- November 1 down the years
Ferrari fails to prevent Hakkinen taking world titleWhat happened on this day in Formula One history?
Mika Hakkinen's flag-to-flag victory at the Japanese Grand Prix clinched him the first of two world titles and also gave McLaren its first constructors' crown since 1991. The only real challenge was likely to be from Michael Schumacher, but he had to start from the back of the grid and then he suffered a 165mph blowout when he ran over debris from an earlier crash, needing all his skill to bring his Ferrari to a safe stop. "I don't know how to start explaining my feelings," Hakkinen said. "I was aware of the pressure falling on me." Ferrari boss Jean Todt was not a happy man. "We have shown we are capable of winning grands prix," he said. "But we must show one day we are capable of winning a world championship." He need not have worried.
A better day for Ferrari, again at the Japanese Grand Prix, with an end-of-season win for Gerhard Berger, albeit one he admitted was made easier by the absence of Nigel Mansell who had crashed the previous day and whose absence ensured Nelson Piquet would collect his third world title regardless of what happened in the race. "With Nigel out, I think it's fair to say Nelson did not push as hard as he might of done otherwise," Berger said. Piquet still chased Ayrton Senna remorselessly until his engine gave out.
Twenty-year-old Ricardo Rodriguez was killed on this day, probably trying a little too hard to impress in qualifying in front of his home ground at the Mexican Grand Prix. He was also out to prove a point to Ferrari who had not entered the non-championship race, leading to him borrowing Rob Walker's Lotus. He entered the Peraltada corner too fast, ran out of track and ploughed into a barrier. He died instantly. His brother, Pedro, also a driver, considered quitting but carried on. Nine years later he too was killed while racing.
Eddie Irvine was sacked from the Jaguar team over the phone by team boss Niki Lauda, ending an ultimately disappointing career. Not everyone mourned the departure of the outspoken Ulsterman. "I'm not really bothered if Eddie gets a drive," Jenson Button admitted. "He can be good for the sport because he's quite outspoken. But he's getting on a bit now and there are a lot of new drivers who are very quick and who should be given their chance."
A fairly irrelevant end to a gripping season under lights at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, but Red Bull's 1-2 (Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber) did lay down a good marker for the next season. Champion Jenson Button ended his season with another spirited drive to take third, hounding Webber all the way to the finish.
The American Motor League, formed in Chicago on this day, was the world's first motoring organisation.
Jackie Lewis, born on this day in Stroud, Gloucestershire, forged his reputation in privately-owned Coopers, culminating in him winning the Formula 2 title in 1960. He entered Formula One as a privateer in 1961 and the season culminated in a fourth place at Monza in a race marred by a terrible accident which killed Ferrari driver Wolfgang von Trips and 15 spectators. That success earned him a drive for the Ecurie Galloise team in 1962 but he struggled and quit at the end of the season. Initially he was reported to be taking a year out, but he found solace in sheep farming and never returned.