On 17 February 1901, the first car named Mercedes, made by Daimler, was debuted at the Circuit du Sud-OuestFrance in the hands of Maurice Farman who recorded his first racing victory, winning in a 24-hp Panhard – his brother, Henri Farman, finished second in a 12-hp Darracq. It was run in three classes around the streets of Pau.
Now, 119 years later Mercedes is one of the most appreciated and formidable auto manufacturers with the best Formula 1 team in the history of the sport.
In 2003, on this day BAR boss David Richards played down the significance of an ongoing war of words between his drivers Jacques Villeneuve and Jenson Button. Villeneuve claimed that Button had to earn his respect and prove his mental resilience to compete in the top flight of F1. Button replied by saying he was not at his new team to earn Villeneuve’s respect and a tit-for-tat battle began between the two ensued.
13 years ago F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone put forward the idea of having a US Grand Prix in Las Vegas in 2007, after concerns over tyre safety for Michelin runners meant the 2005 race at Indianapolis featured just six cars. The relationship between Ecclestone and Indianapolis circuit boss Tony George was on thin ice after the controversy and Ecclestone said he was looking into other options. The last race to be held in Las Vegas took part in the Caesar’s Palace car park in 1982 but the drew small crowds.
The Grove outfit’s woes were terminal, with testing merely the catalyst for an awful season for their drivers, comeback hero Robert Kubica and highly-rated rookie George Russell were handed totally insufficient tools to even pretend they were in the same race as their rivals.
In Spain, Ferrari had a successful outing with the SF90 ahead of testing at Circuit de Catalunya, with Sebastian Vettel and new boy Charles Leclerc shaking down what turned out to be one of the best cars produced at Maranello in this hybrid-turbo era.