On this day in F1: 31st January

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On This Day  – January 31

brought to you by TheJudge13 chronicler: CavallinoRampante

Mosley Announces Black Boxes

Renault Introduce Seamless Shift Gearbox

Mauro Baldi Born

JJ Lehto Born

Jo Bonnier Born

Max Mosley, president of FIA, motor sport’s governing body announced in 1996 the introduction of aircraft –style black boxes in F1 cars. The announcement was part of the FIA’s F1 safety campaign. Mosley explained that the black boxes, had they been in use two years earlier, may have explained the causes behind the deaths of Aryton Senna and Roland Ratzenburger twenty-one months earlier in Imola. Mosley added that the black boxes may have clarified the reasons behind the collision involving Michael Schumacher and Damon Hill in Australia at the end of the 1994 season. Initially the black boxes would be installed experimentally in some cars for the 1996 season, with all cars carrying them in 1997.

Renault announced that the RE27 which was used in the 2007 season would feature a seamless shift gearbox. While seamless shift gearboxes were in use in 2006 by McLaren and Williams, this marked Renault’s first attempt to use the technology in F1. Seamless shift gearboxes, by always keeping the car in gear, ended deceleration through aero-drag, which had previously occurred when a new gear was selected and the car was even for milliseconds out of gear. The system proved reliable with no in race failures and the car finishing third in the constructors world championship. Nico Rosberg and Ross Brawn explain the system. 

Italian f1 driver Mauro Baldi was born on this day in 1954. Baldi competed from 1982 to 1985 for Arrows, Alfa Romeo and Sprit, scoring five points in forty-one starts.

Finnish F1 driver JJ Lehto was born on this day in 1966. Lehto won the 1988 British F3 championship driving for Pacific Racing.  He moved into F1 in 1989 and would drive for Onyx, Scuderia Italia, Sauber and Benneton over the next six seasons. He scored a total of tens points and had one podium during his F1 career. After F1 he competed in DTM and Lemans before retiring from racing in 2005. 

Swedish F1 driver Joakim “Jo” Bonnier was born in Sweden on this day in 1930. The son of a wealthy Swedish family Bonnier entered F1 in 1956 with Maserati and until he retired from F1 in 1971 he would drive for eight other teams, two of which he owned. He won the 1959 Dutch GP in a private BRM. In 1972 Bonnier entered LeMans in a Lola where he was killed after a collision sent him off the track and he hit a tree. He was forty-two. 

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13 responses to “On this day in F1: 31st January

    • Ditto that… Cavallino…
      But it still sickens me whenever I see repeated evidence of Herr Schumacher’s inglorious career… There were too many such incidents, with no apologies…

  1. Great Contribution
    I have a question on another topic… did anyone watching the McLaren presentation noticed Paddy ? I saw Martin, Big Ron et consort but no Paddy… May be i’m wrong

  2. Martin Whitmarsh says “Paddy is still part of the team for another year”. #whereispaddy Says it was Paddy’s own choice not to be here.

  3. Thank you Cavallino!

    Bonnier left this world as I entered it, but though I know next to nothing about the man (some reading definitely to be done, and this is the sort of reason why I asked if anyone wanted, for research and private use, for me to scan past magazine coverage, to pan for the gold in the interviews and impressions), his name stuck in my most youthful mind in (as far as a child may appreciate) a very romantic way. I think in a way my formative mind actually connected with the sadness and tragedy of racing, in those dangerous years, and was marked by it, ever since. Such a contrast of thought, to being born into wealthy suburbia, in a town I could roam safely the moment I could walk. It all looked to be such a tremendous world, this racing life, vital, human, above all a challenge to the fates and the stylised formalities of my upbringing, steeped in home comforts and the advertising that still then addressed a commonality of domestic idyll, even if it was through the luxury of “Smash” dried potato to usurp healthy dinners mother made. We’d do well, whilst we can, I think, to think what of those times can be brought again to the sensation of young racing fans today.

    I’ve maybe put too much on my plate already, chatting behind the scenes about even the little I might do for here (sorry TJ, fell asleep at the computer wheel, so email follows in a bit, got so lost typed in a near trance, until I drifted off, and was woken by my body spilling out of my chair and forehead connecting firmly with my sideboard .. I took it easy today!) but I think even for myself, I want to dive in to the articles and views and quotes of that era, and these men sadly not with us any longer.

    Excellent OTD, and a super start, thank you again!

  4. We tend to forget that Max was instrumental in upgrading safety, he implemented a lot of what Sid asked for.

    The seamless shift is something special, I first remember hearing about it on rally cars, where the foot can be kept hard down and change up without lifting. Ross’s explanation did not help at all,wha the said was physically impossible.

    • I think the clip you picked of Schumacher reallyexplains why my wife went off F1. She used to watch the races with me on tv but couldn’t stand “That nasty German who is a bully”.

      I always felt that Murray sat on the fence with SCM, Monaco was so blatant though that the stewards finally got tough on him, having let him get away with murder for years.

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