On this day in F1: 3rd February

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On this day in F1 is brought to you by TheJudge13 chronicler: CavallinoRampante

Prost Advises Button to Go to Williams

Mercedes Buy a Stake in McLaren

New Ferrari Engine Introduced

BAR Consider Move to Japan

Mercedes To Buy Rest of Brawn Shares

2000: At a press conference in this year four time F1 WC and Prost GP owner Alain Prost said that he had advised Jensen Button to join the Williams BMW team for the current season. Button had tested the Prost GP car in 1999 and had been expected to join the Prost Junior Team in 2000.

Button who won the Williams drive after the departure of Alex Zanardi became the youngest ever British F1 driver. Prost noted that he actually held an option on Button for the 2000 season but released him from the obligation when the Williams drive arose. It was advice that would prove to be crucial in Button’s career as the Prost GP team would collapse in 2002 under a mountain of debt.

2000: Mercedes announced this year that they were buying 40% of McLaren. Mercedes said they were delighted to be able to purchase the shares, noting that McLaren had been using Mercedes F1 engines since 1995, which powered Mika Häkkinen to two WC’s.

The two companies’s also announced plans to build a series of sports cars, which in 2003 produced the McLaren Mercedes SLR. With Mercedes purchase of the Brawn team it has subsequently sold most of the shares back to McLaren intending to reduce their holdings to zero. 

2001: Paolo Martinelli, Ferrari’s head of F1 engine design, announced that for the 2001 season Ferrari would be using the new Tipo 050 engine. The 90° V-10 was lighter and 30 BHP more powerful than the previous Tipo 049. The engine was used in the F2001 car and propelled Michael Schumacher to eight victories and the drivers WC, and Ferrari to the constructors WC.

2005: Dave Richards, the head of the BAR F1 team, threatened in 2004 to move the team from the UK to Japan unless UK F1 teams were exempted from the UK tobacco ad ban that was to begin in July 2005.

The ad ban was unique in that teams based in the UK would be prohibited from carrying tobacco sponsorship anywhere in the world while teams not based in the UK could continue carrying tobacco sponsorship while not in an EU country. There was also concern that TV stations would also be prohibited from showing races from outside the UK that showed cars carrying tobacco sponsorship.

2011: Mercedes announced in 2011 their intent to buy the remaining 25% of the shares of the Mercedes F1 team held by team principal, Ross Brawn. Previously Mercedes had announced their intent to divest themselves of their holding in McLaren.

8 responses to “On this day in F1: 3rd February

  1. Alain just got a massive load more respect from my camp. Never knew that. Takes real guts and character to turn a talent away from one’s own outfit, because accepting you are not what’s the best needs deep honestly and self knowledge and trust in judgment and lack of blind faith. I was never a AP fan really, when he drove. But if he did that, let Jensen go to where he’d do better, all I can say is that’s a real man making the call. I guess so many things happen that we do not see, even those in the paddock may not know half of it. But Alain Prost just did more in that act to impress me than I can ever imagine. Sure, hindsight and all that, and Jensen by strange ways paid it all back. Thank you M Prost, that was a super call, you let a driver through above your team, above your self interest, and so doing proved you are a honest man who is no to be deceived.

    • Unlike the gnome in a home in Concorde. Prost was a good guy. Whatever you think of him, Senna – who I think some brilliance/some petulant child – was persistently getting under Alain’s skin and at times just for fun. Therefore IMHO some of the less pretty side of Alain was a reaction to Senna – it was not the way he wanted to be. IMHO

  2. Thanks CavallinoRampante and Bart for contributing these articles! Nice writing style and interesting content too of course 🙂

    Curious about the tobacco ban… what was the end result? I guess at some point later on the FIA banned tobacco advertising?

    The F2001 sounded amazing too!

  3. Thank you for this Cav.
    I agree with Lloya, I have forgotten how awesome those V10 sounded.
    Lloyla – have you read the Bernie’s biography “No Angel”? Some rather interesting insight into politics and if I recall correctly he made a donation to the Labour party for them to drop the ban… they obviously did not 🙂

      • They, the labour party, were completely broke at the time and had to rush about scrounging and arranging loans in order to pay back the £1m. This was in order for it not to look like a bribe to continue cigarette advertising in F1 on tv in the UK. In fact he/it got an extension of a few years. That’s how a million got the nickname “A Bernie” which is still used in political critique. In fact Bernie claims that it was to help a party win who had indicated would be most favourable taxwise when they after the next election.

        I have not read No Angel but do have two other biogs of Bernie of which Susan Watkins (Sid’s wife/widow) is the best.

        • ‘No Angel’ is fine, and you get some interesting historic detail – but I get the distinct feeling Bernie wants me to view him the way he is portrayed – and that irritates me. Maybe he’s just done so many about turns we all feel double and treble bluffed by Mr. Big

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