• October 14 down the years

'Save the sport from its soporific predictability'

What happened on this day in Formula One history?
Mika Hakkinen heads out for his final grand prix at Suzuka in 2001 © Sutton Images
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2001
Michael Schuamcher rounded off the season with victory at the Japanese Grand Prix but such had been his domination that many were beginning to question if it was good for the sport - by the time he repeated his success in 2002, even the sport's big guns were having doubts. "It now seems essential that another driver responds to the challenge to save the sport from its soporific predictability, after another year when its title was settled with the season only three- quarters old," wrote Ray Matts in the Daily Mail. "For that reason alone, it was comforting to see Juan Pablo Montoya and David Coulthard alongside Schumacher on the Suzuka podium, representing some kind of viable competition for the future." Coulthard has been handed the podium place by McLaren team-mate Mika Hakkinen, taking part in his last grand prix, who moved over five laps from the end. "By letting him [Coulthard] past I wanted to give him something back for the occasions in the past when he has helped me."

1909
For two years Bernd Rosemeyer, who was born on this day in Lower Saxony, was one of the best drivers in the world driving one of the best cars (Auto Union). In his second grand prix at the Nürburgring in 1935 he was poised to win when he missed a gear and was pipped to victory by Rudolf Caracciola. Later that year he won his first grand prix at the Brno Masaryk Circuit in Czechoslovakia. His success brought him to the attention of the Nazi party and he was made an honorary member of the SS; it would have been foolhardy to refuse but he managed to get away with never wearing the uniform. He won several more European grand prix in 1936 and 1937 as well as the Vanderbilt Cup in the USA, and in 1936 took the European Championship. Ten weeks after the birth of his son in November 1937, he was killed during a world speed record attempt on the Autobahn between Frankfurt and Darmstadt when he lost control of his Auto Union Streamliner.

1947
Despite being born In New York, Rikky von Opel was the first, and to date only, driver from Liechtenstein to have raced in F1. Independently wealthy - his family founded the Opel car maker - he funded and drove for the Ensign team in 1973 after winning the British Formula Three Championship the previous year. He was a decent driver rather than just a rich kid, and when the car held together, which was not often, he put in decent performances. Mechanical issues at the opening race in 1974 led to Opel giving away his shares in Ensign and switching to Brabham as a pay driver at the start of the European season. He managed two ninths but promptly quit after failing to qualify for the French Grand Prix and walked away from the sport. At the start of his career he used the pseudonym Antonio Bronco to avoid his disapproving family finding out he was racing.

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