What Happened On This Day June 29 In F1 History?

From the birth of American Formula One driver Harry Schell to Ralf Schumacher's win at the 2003 European Grand Prix.

Mark Phelan

By Mark Phelan
Updated on July 8, 2024

Michael Schumacher 1997 French Grand Prix
Michael Schumacher wins the 1997 French Grand Prix for Ferrari.

What happened on this day, June 29 in Formula 1 history? Find out interesting facts and stories about Formula 1 on this day.

1921

American Formula One driver Harry Schell was born on this day in Paris, France. Known for his race craft rather than his victories, Schell didn’t secure any championship titles but earned respect across the racing community. Over his decade-long career, he raced for prestigious teams such as Maserati, Ferrari, Cooper, Gordini, BRM, and Vanwall. Schell celebrated a victory in a non-championship Grand Prix with Ferrari in 1957. By 1959, he resorted to privately entering a Cooper to maintain his presence in the top formulas. His final race was in 1960, competing in only one championship event before tragically dying during a practice session for the International Trophy at Silverstone. He lost control at 100 mph, struck mud, and violently somersaulted into a brick wall, leading to his immediate death and the wall’s destruction.

1980

Alan Jones stirred emotions at Paul Ricard by defeating seven French drivers at their home race, the 1980 French Grand Prix. The starting lineup had been promising for France, with Jacques Laffite in a Ligier, Rene Arnoux in a Renault, and Didier Pironi in another Ligier occupying the top three on the grid. With four additional French drivers among the top ten, anticipation was high. Laffite surged ahead from the start, setting a formidable pace and leaving Pironi, Arnoux, and Jones vying for second. Jones overtook Arnoux, and then Pironi within a few laps, but Laffite had already established a significant lead of eight seconds. Nevertheless, Laffite’s aggressive start had worn out his tyres, allowing Jones to gradually reduce the gap. By lap 35, Jones effortlessly overtook him and quickly extended his lead. Eventually, Laffite also lost a position to Pironi, finishing third.

1997

In an uneventful 1997 French Grand Prix, a sudden rain shower near the end added some excitement. The rain caused the track to become increasingly slippery, leading to Michael Schumacher spinning even though he had a substantial lead over Heinz-Harald Frentzen. Despite this, he swiftly recovered and comfortably secured the victory over the Williams driver. Meanwhile, a more intense battle unfolded for fifth place among Jean Alesi, Ralf Schumacher, and David Coulthard. The three drivers were tightly bunched, struggling for traction, until Ralf Schumacher spun and fell a lap behind his brother. It appeared he would finish out of the points after a strong performance, but in a display of sportsmanship, Michael slowed down to allow his brother to unlap himself. This move gave Ralf another lap to race, during which he managed to overtake Coulthard and clinch the final point.

2003

Ralf Schumacher triumphed at the Nurburgring for the 2003 European Grand Prix in front of his home crowd, while his brother and championship leader, Michael Schumacher, experienced a challenging weekend. Kimi Raikkonen was initially poised for victory after securing pole position, but his race ended prematurely due to an engine failure on lap 25 while leading. This mishap handed a comfortable lead to Ralf, who had already outperformed Michael at the start. Throughout the weekend, Michael’s Ferrari, equipped with Bridgestone tyres, struggled against cars with Michelin tyres, including Juan Pablo Montoya in the Williams. Montoya determined not to trail the Ferrari, executed a bold overtake around the outside at the hairpin. Despite leaving adequate room, the two cars made contact, causing Michael to spin. Controversially, marshals intervened to extract Michael’s car from the gravel, citing its potentially dangerous position. He resumed the race and managed to secure a fifth-place finish, earning four critical points. Michael later clinched the championship by a narrow two-point margin over Raikkonen.

F1 Driver Birthday’s 29 June

Birth DateF1 Driver
29 June 1921Harry Schell
29 June 1995Nicholas Latifi

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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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