- February 22 down the years
Three-time champion bornWhat happened on February 22 in Formula One history
Three-time world champion Niki Lauda celebrates his birthday today. Born into a wealthy Austrian family, he went against his parents' wishes and borrowed money to go racing. He quickly made a name for himself, and after driving for Frank Williams and March in F2 in the early 1970s, he made the step up to F1. By 1974 he was a Ferrari driver and by 1975 he was a world champion. In 1976 he looked set to make it back-to-back titles but was involved in a terrifying crash at the Nurburgring which left him with serious facial burns. Remarkably he returned in the same season but narrowly lost out on the championship to James Hunt. He won another championship in 1977 before retiring for the first time. He came back in 1982 and won yet another championship in 1984 before retiring for good at the end of the 1985 season. Since he has set up his own airline company and spent a brief spell managing the Jaguar team in the early 2000s.
Jaguar boss Bobby Rahal told his driver Eddie Irvine to curb his criticism of the team ahead of the new season. Irvine had openly slammed the car's lack of pace at a test a couple of weeks earlier and Rahal was keen to put a lid on his brutally honest driver. "I think he was trying to tweak us a bit so we know what we ought to be doing for him," said Rahal. "I don't know if the criticisms are Eddie's way of motivating the team. I've seen other drivers do that, but I've never felt it was a very positive way of motivating people."
Ferrari signed a new contract with cigarette company Philip Morris to carry Marlboro sponsorship until 2006. Rumours that the EU-imposed ban on tobacco sponsorship would put Philip Morris off extending its deal were proved unfounded and the branding remained on the car. The two companies then raised even more eyebrows by agreeing on another deal that would extend the sponsorship to 2011. Rumoured to be worth US$1 billion over seven years, the ban meant that from 2006 the car didn't even carry the Marlboro brand but a series of stripes instead.
Jesús Ricardo Iglesias was born in Buenos Aires. He raced solely in Argentina, making a name for himself in long distance races with a Chevrolet Special. In 1955 he was invited to drive for the Gordini works team at his home grand prix but retired with transmission failure. He never got another drive in F1 and returned to endurance racing.