8. Mai – Heute jährt sich der Todestag von Gilles Villeneuve und das Bild oben zeigt den legendären Kanadier auf seinem Ferrari 312T3. Gilles errang den letzten Sieg dieses Models, bevor der neue 312T4 in der Saison 1979 debütierte, bekam aber für seinen Triumph keine WM-Punkte. Na? Klingelts?
F1-Wochenende, Übersetzungen müssen leider warten…
Luigi Emilio Rodolfo Bertetti was an Italian who emigrated to Brazil with his family when still a child and began his racing career in Brazil under the nickname Gino Bianco. In 1952 he joined Eitel Cantoni’s Escuderia Bandeirantes, driving a Maserati A6GCM. He took part in a total of 4 Grands Prix his best result being 18th at the British GP. Gino Bianco died in 1984 after suffering breathing problems.
Born: 27th of July 1916 in Turin, Italy;
Died: 8th of May 1984 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, aged 67.
Gastón Mazzacane jumped from Formula 3000 into the role of Formula 1 test driver with the Minardi team, despite a career with ups and downs, courtesy of his sponsor. He was promoted to the racing team in 2000 as title sponsor Telefonica wanted a South American driver in one of the team’s two cars. Mazzacane, however, failed to make much of an impression and was not retained at the end of the year. For 2001 he found support from TV network PSN and signed to drive for Prost Grand Prix but he was clearly out of his depth and was dropped after only a handful of races. He has since raced on and off in Champ Cars in the United States and thereafter resorted to the Argentine racing scene.
Rudolf Uhlenhaut was the son of a German father and a British mother. He studied mechanical engineering at the University of Munich before going straight into the Mercedes-Benz experimental department in 1931 and finally became involved in engine development programmes. In the middle of 1936 unexpectedly he was named technical director of the newly formed Competition Department at the age of 30. That year Mercedes-Benz had struggled to be competitive in Grand Prix racing and decided that the best course of action would be to test the cars himself to see what was wrong with them. He then designed a new car for 1937. The Mercedes W125 was one of the classic racing cars of the era and took Rudi Caracciola to the European title that year. A change in the formula for 1938 meant that Uhlenhaut had to design a completely new car for 1938. The result was the W154 which was the dominant Grand Prix car in 1938 and 1939 with Caracciola and Hermann Lang both winning European titles with the cars.
Uhlenhaut stayed with Mercedes-Benz during the war years and helped the company rebuild afterwards. The company re-entered competition in 1952 with the 300SL and in June that year Hermann Lang and Fritz Weiss won the Le Mans 24 Hours in one of the cars. and at the end of the year Karl Kling and Hans Klenk won the Carrera Panamericana. In 1954 the company returned to Grand Prix racing with the Uhlenhaut-designed streamlined W196 which was immediately dominant, taking Juan-Manuel Fangio to the World Championship that year. The company signed up Stirling Moss to be Fangio’s team mate in 1955 and Fangio won the title again. Mercedes-Benz also won the World Sportscar series with the 300SLR which won the Mille Miglia, the Tourist Trophy and the Targa Florio. The company also won the European Rally Championship with Wrener Engel in a 300SL. At Le Mans, however, one of the cars crashed into the crowd, causing the worst disaster in motor racing history and at the end of that season the company withdrew from competition. Uhlenhaut stayed with the company and became chief development engineer for passenger cars, notably with the Wankel rotary-engined C111 which appeared in 1970, until he retired.
Born: 15th of July 1906 in London, UK;
Died: 8th of May 1989 in Stuttgart, Germany, aged 82.
Gilles Joseph Henri Villeneuve received a phone call from Enzo Ferrari just a few weeks after his Formula 1 debut in Silverstone with McLaren and a month later he was a Ferrari driver making his debut for the Scuderia at Mosport Park. At his second race in Japan he had a huge accident, cartwheeling off the track. Two spectators were killed but Villeneuve was unhurt. He won his first F1 GP, the Canadian GP in Montreal the following year and in 1979 the South African, the Long Beach US-GP the other North American race at Watkins Glen, finishing the season as runner-up to team-mate Jody Scheckter in the standings. Most memorable moment: The epic wheel-banging battle with Rene Arnoux at the French GP in Dijon.
After a disastrous 1980 season Villeneuve won at Monaco and in Spain. In 1982 at Imola he was leading until the last lap when his Ferrari team-mate Didier Pironi, who was under team orders not to overtake, ignored the instruction and snatched the victory. Villeneuve was furious. Two weeks later at Zolder while trying to take pole position he ran into the back of Jochen Mass’s Rothmans March, the cartwheeling Ferrari broke apart throwing Villeneuve out of the cockpit into a catch fence killing him instantly.
Born: 18th of January 1950 in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Canada.
Died: 8th of May 1982 at Zolder Circuit, Belgium, aged 32.
Thomas Wheatcroft established his team Wheatcroft Racing in 1970 to run successfully a Brabham BT30 Formula 2 car for Derek Bell. He also bought a BT26 for a selection of F1 races although it was not very successful. In 1971 he bought Donington Park to provide a home for his collection of classic racing machinery and as a future home of the British Grand Prix. After pausing the previous year Wheatcroft returned to running teams in 1972 for another rising star – Roger Williamson – in British Formula 3 and occasional European F2 races.
In 1973 there was a full program of European F2 and selected F1 races with the March works team. Williamson’s first F1 race was the ill-fated British Grand Prix where he was involved in the famous first lap accident. His second was the Dutch GP. He crashed on the eighth lap, the car coming to rest upside-down and he died in the fire which followed. Wheatcroft continued to back drivers in Formula Atlantic and Formula 2 – notably Brian Henton – but his chief passion became developing Donington Park and his ambition to return Grand Prix racing to the track was fulfilled in 1993 when the European Grand Prix was held there.