• February 26 down the years

Honda goes green

What happened on February 26 in Formula One history?
Rubens Barrichello in the RA107 at Monaco © Sutton Images
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2007
Honda launched its Earth Dreams livery on the RA107 car in front of a slightly bemused audience. The car featured a map of the world rather than sponsors in the hope of promoting environmental messages. The management team touted it as a new form of sponsoring in F1, whereby companies would make a donation to an environmental charity in order to associated with the team and appear on its website. Many were cynical and it was pointed out that F1 had already been carbon neutral since 1997 when the FIA started financially supporting the Scolel Te project in South America. The car was terrible, the livery confusing and two years later Honda had withdrawn from F1.

1908
A courageous figure in the French Resistance, Jean-Pierre Wimille was the leading driver immediately after World War Two and but for his death in Argentina in 1949 would almost certainly have been there or thereabouts during the early years of the Formula One World Championship. He won the 1947 Swiss and Belgian GPs, and in 1948 the French and Italian, and was the leading driver of the season. But at the start of 1949 he crashed into a tree while practising for the Argentinian GP. Some said he was blinded by a shaft of sunlight coming between the trees, others that he had swerved to avoid a dog. It was the first time he had driven in a crash helmet.

2009
F1 drivers agreed to pay the hike in their superlicense fee, after threatening to go on strike at the height of their protest. The row started in 2008 when the cost of a basic license was increased from €1,690 to €10,000 with the fee for every point scored the previous year rising from €447 to a whopping €2000. The idea was to take more money from some of the richest in the sport (those with more points the previous year are likely to have a bigger pay cheque) and use it to improve safety. The Grand Prix Drivers Association vowed to pursue the issue and warned the FIA not to underestimate the collective power of the drivers. In the end no further action was taken.

1917
The only F1 driver to race under the Moroccan flag, Robert La Caze, was born in Paris. He was a Morrocan citizen and competed in a number of rallies in North Africa, which eventually led to him getting a drive for a young Ken Tyrrell at the 1958 Moroccan Grand Prix. Racing a mid-engined Cooper Climax, he went up against some of the biggest names in the sport and finished a respectful 14th from 23rd on the grid. He later ran a garage in Marrakech and was also a national skiing champion.

2009
Plans for an F1 theme park in Dubai were put on hold after the global financial crisis led to, what the organisers called, "a drying up of liquidity from banks and financial institutions". Named F1-X, the park is expected to cost US$360 million in total when it is finished and will feature a number of F1 related rides and experiences. F1-X is now set to open in 2010

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