Wednesday, 20 August 2014

On This Day in Formula One - 20 August

The last major grand prix before the war was staged at Bremgarten in Switzerland, and in a bid to lure the Italians into taking part and challenge the all-conquering Germans, the organisers ran the race in two heats, one for Voiturettes and one for GP cars, with the best from each going to a combined final. On a slippery track, Mercedes dominated with Hermann Lang, that year's European champion, winning the race, three seconds ahead of Rudolf Caracciola, and German entries occupied the top six places. But the performance of Nino Farina, whose Alfa Romeo came seventh but ahead of several of the more powerful Mercedes and Auto Union entries, took the plaudits for a courageous drive.

It was Michael Schumacher's turn to step up his rehabilitation when he got behind the wheel of his Ferrari for the first time since his crash at Silverstone resulted in a broken leg. Schumacher tested alongside Mika Salo and Eddie Irvine at the team's Mugello circuit. He limped a little when he got out of his Ferrari after he completed one lap, but after a pause he drove four more laps.

Renault announced that its driver line-up of Jarno Trulli and Fernando Alonso would remain unchanged for the following season. "This driver line-up provides us with the perfect balance," said team boss Flavio Briatore. "Next year will be Jarno's eighth season in Formula One, and everybody knows he is an extremely fast, competitive racing driver. Fernando has more than justified the faith we showed in him last year, and is maturing with the team as he acquires experience at the highest level."

It had been a decade since Ferrari test driver Luca Badoer had entered an F1 grand prix, but he got his chance when Felipe Massa suffered a serious injury at the Hungarian Grand Prix. A planned comeback by Michael Schumacher stalled when the former champion was sidelined by a neck injury, and so on this day the team announced Badoer - whose record between 1993 and 1999 was no points from 48 starts - would be in the No. 2 car for the European Grand Prix . Eyebrows were raised, and doubts were justified when he was more than two seconds behind team-mate Kimi Räikkönen in practice at Valencia, also incurring four fines for speeding in the pit lane. In the race itself he came 17th out of 18 finishers, and in Belgium he was 14th out of 14 finishers. Enough was enough and Ferrari brought in Giancarlo Fisichella for the Italian Grand Prix.Badoer blamed the negative media coverage of his driving for Ferrari's decision to replace him. The reality was he was simply far too ring rusty.


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