F1 On This Day: 24th October

The 2021 United States Grand Prix will be the seventh F1 race to be held on 24th October. It’s the day on which Honda recorded their first win, James Hunt won the 1976 World Championship and Mario Andretti set an unusual record…

24th October Races in Stats:

  • Japan is the only country to have hosted multiple races on this date, doing so in 1976 and 1993.
  • All of the last four races held on this date have taken place in wet or changeable conditions.
  • The 1976 Japanese Grand Prix is the only race previously held on this date which has been won from pole position.
  • The polesitter has retired from half of the races held on this date.
  • Ferrari are the only team to have won twice on this day – at the 1954 Spanish Grand Prix and the 2010 Korean Grand Prix.
  • James Hunt won the title on this day in 1976 at the Japanese Grand Prix. The 2010 South Korean Grand Prix is the only other race held on this date where both titles have still been open. The other four races on this day were dead rubber events.
  • No driver has taken multiple podium finishes on this day. Fernando Alonso, Kimi Raikkonen and Lewis Hamilton could become the first drivers to do so at the 2021 United States Grand Prix.
  • There is yet to be a race on this date which more than seventeen drivers have finished.
  • McLaren have finished with at least one car on the podium in all of the last four races on this day.
  • No team has recorded a 1-2 finish on this date.

1954 Spanish Grand Prix

The 1954 season came to a close on this day in 1954 with the Spanish Grand Prix. This was the last race to be held at the Pedralbes circuit. It was won by Mike Hawthorn, driving for Ferrari and recording the team’s 60th podium finish. Joining him on the podium were Luigi Musso – recording his first podium and points finish – and Juan Manuel Fangio – the Argentine driver recording the only third place finish of his illustrious career. Alberto Ascari had qualified on pole for Lancia in the team’s first appearance at a World Championship F1 race. It would be Ascari’s final pole position. The Italian retired from the race but did set the Fastest Lap – the only time that Lancia would set the fastest lap of a race. Prince Bira – who finished twelve laps down on the leaders in ninth place – made his final Grand Prix appearance. It was the last time that a driver from Thailand would start an F1 race until the 2019 Australian Grand Prix.

1965 Mexican Grand Prix

Honda recorded their first Grand Prix victory on this day in 1965. Aside from winners of the Indianapolis 500, Honda were the first non-European team to win a World Championship F1 race. Richie Ginther recorded his only Grand Prix victory as well as his last podium. He became the first driver to win on Goodyear tyres. Goodyear would eventually win 368 races – the most for any tyre manufacturer – before bowing out of F1 at the end of 1998. With fellow American Dan Gurney finishing in second place for Brabham, this is the most recent F1 race in which American drivers recorded a 1-2 finish. Mike Spence finished third for Lotus, recording the only podium finish of his career.

1976 Japanese Grand Prix

James Hunt won the Drivers’ Championship in a dramatic season finale on this day in 1976. Formula 1 raced in Japan for the first time at the Fuji Speedway. Heading into the race, Niki Lauda led the closely-fought title race by three points from Hunt despite suffering near-fatal injuries at the German Grand Prix earlier in the year.

The Grand Prix was held in torrential conditions and Lauda withdrew from the race after two laps, believing that the conditions were too dangerous. Even with Lauda’s withdrawal, Hunt still needed to finish in the top four to secure the title. Hunt had led the race for the first 61 laps but struggled when the track began to dry and soon began losing places. A late pit stop dropped him to fifth but he was able to overtake Alan Jones and Clay Regazzoni to finish third – and win the title.

At the front, it was Mario Andretti who won the race. The victory was the second in his career – his first since the 1971 South African Grand Prix over five and a half years ago. That gap remains the longest between a driver’s first and second wins in F1 history.

Four Japanese drivers made their first F1 appearance at this race weekend: Noritake Takahara, Masahiro Hasemi, Kazuyoshi Hoshino and Masami Kuwashima. However Kuwashima was replaced after his money failed to materialise. Meanwhile, Hasemi was credited with setting the Fastest Lap of the race – but a press release after the event said this was a mistake and that the Fastest Lap was actually set by Jacques Laffite. The press release, and error, was not widely known about outside of Japan, so Hasemi is still credited as setting the Fastest Lap of the race in some sources.

This was also notable for being the first appearance of Bridgestone tyres in a World Championship F1 race, as well as the final appearance for the Penske team.

1993 Japanese Grand Prix

Ayrton Senna won the 1993 Japanese Grand Prix on this day at Suzuka. Alain Prost had started the race from pole position, doing so for the final time in his career. Senna took the lead at the start and Prost would go on to finish as runner-up, setting the final Fastest Lap of his career on his way. Mika Hakkinen recorded his first podium finish with third place for McLaren. He was the third Finnish driver to finish in the top three in an F1 race, after Keke Rosberg and JJ Lehto.

Shortly after taking his 40th career victory, Senna was involved in an incident with rookie Eddie Irvine. The Ulsterman had impressed on debut, scoring points with a sixth place finish for Jordan. Senna had been unimpressed by Irvine unlapping himself during the race. Post-race, Senna headed to the Jordan office and made his feelings clear. Before he left, Senna had punched Irvine in the face.

2004 Brazilian Grand Prix

On his final appearance with Williams, Juan Pablo Montoya took victory in the 2004 Brazilian Grand Prix – recording the team’s final victory for eight years. Home favourite Rubens Barrichello took pole position for the race but failed to win. The Brazilian did at least finish on the podium, ending his home race curse. Remarkably, this was the first time since 1994 that Barrichello reached the chequered flag at the Brazilian Grand Prix. Mark Webber made his 50th Grand Prix start and, on Jaguar’s final appearance, collided with team-mate Christian Klien. This was the 567th and final race in which a Ford Cosworth engine appeared. For 2005, the engines were known only as Cosworth.

2010 Korean Grand Prix

Formula 1 ventured into South Korea for the first time on this day in 2010 for the first Korean Grand Prix. The race was held in wet conditions and began behind the Safety Car. This lasted for only three laps before the red flag was shown due to standing water on the circuit. After almost an hour delay, the race started again behind the Safety Car. It would remain under Safety Car conditions for thirteen laps before finally getting underway.

Red Bull had a day to forget, with title contenders Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel both retiring. Webber crashed out just after the race began properly and Vettel suffered an engine failure. Fernando Alonso won the race, taking the championship lead with two races remaining in the 2010 season. Ferrari team-mate Felipe Massa joined him in third place on the podium, while runner-up Lewis Hamilton recorded McLaren’s 450th top three finish.

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