• September 18 down the years

The death of a Belgian aristocrat

What happened on September 18 in Formula One history?
Charles de Tornaco at the 1953 Belgian Grand Prix, three months before his death © Getty Images
Enlarge

1953
Belgian aristocrat and driver Charles de Tornaco died when he rolled his Ferrari while practising for the Modena Grand Prix. Without a doctor at the track, he had to be loaded into a private car for the journey to hospital but he died en route from serious head injuries. He was 26.

1951
Swiss born Marc Surer competed in 82 grands prix between 1979 and 1986 without ever climbing onto the podium, his best finish being a brace of fourths. To be fair, he struggled in a series of fairly uncompetitive cars and also broke his legs while testing an ATS in 1980. Another serious accident in 1986 killed his co-driver and in effect finished his F1 career. He was retained in various roles by by BMW and remained closely involved in the sport as a commentator and presenter.

2001
Organisers of the US Grand Prix ended speculation that the September 30 event could be cancelled in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks. Tony George, Indianapolis Motor Speedway president, said the race would go ahead "with deep respect for those affected by last week's tragedies".

2006
Olivier Panis announced his retirement from Formula One, ending a 12-year participation in which he had won once in 157 starts. In 1997 he was lying in third in the championship when he crashed in the Canadian Grand Prix, breaking his legs and missing the remainder of the season. He never again featured on the podium, and spent his last two years as a test driver. "It's time for me to move on and fulfil my wish to race again," he said.

2003
Jenson Button was forced to quit testing in Jerez after a high- speed accident when he lost control of his BAR and smashed into a wall. Button suffered bruised knees but the car was beyond repair.

1918
American driver Johnny Mantz was born in Hebron, Indiana. Mantz only ever made one grand prix appearance at the Indianapolis 500, but had 12 NASCAR Grand National starts winning his third NASCAR race, the first Southern 500 held at Darlington Raceway.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
Close