- November 15 down the years
'I'm no racist' - EcclestoneWhat happened on this day in Formula One history?
Bernie Ecclestone, under fire after dismissing racial abuse of Lewis Hamilton in Barcelona earlier in the year as "a bit of a joke", called for anyone found guilty of the offence to be banned from the sport for life. "I want you to know that I'm not a racist,' Ecclestone told the Mail on Sunday."It came out wrong. I was having a shave when the radio station rang me, it was early in the morning, and I wasn't really concentrating. No excuses, but I was careless in my choice of words. I mucked up. I rang Lewis and his dad to apologise and they accepted it immediately. They know I'm not a racist.' When asked if he would call for anyone who blackens their face at a grand prix, or makes monkey noises, to be evicted in future and banned for life, he replied: "OK, I will. That's what should happen, and I am happy for you to say that I want it to happen."
The season-ending Australian Grand Prix had an end-of-term feeling about it as Nelson Piquet had already clinched the title. But that did not matter to Gerhard Berger, the Ferrari driver in supremely confident mood after his victory in the previous round. He claimed pole from Prost's McLaren and led from start to finish - despite a stinking cold, sore throat and bad earache - from team-mate Michele Alboreto as Ferrari claimed its first 1-2 for over two years. Ayrton Senna had finished second but was disqualified when it was found the ducting for brake cooling on his Lotus was 2.5mm too wide. The race also marked the final outing in a Williams for newly-crowned champion Piquet, who moved to Lotus for the following season.
The Ford Motor Company confirmed Red Bull as the new owner of Jaguar Racing with Tony Purnell staying on with the team to run operations. Ford also announced the Cosworth engine company would be sold to Kevin Kalkhoven and Gerald Forsythe, Champ Car team owners and co-owners of the Champ Car Series. "We are strongly committed to continuing the great F1 tradition at Cosworth and take that very successful heritage into the future," said Kalkhoven.
Jerry Unser was born in Colorado Springs, Colorado. He was the first of the famous family to compete at Indianapolis but in his only start he was caught in a 13-car pileup and flew over the wall at turn three before miraculously emerging unscathed. He was not so fortunate a year later, however, when he was killed in practice for the 1959 race. His brothers Al and Bobby and his nephew Al Jr. won the 500 while son Johnny and nephew Robby also competed in the race.
Super Aguri announced that Anthony Davidson would be joining Takuma Sato at the team for the 2007 F1 season. Davidson had been a Honda test driver for the last few seasons after making his F1 debut in 2002 when he drove two grands prix for Minardi with a one-off race for Honda in 2004. "This is a great opportunity for me and I'm really excited about my first full season as a race driver," said Davidson. "I've been impressed with the improvements the team has made through the 2006 season, and I can already see from my first visits to the factory that the team is very hard-working and highly motivated. I can't wait to get started." He drove in 21 grands prix in 2007 and 2008.
Guildford Cathedral turned into a who's who of international motor racing as a galaxy of F1 personalities turned out for a service of thanksgiving for the life of Ken Tyrrell, who died of cancer in the summer. Those attending included former Tyrrell drivers Jean Alesi, Martin Brundle, Jonathan Palmer and Sir Jackie Stewart who also made one of the addresses. Other racing personalities present included Ron Dennis, Patrick Head, Craig Pollock, Rob Walker, Derek Bell, John Coombs and Teddy Mayer. The occasion included a performance by opera star Dame Kiri te Kanawa and was rounded off by Chris Barber's jazz band playing When the Saints Go Marching In.