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JULY


1 July 1979

renault.jpg (15636 bytes)When Renault showed up at the British Grand Prix in 1977 with a 1.5-liter turbo charged engine there were many in the paddock who dismissed the French carmaker's entry as hopeless. Even after their first win in 1979 it was almost another four years before Honda and TAG/Porsche entered the fray. The term turbo-lag became common place as the early turbos would kick in only in a straight line leaving the first Renaults with 200 bhp in the corners. At their peak they produced almost 1300 bhp in qualifying trim. The turbocharged engines of Honda and later TAG/Porsche would eventually reign over the Grand Prix grid until 1988 and then they disappeared as dinosaurs had in a previous millennium.

4 July 1914

The victors with Lautenschlager in the first car on the leftIn 1908 Mercedes won their great victory at the French Grand Prix and many felt that the German company had grown soft after their withdrawal from racing and was quite content to rest on their laurels. Paul Daimler had other ideas and when the time came for the 1914 French Grand Prix to be held, Mercedes had already completed 30,000 miles of testing with the majority done at Lyon the site of the French Grand Prix. The result was a Mercedes 1-2-3, the first such result ever accomplished in a Grand Prix.

13 July 1918

Alberto AscariAlberto Ascari was the son of a great driver Antonio Ascari. His greatest joy came when he was in the lead for while in the lead he was in his element. After all the great Italian champions of the past, Nuvolari, Varzi, Campari and Ascari there have been no more.  

16 July 1977

Gilles VilleneuveGilles Villeneuve began his all to brief career in a McLaren.His first F1 race (also the debut event for the turbo Renault) was at Silverstone. Lauda called him the craziest driver he had ever met but even he could not deny the genius that was in the French Canadian. Discussing his disputed race with Pironi at Imola in 1982 he remarked without the slightest hint of boastfulness: "I think I've proved that, in equal cars, if I want someone to stay behind me... well, I think he stays behind..."

20 July 1943 Chris AmonManfred von Brauchitsch was called die Pechvogel, the unlucky bird, though he had several major victories to his credit. Chris Amon for all his talent  had none. If Stirling Moss is the greatest driver never to have won a title then Chris Amon must surly be the greatest driver never to have won a Grand Prix.

20 July 1957 vanwall3.jpg (18277 bytes)Since the end of World War II, Formula 1, except for a brief period when Mercedes-Benz competed, has been dominated by a sea of Italian red. You had to drive an Alfa Romeo, Maserati or Ferrari if you were to have any hope of winning. The British Racing Motors V16 project, which was ruled by committee, was floundering. Tony Vandervell, the "ThinWall" bearing magnate was one of its early supporters. But he soon found himself tiring of the constant delays, brought about by infighting and red tape. He abruptly quit the project and chose to embark on his own course. The resulting Vanwall team scored their and England's first Grand Prix victory fittingly on the 20th of July, at the British Grand Prix. In 1958 they won the constructor's championship.