F1 On This Day: 12th September

12th September is the day on which the most ever lead changes were recorded in 1965, the day Lauda returned to racing after his 1976 accident and the day Alonso won in front of the Tifosi in 2010. The 2021 Italian Grand Prix will be the eighth F1 race held on 12th September.

12th September Races in Stats:

  • All seven previous races on this date have been held at Monza.
  • Ferrari, who have won the last two races held on this day, are the only team to have taken multiple wins on 12th September.
  • In all seven races previously held on this date, the winner has never gone on to win the World Championship in the same season.
  • All of the last four races on this day have been won from the front row – but the last two are the only ones to be won from pole position.
  • Five previous races on this date have been won by less than 3.5 seconds.
  • The Safety Car is yet to make an appearance on 12th September.
  • Jenson Button is the only driver to have recorded multiple podium finishes on this date. Fernando Alonso could join him in that club at the 2021 Italian Grand Prix.
  • Less than 80% of starters have finished in every race held so far on this date.
  • The 1965 Italian Grand Prix is the only previous race on this day in which Ferrari have failed to finish on the podium.
  • The polesitter has retired from three of the seven previous races on this day.
  • All of the last five races on this day have seen at least one driver retire on the opening lap.

1965 Italian Grand Prix

Jackie Stewart recorded the first win of his illustrious Formula 1 career on this day in 1965 at the Italian Grand Prix. Four different drivers led the race, with 42 lead changes over the course of the afternoon; the most ever in a World Championship Grand Prix. Stewart battled throughout the race with fellow Brits Jim Clark, John Surtees and Graham Hill. Clark, who had been crowned World Champion at the previous round, retired from his 50th Grand Prix, while Surtees led a single lap before retiring at the midway point. The BRMs of Stewart and Hill were left to lead home a 1-2 victory, with Stewart expected to move over for team leader Hill. However, on the penultimate lap, Hill put a wheel on the grass at the Parabolica and lost time to Stewart, allowing the Scotsman to take his first F1 win.

1976 Italian Grand Prix

Niki Lauda made his miraculous Grand Prix comeback at Monza on this day in 1976 following his near-fatal crash at the Nurburgring just five weeks earlier. After qualifying fifth, the Austrian finished the race in fourth place. The 1976 Italian Grand Prix was won by Ronnie Peterson, who recorded the final win for the March team. Jacques Laffite – who finished in third place – had recorded his and Ligier’s first pole position the previous day.

Clay Regazzoni, who finished as runner-up, was one of the three Ferrari cars entered for this race. In addition to Regazzoni and Lauda, Carlos Reutemann also raced for the team, finishing in seventh place. Reutemann had been invited to replace Lauda until he had recovered, but the speed of the Austrian’s recovery was unexpected. It was the first time that the team had entered three cars since the Monza race four years previously, and proved to be the last time that they would do so. Meanwhile, Jacky Ickx became the sixth driver to have started 100 World Championship Grands Prix.

1982 Italian Grand Prix

Mario Andretti returned to Ferrari on this day in 1982. Andretti’s appearance was a one race deal – just as he had negotiated with Frank Williams earlier in the season at the United States Grand Prix West – though he’d go on to appear at the final race of the season too, where he would retire. Ten years on from his last appearance with the Italian team, the 1978 World Champion took pole position for the Italian Grand Prix, pipping Nelson Piquet to the best time by just 0.035 seconds. The race was to be won by Rene Arnoux, however, who led from start to finish. Fittingly, Arnoux had been announced as a Ferrari driver for 1983 over the race weekend. Andretti’s team-mate Patrick Tambay finished second, while the American finished in third place, recording the final podium finish of his F1 career.

World Championship leader Keke Rosberg had a race to forget. His rear wing came off and had to be replaced, which cost him time and saw him finish outside of the points. Meanwhile, John Watson’s fourth place closed him to nine points behind Rosberg’s title lead – meaning that it would be all to play for at the final race of the season.

1993 Italian Grand Prix

Damon Hill was ninth at the end of the first lap of the Italian Grand Prix on this day in 1993, but went on to win the race. Hill made contact with Ayrton Senna at the first corner, dropping the British driver down the order. The Williams driver was able to make a comeback through the field and was in second place in the closing stages. Team-mate Alain Prost had led the entire race until Lap 49 of 53 when his engine expired. As a result, Hill became the first driver to take his first three Grand Prix victories consecutively – a feat which has been repeated only once since, by Mika Hakkinen.

Hill wasn’t the only relative of a World Champion to get people talking at the 1993 Italian Grand Prix. Michael Andretti, son of Mario, made his final F1 appearance at this race before returning to the IndyCar series. On his final start, Andretti secured the only podium finish of his career with third place. Meanwhile Christian Fittipaldi, nephew of Emerson, flipped over the finish line following a collision with Minardi team-mate Pierluigi Martini.

Two drivers made their first appearances in this race: Pedro Lamy and Marco Apicella. While Lamy went on to start 31 more races, Apicella’s career would be considerably shorter. Apicella was out of the race after only 800 metres following a multi-car collision. The Italian was replaced before the next race and never returned to the sport, making his one of the shortest Grand Prix careers in the sport’s history.

1999 Italian Grand Prix

Mika Hakkinen was seen crying in the bushes on this day in 1999. The Finnish driver had started the Italian Grand Prix from pole position and led the race until Lap 30, when he spun out of the race. In a rookie error, Hakkinen had selected the wrong gear and spun off. He was later seen in tears at the side of the track. His mistake, and Eddie Irvine’s sixth place finish, meant that the pair were level on points at the top of the Drivers’ Championship with three races remaining in the season.

Heinz-Harald Frentzen inherited the lead from Hakkinen and would go on to take the final win of his F1 career. It was the Jordan team’s only win in dry conditions – and would remain Team Silverstone’s only win in the dry until Sergio Perez was victorious in the 2020 Sakhir Grand Prix. This would be the last victory for a Mugen Honda badged engine.

Ralf Schumacher and Mika Salo would complete the podium. Schumacher set the Fastest Lap for the first time in his career, recording the only Fastest Lap for Supertec engines as well as the manufacturer’s final podium finish, while Salo finished in the top three for the final time in his F1 career.

2004 Italian Grand Prix

On Scuderia Ferrari’s 700th Grand Prix appearance, Rubens Barrichello delighted the tifosi with a home win on this day in 2004. Barrichello’s victory was the 180th for the team, while Michael Schumacher ensured a Ferrari 1-2. Ferrari’s win had seemed unlikely in the early stages. On a drying track, Schumacher spun and dropped to the back of the pack while Barrichello had started on the wrong tyres for the conditions and was forced to make an early pit stop.

During the race, Antonio Pizzonia reached a record speed of 369.9km/h. His record would be beaten by Juan Pablo Montoya at the same circuit one year later. In qualifying, Montoya had set a lap with an average speed of 262.242 km/h – also a new record, which would not be broken for fourteen years.

2010 Italian Grand Prix

Fernando Alonso recorded a home victory for Ferrari on this day in 2010. Alonso took pole, but lost the lead at the start to Jenson Button. Button’s McLaren team-mate Lewis Hamilton made contact with Felipe Massa and was eliminated on the first lap. Button would lead the first 35 laps until he pitted. Alonso pitted one lap later and ended up ahead of the McLaren. Button would go on to finish in second place, recording his 30th podium finish, while Massa’s third place treated the tifosi to a double podium finish for Ferrari. This would be Ferrari’s last win on home soil until Charles Leclerc won the 2019 Italian Grand Prix.

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