• December 27 down the years

The man who won a count's wife in a bet

What happened on December 27 in Formula One history?
Hans von Stuck: a success backwards as well as forwards © Getty Images
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1900
Prolific pre-war racer Hans von Stuck was born in Warsaw, Poland. Despite many successes on the circuits for Auto Union he was better known for his domination of hill climbing earning him the nickname of "Berghonig" or "King of the Mountains". He also once won a race driving backwards after reversing the gearbox in his car. In 1926 Count Szichy, an Austrian playboy, bet that Stuck's Austro-Daimler couldn't match his Bugatti for speed. Stuck accepted the bet on the condition that the prize was the Count's wife. Stuck won the wager and the new couple remained together until her death in 1931.

2001
In an era of huge salaries, 34-year-old German Heinz-Harald Frentzen bucked the trend by taking a substantial pay cut to sign a one-year deal with Arrows. It was still believed to be worth around £500,000. Frentzen was sacked midway through the previous season by Jordan after a poor performance at the British Grand Prix. "No matter. I want to race," Frentzen said. "It's my passion." It turned out to be a mixed blessing as the Arrows team went bust before the season was out.

1969
Jean-Christophe Boullion was born in Saint-Brieuc, France. Although he originally signed as a Williams test driver for 1995 he was loaned to Sauber as a replacement for Karl Wendlinger for most of the season. Although he scored three championship points he rarely matched the performance of his team mate Heinz-Harald Frentzen.

1993
Andre Pilette died in Belgium - he was 75. He entered 14 grand prix between 1951 and 1964 but failed to qualify for four and shared a drive in a fifth.

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