What Happened On This Day May 5 In F1 History?

From Alain Prost being disqualified two hours after winning the 1985 San Marino Grand Prix to Thomas Scheckter being sacked from Jaguar in 2001.


By Ben Bush
Updated on May 8, 2024

San Marino 1985 Thierry Boutsen Pushing Arrow Over Finish Line
The 1985 San Marino Grand Prix, Thierry Boutsen pushes his Arrow over the finish line.

What happened on this day, May 5 in Formula 1 history? Find out interesting facts and stories about Formula 1 on this day.


In 1929, the Targa Florio, a public road endurance car race held in the mountains of Sicily, witnessed a thrilling showdown between Bugatti and Alfa Romeo. Albert Divo took the lead from the third lap onwards, securing Bugatti’s fifth consecutive win. Notably, Madame Juneck, a trailblazing female driver, made her mark, briefly leading the race in her black-and-yellow Bugatti.


In 1934, Achille Varzi clinched his third win at the 1934 Tunis Grand Prix, marking his debut win for Auto Union. Initially listed as an independent driver due to a dispute over prize money – he insisted on payment in Italian lira due to strict Nazi currency regulations – Varzi dominated the race, maintaining his lead from start to finish. He crossed the finish line nearly four minutes ahead of Jean-Pierre Wimille’s Bugatti.


The 1985 San Marino Grand Prix concluded in chaos. Alain Prost initially claimed the win, but two hours later, he was disqualified for being two kilos underweight after his car ran out of fuel during the warm-down lap.

During the race Ayrton Senna, driving for Team Lotus and later Stefan Johansson in the Ferrari, also ran out of fuel while leading. Nelson Piquet’s hopes of a podium finish vanished as his car stopped on the final lap, also due to a fuel issue. Ultimately, Elio de Angelis in the Lotus-Renault was declared the winner, though he was already at the airport. Thierry Boutsen, who had to push his Arrows car to the finish due to fuel also running out of fuel, was placed second. However, protests arose from other teams, contesting Boutsen’s finish as he hadn’t pushed the car completely over the finishing line. His second place would stand.


In 2001, Thomas Scheckter, the son of F1 world champion Jody Scheckter, experienced a significant setback in his Formula 1 career. Following an unfortunate incident, he was dismissed from his role as Jaguar test driver. Reports indicated that he was discovered engaging in kerb-crawling in Milton Keynes. The incident not only tarnished his reputation but also led to the termination of his contract with the Jaguar team.


In 2002, amidst the collapse of Alain Prost’s F1 team, Prost Grand Prix, 12 of its iconic cars were auctioned off. The auction took place at the Palais de Congres in Paris, marking the end of an era in Formula 1 history. Enthusiasts gathered as the cars, once the pride of the Prost team, were put up for sale. The auction fetched a total of US$900,000, marking the end of the team and the breakup of its assets and legacy.

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About The Author

Chief Editor

Ben Bush

Ben is our chief editor specialising in F1 from the 1990s to the modern era. Ben has been following Formula 1 since 1986 and is an avid researcher who loves understanding the technology that makes it one of the most exciting motorsport on the planet. He listens to podcasts about F1 on a daily basis, and enjoys reading books from the inspirational Adrian Newey to former F1 drivers.

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