- March 4 down the years
Scotland's double champion is bornWhat happened on March 4 in Formula One history?
Many continue to argue that Jim Clark, born on this day in Kilmany in Scotland, was one of, if not the, greatest Formula One driver of all time. With Colin Chapman, he formed a brilliant owner-driver partnership at Lotus, winning the world title in 1963 and 1965, and also becoming the first F1 driver to win the Indianapolis 500 in 1965. At the time of his death in 1968 in a Formula Two race at Hockenheim he had won more grand prix (25) and taken more F1 poles (33) than any other driver. On his gravestone in Chirnside, Berwickshire, he is listed as a farmer ahead of his racing achievements, in accordance to his wishes.
The first race of the season in Australia also saw the first fatality. In a huge accident Jacques Villeneuve hit the back of Ralf Schumacher, launching Villeneuve's car into the air. It smashed into the concrete retaining wall, and one of the wheels detached and managed to pass through a small gap in the catch fencing killing marshal Graham Beveridge. This accident lead to the eventual introduction of wheel tethers in Formula One.
Nino Vaccarella, a former school headmaster turned race driver, is considered a living legend in his native Italy where he was born on this day. He competed in five grand prix but is better known for winning Le Mans in 1964 as well as the Targa Florio in 1965, 1971 and 1975.
South Africa hosted the second round of the season and the race was won by Denny Hulme in his McLaren Ford. Jackie Stewart had led for much of the grand prix but had to retire with gearbox trouble 35 laps from the end. Stewart took pole for the race after a quicker time attributed to Carlos Reutemann was found to be as a result of an error by the timekeepers.
Jos Verstappen was born in Montford, Holland. The veteran of 106 grand prix, he scored two podium finishes and scored 17 points, making him the most successful Dutch F1 driver. He suffered burns when his car caught alight during a pit stop in the 1994 German Grand Prix.