, and inherited the position as president and CEO of the IMS Corporation after the death of Joe Cloutier in 1989. Bringing NASCAR to the Brickyard, with the Indy 400, as well as creating a road course for Formula 1, staging the US-GP from 2000 to 2007, and attracting the US-MotoGP to Indianapolis, Tony proved to be a competent mover and shaker.
But he is also seen as a rather controversial figure for being responsible for the CART/IRL split that has damage open wheel racing infinitely in the US. In 2005, George stepped down from operations of the IRL to start his own team, Vision Racing, with his wife Laura George. The team was formed from the remnants of Kelley Racing, which disbanded after the 2004 season, allowing George’s stepson Ed Carpenter seat time in the series.
Wealthy French racing driver who drove in 21 Grand Prix for Ligier and Brabham. He quit after a huge testing accident at Paul Ricard.
Mike Spence participated in 36 grands prix. He was killed in practice for the 1968 Indianapolis 500 when he crashed his Lotus 56 turbine car and was struck on the head by the right front wheel.
Born: 30th of December 1936 in Croydon, UK.
Died: 7th of May 1968 at Indianapolis, USA, aged 31.