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On This Day in F1 is brought to you by TheJudge13 OTD Chief Editor: CavallinoRampante
Who’s Ralph Firman?
Montoya Slams Schumacher
Sauber Hits the Ice
2003: Eddie Jordan, the owner of Jordan GP, had the F1 world scratching its head when he announced that relatively unknown driver Ralph Firman, would be partnering Giancarlo Fisichella for the 2003 season. Firman who was born in England, yet drove under an Irish licence had won the 1996 British F3 championship for Paul Stewart Racing.
He subsequently had competed in Formula Nippon for the previous six years, winning the championship in 2002. Firman was less than impressive during the season scoring a single point. He was dropped for the 2004 season for drivers Timo Glock and Giorgio Pantano.
1979: Jacques Laffite won the 1979 Brazilian GP today in a Ligier JS11. Laffite had won the Argentinean GP two weeks earlier taking pole and fastest lap, was to emulate his performance today at Interlagos. Patrick Depailler would win the Spanish GP later in the season, the only time the team would win three GP’s in a season. While the teams start was strong they would fade as the season progressed, being eclipsed by Ferrari and Williams.
2003: Juan Montoya the Williams BMW driver slammed Michael Schumacher at the final day of pre-season testing at Barcelona. The Columbian driver stated the only reason why Schumacher is so dominant is because he drives the better car. Amusingly Ferrari technical head Ross Brawn at the German GP referred to Montoya as a madman for his pass on Schumacher. He also stated that, “It was a very crude overtaking move, and he has done it several times before. He is not a classy driver in that respect.” The Montoya feud with Schumacher would last until the Columbian left F1 for NASCAR in 2006.
2007: – Sauber staged what had to be one of the most unique PR stunts today. An F1.07 was fitted with studded tyres and driven on a frozen lake at St. Moritz by lead driver Nick Heidfeld. The event which was organized by Sauber sponsor Credit Suisse, was described by Heidfeld as “quite a unique experience”.