• February 23 down the years

The Cuban kidnapping of a champion

What happened on February 23 in Formula One history
Juan Manuel Fangio missed the race but was released unharmed © Getty Images
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1958
Juan-Manuel Fangio was kidnapped by Cuban revolutionaries working under Fidel Castro and Che Guevara. They kidnapped him at gunpoint in his hotel before the Havana Grand Prix, an event he had won the year before. Fangio was unflustered by the event and emerged from it unharmed after the race. He refused to name his captors and sympathised with the communist movement taking place in the country. He later returned to the island as a guest of the state and said: "Two big dreams have come true for me: returning to Cuba and meeting Fidel Castro." The 1958 race went ahead without Fangio but was marred by tragedy when Armando Garcia Cifuentes crashed his Ferrari killing six spectators. Click here for the full story.

2009
The Spygate legal case against McLaren engineers Paddy Lowe, Jonathan Neale and Rob Taylor was dropped, after a 'no contest' agreement between the lawyers representing them and the Modena district attorney was reached. In exchange for not contesting the charges of copyright infringement relating to Ferrari's data, Coughlan paid €180,000, with the other three men paying €150,000 each.

2008
Paul Frere died at the age of 91 in Brussels. He competed in 11 grand prix under the Belgian flag, despite being born in France. He never completed a full season, instead taking part in the odd race between 1952 and 1956, but did drive for the works teams of Ferrari and Gordini. At his final F1 race he finished second at Spa Francorchamps behind his Ferrari team-mate Peter Collins. He also had a successful sports car career, winning the Le Mans 24 Hours in a Ferrari 250 Testarossa. In later life he became an established motor racing journalist and distinguished himself as one of the first writers to treat the sport as a skill that could be analysed and taught. A corner at Spa Francorchamps named after him in his honour.

1953
Satoru Nakajima was born in Aichi Japan. A popular figure in the paddock, he drove for Lotus and Tyrrell during his five year career between 1987 and 1991. He had strong links with Honda and used its engines in his first two years at Lotus and his final year at Tyrrell. In 1991 he left the sport to work on a works Honda F1 car called the RC 101. He finally tested the car at Suzuka in 1993 (after the Japanese manufacturer had halted its engine supply in 1992) but the company decided against racing it. He is also the father of ex-Williams F1 driver Kazuki Nakajima.

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