- February 4 down the years
Formula One on iceWhat happened on February 4 in Formula One history?
Nick Heidfeld took his BMW Sauber for a run on a frozen lake in St Moritz Switzerland as part of an event for sponsors Credit Suisse. He ran on spiked tyres and the engine had to be warmed up with oil and water every half hour to stop it from freezing. Speaking after the event Heidfeld said: "That was quite a unique experience".
Jacques Lafitte won the Brazilian Grand Prix for Ligier, his second win in as many races at the start of the season. The French outfit looked dominant, with team-mate Patrick Depailler finishing second, but by the time the European season started Ferrari began to exert its dominance. Ligier won just one more race that season when Depailler took victory in Spain. Defending champion Mario Andretti had a bad day, First his car caught fire on the grid and then he was forced to retire with engine issues on the second lap. Carlos Reutemann also had his problems after stewards tried to penalise him for what they claimed was a push-start off the dummy grid before the warm-up lap. No sooner had they decided not to take any further action than the Fittipaldi team lodged an official protest, and then post-race Ferrari also objected. In the end, his third place stood.
Chichester-born Dick Seaman was the leading British driver of the 1930s, and he really came to prominence when he signed for Mercedes in 1937, against the wishes of his mother, who did not want him to drive for a "Nazi team". Having a solid start to his career with Mercedes in 1937, he excelled in the 1938 season - he won the 1938 German Grand Prix and came second in the 1938 Swiss Grand Prix. Leading the 1939 Belgian Grand Prix at Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps during a wet race, he crashed his car into a tree and died some hours after, at just 26 years of age, as Mercedes' only fatality during that time. After Seaman's death, Mercedes-Benz dealerships worldwide were ordered to display his photograph in their windows. He was buried at Putney Vale Cemetery in London and his grave is maintained by Mercedes-Benz to this day.
Felipe Massa crashed at over 180 mph while testing for Sauber at the Circuit de Catalunya outside Barcelona. He came off the track at turn one after a suspension arm broke coming down the pit straight. He was taken to hospital but was released on the same day with no serious injuries.
Michael Schumacher set up a kart team in the German national championship with friends Peter Kaiser and Thomas Muchov. The team was called KSM and one of its first drivers was the son of rally driver Carlos Sainz. Schumacher said: "I still drive karts with a passion, I grew up with them. I owe everything to karting and I never gave it up. Even when I was still a boy, and F1 was still very far away, I thought that one day I would have worked in karting. A team together with my friends, that's exactly what I had imagined."
Giorgio Pantano was born in Padova, Italy. After three promising seasons in F3000 he made the jump to Formula One in 2004 racing for Jordan. However, he was replaced by Timo Glock after his home grand prix when his financial resources ran low. For 2005 he drove in the new F1 feeder series GP2 and by 2008 he had won the championship. Pantano expected to get another F1 drive on the back of his result, but at 28 and with little financial backing, he was considered to be too old. He settled for a drive in the football-related Supeleague series racing for AC Milan.