- January 18 down the years
Tragedy in Buenos Aires, and F1's daredevilWhat happened on January 18 in Formula One history?
The inaugural Argentine Grand Prix was marred by the death of at least seven people and injuries to dozens more when on the 40th lap Nino Farina ploughed into the crowd which had spilled onto the edge of the track as he tried to avoid a spectator who had tried to cross the circuit. Farina himself escaped with minor leg injuries. Before the start an estimated 200,000, swelled by the decision not to charge for admission, were packed inside the Buenos Aires Autodrome, and by the time the race started they had poured through security fences and onto the perimeter. Despite the tragedy the grand prix continued throughout and was won by Alberto Ascari - he took pole, led throughout, recorded the fastest lap and lapped the entire field.
Pedro Rodriguez , born on this day in Mexico City, was regarded as a fearless driver, took some time to break into Formula One full-time but given a drive with Cooper in 1967 he won the South African Grand Prix. A second win followed for BRM in 1970 and by then he was making a big impression in other areas such as sports cars and Nascar. He was one of those who was against drivers' campaigns to make racing safer, even though his brother Riccardo had been killed practising for the Mexican Grand Prix in 1962. It was ironic that he too was killed racing during a sports car race at Norisring in Germany. He always carried Tabasco sauce in his pocket to liven up his food, and could be easily spotted at a race circuit by the deerstalker hat he wore.
Christian Fittipaldi was born in Sao Paulo. He became the third member of the Fittipaldi family to drive in F1 when he raced for Minardi and Footwork between 1992 and 1994. He moved to champ cars in 1995 but could never emulate the success of his famous uncle Emerson.
Johnny Servoz-Gavin was born in Grenoble, France. He competed in 13 grand prix between 1967 and 1970 with a best result of second. He suffered an eye injury in an off-road event in early 1970 and his sight deteriorated throughout the season, so much so that he retired as he said he no longer felt safe in F1.