A visit from a foreign exchange student and an unfortunate mishap while writing Lauda's entry meant I couldn't do this the last three days.
Jorge de Bagration
February 24th is the birthday of six F1 drivers, four of them rejects.
Kenneth Bear would have turned 105. The Briton entered two non-championship races in a private Bugatti: the 1948 Zandvoort GP, where he finished 9th, and the 1949 Jersey Road Race. While practicing for the Jersey race on April 27th 1949, his Bugatti left the road. Bear was 43.
Lance Reventlow would have turned 75. Born in London, but racing under the American nationality, he was the sole child of Barbara Hutton, heiress to the fortune of Frank Woolworth, owner of the famous stores, who then married Cary Grant, the actor. He is also known for being one of the last people to see James Dean alive before his fatal road accident. It was thanks to his many connections that he got into racing in 1955, aged 19. After some success at home, he decided to found his own racing team to race in F1: the Scarab. However, the front-engined machine was outdated for 1960, and he didn't quilify the car in Monaco. He opted out of the Dutch GP after a starting money dispute, but made his only start later on in Belgium. Qualifying 15th, he retired after just one lap with engine problems. For the British GP, he switched to Rob Walker Racing, but he had to relinquish his car to teammate at Scarab and Robe Walker, Chuck Daigh. After this unsuccessful campaign, he returned to America, where, after another attempt at building his own car, he retired from all types of racing. On July 24th 1972, Lance was a passenger on a Cessna driven by an inexperienced 27-year-old student pilot, while observing an area for the planned construction of a ski resort in the Rocky Mountains, when the pilot entered a blind canyon and stalled the plane while turning around. The plane plunged to the ground. Reventlow was 36.
Francois Mazet turns 68. The Parisian driver had a short F1 career. After a few seasons in F3 and F2, he entered the 1971 French GP for Jo Siffert, finishing 13th. He was also due to drive in Italy, but had to withdraw. After a few drives in the ETCC in the 1980's he retired from racing.
Alain Prost turns 56. Born in Lorette, the Frenchman is the third most successful driver of all-time, behind Schumacher and Fangio. After a meteoric rise through the racing ranks, he signed for McLaren in 1980, after refusing a drive in F2. After a good first season, scoring five points in the troublesome McLaren (the low point being his injury in practice for the South African GP, missing the next round), he signed for Renault creating a completely French team after Jabouille's departure. Three wins and three other podiums made for a very good campaign, finshing fifth. In 1982, he won the first two races, and then scored two more second places, scoring 34 points and taking 4th in the championship. 1983 was even better. With four wins and three other podiums, he missed out on the title by two points to Nelson Piquet. The next year, he got even closer. After returning to McLaren, Alain took seven wins, but eventually lost the title to his teammate Lauda, more consistent, by just half a point. 1985 was the year everything fell into place. After taking five wins, he romped to the crown by 20 points over Alboreto. In 1986, he took four wins in a car vastly inferior to the Williams. However, the Williams drivers taking points off each other, Prost took the title in Australia after Mansell's tire blow-up. In 1987, Prost took three wins and 4th place. The next year, Ayrton Senna was signed as McLaren's second driver alondside Alain. However, the two never bonded, and, despite taking seven wins and more points than Senna, Prst lost the title thanks to the rule stipulating the fact that only your 11 best results counted. After four wins and six second places, he won the title for the third time after a controversial incident with Senna in Suzuka. When Senna attempted to overtake Prost at the Casio Triangle, Prost blocked Ayrton, and both drivers went straight ahead. Prost immediatley got out of the car, his suspension broken, but Senna continued, after being pushed by the marshalls and cutting the chicane. His eventual disqualification gave the race win to Alessandro Nannini, and the title to Prost. 1990 was payback time for Prost, after being fired by Ron Dennis. Prost gladly signed for Ferrari, alongside Mansell. After taking five wins, Prost lost the title in another controversial incident at Suzuka. Despite taking the pole, Senna wasn't allowed to choose where the poleman started the race, and the FIA made him start on the dirty side of the track, the first time this happened at Suzuka. Prost got the better start, and Senna (intentionally) nerfed him off at the first corner. In 1991, the Ferrari was substantially subpar, and Prsost eventually left the team after stating the Ferrari "handled like a truck". After a sabbatical in 1992, he returned for Williams in 1993. alongside Damon Hill. After 7 victories, 12 podiums, just one retirement and 99 points. Prost finally retired in 1993 after 199 starts, 4 titles, 51 wins, 33 poles, 41 fastest laps, 106 podiums and 798.5 points. He can now be found winning once more in the Andros Trophy.
Emmanuele Naspetti turns 43. Born in Ancona, the Italian spent a lot of time in go-karts, before graduating to F3 in 1987 and F3000 in 1989. After a good 1991 season, taking four wins and third in the championship, Naspetti led the 1992 race when Paul Belmondo was fired from the March F1 team for insufficient results. Naspetti was called up to take his place. Emmanuele was able to keep up with Wendlinger most of the time, but only managed 11th as best result in 5 races. However, he wasn't signed full-time the next season. After becoming test driver for Jordan in 1993, he was hired to drive in Portugal as a than-you gift, but retired from the race, and from F1. This is where Naspetti's career takes off. Converting to Italian Touring Cars, his best period comes from 1996 to 1999, coming second thrice and winning the crown in 1997, with 10 wins and 18 podiums out of 20 rounds. After switching to European Touring Cars and GTs, he retired from racing.
Pedro de la Rosa turns 40. After a tumultuous rise through the junior ranks, the Spaniard from Barcelona made his F1 debut for Arrows in 1999 aged 28. A disappointing season saw his sole top ten - sixth in Australia - as high point. After scoring the one point in 1999, he went one better in 2000, taking two points in Europe and Germany. He then - yep, you guessed it - scored three points in 2001, this time for Jaguar, with 6th in Canada and 5th in Italy. 2002, however, was disappointing, with de la Rosa scoring no points at all, two eighth places being his best results. After signing with McLaren as test driver, he was called on when Montoya got his "tennis injury", taking fifth and the fastest lap in Bahrain. After the same Montoya left McLaren after the US GP in 2006, de la Rosa was once again called up for the rest of the season, taking a total of 19 points, and even second place in the unpredictable Hungarian GP. Continuing as McLaren tester, he was signed full-time by Sauber for the 2010 season. However, an extremely disappointing start to the season saw him score no points until Hungary, taking 7th. By then, however, it was too late, and de la Rosa was fired after the Italian GP.
A profiled reject also died on this day.
Clemente Biondetti died 56 years ago. Born on August 18th 1898 in Burdusso, the Italian had a successful career, but only in domestic racing. After several non-championship races, Biondetti entered the 1950 Monaco GP for Scuderia Milano, but the car was eventually unavailable. Later on that year, Clemente took his Ferrari-Jaguar road-car-race-car hybrid to the track in Monza for the Italian GP. However, he retired with engine problems after qualifying 25th. After this brief stay in F1, he returned to F2 and sportscars. However, he was struck by cancer in 1955, and succumbed to the disease that same year in Florence, aged 56.
Je suis Charlie
I am an F1 fan, snatched away by this forum. HELP ME TOM CRUISE! (until Vandoorne reaches F1)