- February 2 down the years
Bernie slams McLaren over spygateWhat happened on February 2 in Formula One?
Bernie Ecclestone launched a remarkable verbal attack on Ron Dennis when asked about the £50 million fine slapped on McLaren as a result of the Spygate scandal. "What happened last year has been going on in F1 for years," Ecclestone said. "If McLaren had come clean and owned up none of it would have happened the way it did. He is a good friend of mine but Ron was six months pregnant and said he was a virgin. He knows he got off cheap."
Chanoch Nissany became the first Israeli F1 driver when he signed a testing contract with Minardi. He only started racing competitively in 2002 and completed tests with both Jordan and Minardi. His race weekend debut came at the Hungarian Grand Prix where he completed eight laps and was over 12 seconds off the pace of the front runners. He never competed in top level motorsport again.
Jenson Button broke the unofficial lap record at the Circuit de Catalunya by over a second while testing BAR's 2004 car, with a time of 1m13.867s. He said: "It was a good lap, but there's a lot more to come." The team finished second in the championship that year behind the dominant Ferrari.
Barcelona circuit officials had to close grandstands facing the McLaren garage after Lewis Hamilton received a barrage of abuse from Spanish fans during testing. The fans, who believed Fernando Alonso had been unfairly treated the previous season, shouted obscenities and hung banners. Hamilton said: "The truth is I feel somewhat sad. I love this country, especially the city of Barcelona . The Spanish people have always been very warm."
Eddie Jordan called on F1 bosses to "strive earnestly" to put Africa back on the schedule, seven years after the last race on the continent. Three months earlier Bernie Ecclestone had visited Egypt to discuss the possibility of holding a grand prix there, but nothing came of it.
Roger Williamson was born in Leicester. He was one of Britain's up and coming drivers when he died at the 1973 Dutch Grand Prix. He made his Formula One debut at the British Grand Prix but it ended almost immediately when he was involved in a 13-car pile-up. A fortnight later he lost control, possibly as a result of a burst tyre, and his car rolled and careered in flames down the track. Despite the brave efforts of David Purley to free him, a fire engine did not turn up for 10 minutes, and Williamson died of asphyxiation.