• November 21 down the years

France's F1 joker in the pack

What happened on this day in Formula One history?
Jacques Laffite displays his jovial nature © Sutton Images
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1943
Jacques Laffite, the first Frenchman to win a world championship race driving a French car with a French engine, was born in Paris. His impish sense of humour and irreverence, allied to a considerable talent behind the wheel, brightened the grand prix scene for more than a decade during the 1970s and 1980s. He took six wins in all with Ligier before an accident at the British Grand Prix ended his Formula One career in 1986.

2005
Giancarlo Fisichella had his road licence confiscated for speeding after he was caught driving at 148kph (92mph) in a 60kph (37mph) zone in Rome. It happened just six days after he appealed to Italian teenagers in a front-page article in Gazetta dello Sport not to engage in street racing after a 16-year-old was killed in a high- speed crash.

2007
Bernie Ecclestone called on Gordon Brown to use government money to fund a grand prix on the streets of London rather than supporting the 2012 Olympics. "Mayor Ken Livingstone was very helpful and we laid out a plan of what we could do," Ecclestone said. "It would have happened. It was just a question of where the money was going to come from. It would cost a small amount compared to what they're spending on the Olympics." The estimated cost to the British government would have been around $150 million.

2000
Three-time world champion Niki Lauda resigned from his post as chief executive of his airline Lauda-air after auditors reportedly discovered financial irregularities over the manner in which the Vienna-based operation was being run. "I will not go into whether this criticism is justified, how it is to be evaluated , or whether any blame can be attached to me personally," he said. "However, as I have always maintained that I would resign my function if so much as a semblence of a reason should arise to criticise me as an individual, I herewith announce my resignation." A month later it became a wholly owned subsidiary of Austrian Airlines.

2009
Mercedes dismissed growing rumours that Michael Schumacher was poised to make a dramatic comeback to F1 with a pithy comment from a spokesman: "It's clear that there will always be speculation as long as one cockpit is still free. And some speculations are nothing but dreams which will not come true." Schumacher's spokeswoman Sabine Kehm added: "Michael is enjoying his life very much. To me, a return would therefore be highly unlikely at the moment." Schumacher was unveiled as the team's new driver a month later.

2004
France's Alexandre Premat won the Macau Grand Prix, bringing his ASM Dallara-Mercedes home ahead of Robert Kubica and Lucas di Grassi at the end of a battle-scarred race which ended after 13 laps due to a multiple pile-up. Premat started third on the grid behind Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg. It was the Finn who took the lead but at the start of lap two both Rosberg and Hamilton went off, fighting for the Lisboa Corner and Premat took the lead but soon afterwards made a mistake and hit a barrier, which allowed Kubica to close up.

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