Giancarlo Fisichella, one of Formula One's stalwarts, was born on this day in Rome. Between his debut in 1996 and his last race in 2009, he took part in 231 grands prix with three wins - one for Jordan, two for Renault - and 19 podiums. His win on his debut for Renault at the 2005 Australian Grand Prix prompted many to announce he had finally arrived after a decade of promise, but it was to be a false dawn as he was repeatedly outclassed by team-mate Fernando Alonso, although he helped the team win the constructors' title. It was the same in 2006; an early win in Malaysia the highlight of a poor season. In 2008 he scored Force India's first podium, but jumped at the chance to drive for Ferrari when the opportunity came near the end of 2009 following Felipe Massa's accident. But only one top-ten finish came from five starts and in 2010 he was relegated to Ferrari's reserve driver. Even that relationship ended at the end of the year.
Former world champion Nigel Mansell, 40, showed his adaptability in Indycar when he smashed the track record at the Phoenix International Raceway, a circuit where a year earlier he had crashed and injured his back. Testing a Newman-Haas Lola-Ford, he became the first driver to lap the world's fastest one-mile oval in under 20 seconds, averaging around 180mph. ""It's much better here than it was last year and it is not raining and it is not such a zoo," he droned. "The car is fabulous. Very encouraging."
India's first F1 driver, Narain Karthikeyan, was born in Chennai. In a full season for Jordan in 2005 he managed only one top-ten finish, a point-scoring fourth at the US Grand Prix - but that was the race when all but six drivers withdrew after the parade lap in a row over tyres. After five years which saw him take part in endurance racing, A1 GP and Nascar, he was unexpectedly unveiled as one of HRT's drivers for 2011, entirely because he brought money from Indian car company Tata to the cash-strapped team.
The Arrows team went into liquidation, putting an end to an outfit who struggled since they were formed from members of the Shadow team in 1978.
Alberto Rodriques Larreta, who born in Buenos Aires, finished ninth at the 1960 Argentine Grand Prix in a Lotus. After another good performance the following week, he was reportedly offered a drive by Colin Chapman but turned it down. He competed in a wide variety of motorsports, retiring in 1970. He died from a heart attack at the age of 43.