What Happened On This Day July 12 In F1 History?

From the birth of F1 driver and team owner Guy Ligier in 1930 to a sneaky Michael Schumacher win at the 1998 British Grand Prix.

Mark Phelan

By Mark Phelan
Updated on July 11, 2024

1998 British Grand Prix Michael Schumacher Ferrari Pit Stop
Michael Schumacher wins the 1998 British Grand Prix for Ferrari after exploiting sloppy stewarding // Image: Grand Prix Photo

What happened on this day, July 12 in Formula 1 history? Find out interesting facts and stories about Formula 1 on this day.


Guy Ligier, born on this day, started motor racing late, switching from a successful rugby career to racing in his 30s. He achieved several top-six finishes in Formula Two in 1964 and moved to Formula One in 1966. Despite breaking his kneecap mid-season, he returned in 1967 with a Brabham, scoring his only point at the Nurburgring. After a brief retirement following the death of his friend Jo Schlesser, Ligier returned to racing and began building sports cars in 1970, eventually founding the Ligier Formula One team in 1976. Though his team had sporadic success, they never fully capitalised on their potential. Ligier sold most of his shares in the team in the early 1990s.


Nigel Mansell extracted the maximum performance from his Williams, overtaking teammate Nelson Piquet three laps before the end of the 1987 British Grand Prix, only to run out of fuel during his victory lap. Piercarlo Ghinzani had a less fortunate day, running out of fuel and being push-started by his mechanics. Already on the stewards’ radar for exceeding his qualifying laps, he was swiftly disqualified.


The 1992 British Grand Prix faced disruptions due to a French trucker strike, which caused logistical chaos for teams trying to reach Silverstone following the 1992 French Grand Prix. Mika Hakkinen encountered additional local issues, missing the warm-up due to heavy traffic and receiving a police caution for driving on the wrong side of the road. Nigel Mansell, who qualified on pole, briefly lost the lead to Riccardo Patrese on the first lap but quickly reclaimed it to secure an easy victory.


The 1998 British Grand Prix was overshadowed by poor stewarding that enabled Michael Schumacher to secure a controversial victory. A late penalty allowed Ferrari to exploit the rules, bringing Schumacher into the pits on the final lap. Consequently, he technically won the race in the pit lane, crossing the finish line in the pit lane to win the race before reaching his pit box and serving his stop-and-go penalty. The penalty was issued for overtaking race leader Mika Hakkinen as the safety car exited the track, but the stewards’ delayed response played into Ferrari’s hands.

Following the race, controversy emerged over how Schumacher’s penalty was issued and served. Schumacher’s team contested that the penalty should have been communicated within 25 minutes of the incident, but they were notified after 31 minutes. They also claimed that the handwritten notification was ambiguous, failing to specify whether the penalty was a stop-and-go or a 10-second addition to Schumacher’s race time. The FIA’s International Court of Appeal later clarified it was the latter. Despite this, the stewards applied the 10-second addition post-race. However, this type of penalty was only valid for infractions occurring in the last 12 laps of a Grand Prix, which was not the case here. Consequently, the stewards eventually rescinded the penalty.

McLaren lodged a protest, accusing Ferrari of cheating by not having Schumacher serve the penalty, but the FIA rejected this protest. During the hearing, the International Court of Appeal confirmed that the stewards made several errors, including issuing a 10-second time penalty for an incident that occurred outside the last 12 laps and exceeding the permitted time limit for notifying the penalty. As a result of these mistakes, the three stewards involved surrendered their licenses at a meeting of the FIA World Council.


Mark Webber achieved his first F1 win at the 2009 German Grand Prix despite receiving a drive-through penalty for clipping the Brawn GP car of Rubens Barrichello on the first corner. It was a tough day for Barrichello and teammate Jenson Button, whose early-season dominance faded as they struggled with three-stop strategies, ultimately finishing sixth and fifth, respectively.

F1 Driver Birthday’s 12 July

Birth DateF1 Driver
12 July 1930Guy Camille Ligier

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About The Author

Senior Editor

Mark Phelan
Mark Phelan

Mark is a staff writer specialising in the history of Formula 1 races. Mark researches most of our historic content from teams to drivers and races. He has followed Formula 1 since 1988, and admits to having a soft spot for British drivers from James Hunt and Nigel Mansell to Lando Norris. He loves a great F1 podcast and has read pretty much every drivers biography.

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