- January 22 down the years
A champion cut down in his primeWhat happened on January 22 in Formula One history?
Reigning world champion Mike Hawthorn was killed in a road accident on the A3 in Surrey. He was 29 and had announced his retirement from racing a month earlier. His public image as a playboy hid the fact he was seriously ill - he had a kidney removed and his other one was failing, meaning he may well have not lived long anyway. It is believed he had been overtaken by a Mercedes driven by Rob Walker, and Hawthorn, whose loathing of the marque and Germans was well known, fired up his Jaguar and sought to chase him down. In wet weather he skidded for more than 100 yards, clipped a lorry and overturned. "He came past and waved to me," Walker told the police. "The back of the car swung away and I thought he was going to correct it. Then he started to swing more, and it went completely away with him. I was horrified and could see something awful was going to happen." Six years earlier Hawthorn's father had been killed in a car crash ten miles further down the A3 at Hindhead.
While the sordid tales of footballers are not uncommon, the F1 world was taken aback by the tabloid revelations about the behaviour of Kimi Raikkonen who, so papers claimed, danced drunkenly with a lap-dancer and staged his own impromptu strip show for onlookers in a Mayfair club. "It doesn't make me any slower," said a huffy Raikkonen after a team press conference had been dominated by the subject. "It's my private life. What I do in the car is completely different because I am giving everything I can to the team." A team spokesman said: "We have multi-national backers who don't invest for this imagery."
Engine trouble in practice meant that world champion Juan-Manuel Fangio had to borrow the Ferrari of team mate Luigi Musso for the opening race of the season in Argentina - Fangio still claimed pole. When engine problems beset him again in the race, Fangio took over Musso's car for a second time and drove it to victory. The victory celebrations were marred when the Maserati team boss contested the win, saying that Fangio had been pushed back onto the track after a spin by unauthorised people. The protest was dismissed by the race officials and the FIA.
The last survivor of the first world championship grand prix, Toulo de Graffenried , died in Lausanne. Involved in the sport until weeks before his death, he even took part in a demonstration to mark the 50th anniversary of Silverstone in 1998.