Formula 1 never sleeps. Even if drivers and the on-track teams are enjoying their winter holidays, back to the factories many F1 people are still working on next year’s cars.
Since the ‘behind the scene’ is massive and most of the times unaccessible to the public, let’s therefore focus on the side of F1 under the spotlight: was has happened on the Christmas week in the history of Formula 1?
Firstly two (and a half) Formula 1 drivers were born on Christmas day.
Wilson Fittipaldi, older borther of Emerson, who raced for Brabham in 1972 and 1973, and in 1975 racing for Copersucar-Fittipaldi team, is one of them. Also Giancarlo Baghetti, winner of his debut race in 1961, was born on the 25th of December. The ‘half’ driver previously mentioned is Ma Qing Hua: he never raced in a Grand Prix, while he took part at five FP sessions between 2012 and 2013, being the first Chinese driver to join an official F1 session.
The year following Baghetti’s debut, in 1962, the Circus reached South Africa for the season finale. Race-day was on the 29th of December and Graham Hill stood on the top step of the podium clinching his first world title.
Such a late showdown took place the following year as well, again at the East London circuit: on the 28th of December 1963 Jim Clark won the final race of the season.
Ultimately, in 1965 South Africa hosted the opening round of that year... on the first of January! Driving for Lotus, Clark won that GP as well, wearing a corset following an injury due to a tumble. Another fun fact regarding the 1965 South African GP was the checkered flag being waved with still one lap to go. Clark won’t stop and completed the whole race distance.