• December 30 down the years

Lauda's saviour born

What happened on December 30 in Formula One history?
Guy Edwards pulled Niki Lauda from his burning Ferrari at the 1976 German Grand Prix © Press Association
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1942
Guy Edwards , born on this day in Macclesfield, Cheshire, had a low-key F1 career - 17 grand prix between 1974 and 1977 with a best finish of seventh - but is best remembered as one of three drivers who pulled Niki Lauda free from his burning wreckage at the Nurburgring in 1976. "I had time to get out of my car and run back and save him," he told Autosport in 1996."Petrol fires are such awful things. This was a big one. The heat and noise were incredible. It was not a pretty sight at all. I was running towards the fire and I was thinking - do I really want to do this? The honest answer was 'no way'. But what could I do? Stop and walk back? Holy hell, it was a mess. But the flames were so thick, I couldn't see the bastardc … I got hold of an arm and a good grip on his body and the little sod came out with all of us falling in a heap. We pulled him out like a cork from a bottle." He was later awarded the Queens's Gallantry Medal for his bravery and subsequently became a sponsorship consultant within motor racing.

2002
A remarkable outburst by former world champion Alain Prost who labelled his successors little better than "trained monkeys". He continued: "[The drivers] simply follow the instructions of the engineers and let the computers do all the work. To me it's not a real racing competition any more. And what's worse, these drivers are so much a part of the whole system that they have to keep quiet so as not to harm the image of the team or the sponsors. I don't want to sound old-fashioned, but in the past 10 years drivers have become increasingly like robots."

1936
Mike Spence was born in Croydon, Surrey, he competed in 36 grands prix between 1963 and 1968. Following Jim Clark's death in early 1968, Colin Chapman invited Spence to race as part of the Lotus team for the Indy 500. Spence was testing the revolutionary Lotus 56 Gas Turbine at Indy when he crashing into a wall. He was struck on the head by one of the wheels and died a few hours later.

1956
Francois Hesnault was born in Neuilly, Paris. He raced in 19 grand prix in 1984 and 1985 but finished just five of these. His small place in F1 history came in his final outing, which was in a Renault at the 1985 German Grand Prix, when his car was the first to be fitted with an onboard camera - it was also the last race where a team entered three cars. He retired soon after, having suffered a heavy crash in testing with Brabham.

1911
Walt Brown was born in Springfield, New York. He competed in two Indianapolis Grand Prix in 1950 and 1951. He was killed in a racing accident in the US in 1951 at the age of 39.

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