16th October is a fairly momentous occasion in Formula One history. A number of events took place that could have changed the course of F1 forever. From driver swansongs to the birth of a future star, October 16th has it all.
1994 European GP: Fresh from his two-race ban for ignoring a black flag at the British GP, Michael Schumacher romped to a comfortable victory at Jerez ahead of Damon Hill and Mika Hakkinen.
This was also Andrea de Cesaris’s final grand prix – albeit in slightly unusual circumstances. For much of the season he’d been racing for Sauber in place of the injured Karl Wendlinger but following the European GP (which de Cesaris retired from with throttle problems) Wendlinger was expected to return for the final two races. As it turns out he wasn’t quite fit enough, so the team tried to get de Cesaris back. However, he’d gone off on holiday and nobody could get hold of him, so Sauber got JJ Lehto to drive the last two races instead.
McLaren Drained Away: The finale of the 2005 F1 season was set for a showdown for the constructors’ title between Renault and McLaren in China. Renault were on full attack having sealed the drivers’ championship for Fernando Alonso. The team secured the front row in qualifying and Alonso comfortably won the race ahead of Kimi Raikkonen. With Giancarlo Fisichella in fourth behind Ralf Schumacher, it was enough for Renault to win its first constructors’ title.
However, things might not have been that straightforward had Juan Pablo Montoya finished the race. He was running fourth when he went over a kerb and struck a drain cover that had worked its way loose. He kept going for a while but the damage it caused was so bad that he eventually had to retire, effective sending McLaren’s title hopes down the drain with him.
Goodbye V10s: The same race was also the final one with the screaming V10 engines. Fernando Alonso, driving for Renault, won the race, and in effect, the final V10 victory in Formula One.
A Star is Born: Current F1 star and soon-to-be Ferrari driver, Charles LeClerc also celebrates his birthday today as well. The Monegasque driver also wrapped up the GP3 and F2 titles in his debut season. Now, in his maiden season with Sauber, he has impressed to much that he has earned a call-up to Ferrari.