- October 11 down the years
Hill extends cautious welcome to SennaWhat happened on this day in Formula One history?
Not the best of beginnings … on the day he was announced as Ayrton Senna's new team-mate at Williams-Renault for 1994, Damon Hill admitted he "had mixed emotions about driving alongside somebody who is as forceful and motivated as Ayrton …but I am not easily demoralised or crushed". Senna usually only signed one-year deals but agreed a two-year contract, reportedly worth £13 million a year, with Frank Williams.
So poor were relations between Fernando Alonso and his McLaren team - largely because of Alonso's jealously at rookie Lewis Hamilton - that he managed to persuade the FIA to send an independent steward to Sao Paolo for the final race of the season to ensure Hamilton was not getting preferential treatment. Carlos Garcia, the head of the Spanish motorsport federation, said: "The FIA will have a steward making sure that nothing wrong happens to Fernando, especially in qualifying, which is where there have been more complaints or strange situations in the last few grands prix."
A Spaniard born in London, Alfonso de Portago, the Marquis of Portago, had one of the longest names of any racer - Alfonso Antonio Vicente Eduardo Angel Blas Francisco de Borja Cabeza de Vaca y Leighton - and was a remarkable all-round sportsman. He twice rode as an amateur in the Grand National and represented Spain in the four-man bobsleigh at the 1956 Winter Olympics. He entered five F1 races, finishing second at the 1956 British Grand Prix, a year after breaking his leg in a crash during the same race. "I like the feeling of fear," he once said. "After a while a man becomes an addict and has to have it." He was killed in a crash during the 1957 Mille Miglia which also cost ten spectators their lives.
The single-seater A1GP series signed a deal for Ferrari to provide it with engines and design consultancy services for six years. "I always said that A1GP is going to provide its competitors with the best equipment in motor racing," said series chairman Tony Teixeira. "There's no bigger name in the sport than Ferrari. I'm tired of people saying 'This will never last' … we're here to stay." A1GP's last race was at Brands Hatch in May 2009 after which time the venture went into liquidation.
Plans were unveiled for two races in the US Automobile Club series to be staged at Brands Hatch and Silverstone on successive weekends in September and Octber 1978. "The deal allows Britsh fans their only sight of these spectacularly powerful cars," noted the Times.
Milan-born Nello Pagani's career lasted from 1928 to 1955 and he was best known for motorbike racing where he was 125cc world champion in 1949. In cars he was good enough to win the Pau Grand Prix in 1947 and 1948. His only F1 championship race was in Switzerland in 1950 when he came seventh.