- August 17 down the years
Brambilla slithers to maiden GP win, then crashes
Italian Vittorio Brambilla scored his first grand prix victory at the Austrian Grand Prix from the British duo of James Hunt and Tom Pryce, who secured his first ever podium. Having qualified eighth, Brambilla slithered his March through the field and into the lead past Hunt on lap 19. Conditions deteriorated to such an extent that eventually the organizers were petitioned to stop the race. The chequered flag was shown and Brambilla in his excitement lost control of his car and crashed. He was able to rejoin and completed his victory lap with the front end of the car in a state of considerable disrepair.
Three-time Formula One World Champion Nelson Piquet was born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Although he won the last of his titles for Williams in 1987, Piquet is always associated with his title wins at Brabham in 1981 and 1983. Interestingly, Piquet was a name invented to conceal his racing from his family as his birth name was Nelson Soutomaior.
Jenson Button's future was once again in the news when it was announced that he would be loaned by Frank Williams to the Benetton team for two seasons as Colombian Indycar sensation Juan Pablo Montoya stepped in. "I will always be eternally grateful to Frank Williams and Patrick Head for giving me my great opportunity in Formula One," said Button. "I have some unfinished business at Williams."
The first British fatality as a result of a car came at Crystal Palace when 44-year-old Bridget Driscoll was run down by Arthur Edsall's imported Roger-Benz. "At the inquest, Florence Ashmore, a domestic servant, gave evidence that the car went at a 'tremendous pace', like a fire engine - 'as fast as a good horse could gallop'," the Times reported. "The driver, working for the Anglo-French Motor Co, said that he was doing 4mph when he killed Mrs Driscoll and that he had rung his bell and shouted."
Alain Prost won the Austrian Grand Prix at the Osterreichring a week after Formula One's first visit to Hungary. The Benetton-BMWs of Teo Fabi and Gerhard Berger qualified on the front row and set off into the distance but soon both were out with mechanical problems. When Nigel Mansell and Nelson Piquet both also retired, Prost was left leading the Ferraris of Michele Alboreto and Stefan Johansson and that is how it stayed.
Jean-Pierre Jabouille won the Austrian Grand Prix for Renault from the Williams duo of Alan Jones and Carlos Reutemann. Jones jumped into an early lead but soon had the yellow Renaults swarming all over the back of him and by lap 4, both were through with Arnoux leading. A clutch problem dropped Arnoux back down the field and Jabouille was just able to fend off Jones on fading tyres by the finish.
Ferrari secured a dominant 1-2-3 at the Dutch Grand Prix with Alberto Ascari leading home Giuseppe Farina and Luigi Villoresi. Having qualified third, Mike Hawthorn was up to second in the early stages but eventually finished fourth.