• March 15 down the years

Lotus slung out of US Grand Prix

What happened on March 15 in Formula One history?
Riccardo Patrese leads the US Grand Prix © Sutton Images
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1981
The American Grand Prix was held at Long Beach in California and was won by Alan Jones in his Williams Ford; he also recorded the fastest lap of the race. Riccardo Patrese put his Arrows Ford on pole position - this was his and the team's first pole. Unfortunately for Arrows it was also their last. There was controversy before the race when the Lotus 88 was black-flagged during practice and banned from competing after complaints from 11 teams about the car's skirts.

1994
Alain Prost ended months of speculation by ruling out a second comeback to Formula One with McLaren-Peugeot. Rumours had started after he test-drove the new McLaren MP4 9 at Estoril. "I am not ready to take the risks anymore," he said. "To be truthful, I haven't changed my mind since I made my original decision. I did the test drive to see if I really wanted to start all over again. The answer is no."

1927
American racer Al Herman was born. He competed in five grand prix all at Indianapolis with his best finish, 11th in the 1955 race, earning him the title of "Rookie of the Year". He died after sustaining serious injuries in a Midget car crash at the West Haven Speedway in 1960. He was 33 years old.

1913
British driver Jack Fairman was born in Surrey; he competed in 12 grand prix between 1953 and 1961. His best season was 1956, when he scored five championship points. He enjoyed his first experience of motorsport in 1934, in an Alvis 12/50 which he used for hillclimbs and trails, he soon moved onto circuit races at Brooklands but his activities were curtailed by the outbreak of war. He died at a motorsport retirement home in Rugby in 2002 aged 88.

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