It has been very quiet during this Christmas and New Year holiday season in Formula One. But it was not always the case. There were times when New Year meant serious F1 action.
The first five South African Grands Prix between 1962 – 1968 were all held at the end of December and early January. Two of these races were held on January 1st – the season opening GPs in 1965 (East London) and 1968 (Kyalami). And what is interesting, both the New Year Formula 1 races had the same winner – Jim Clark (Lotus). There was F1 race on January 1, 1966 too – the non-championship event in East London won by Mike Spence. Here is the list of the winners of the holiday season F1 winners:
29/12/1962 – South African GP – Graham Hill – BRM
28/12/1963 – South African GP – Jim Clark – Lotus-Climax
1/1/1965 – South African GP – Jim Clark – Lotus-Climax
1/1/1966 – South African GP – Mike Spence – Lotus-Climax (non-championship race)
2/1/1967 – South African GP – Pedro Rodriguez – Cooper-Maserati
1/1/1968 – South African GP – Jim Clark – Lotus-Ford
(1962-1966 East London, 1967-1968 Kyalami)
The other early year Formula 1 race was held on January 9, 1977 in Argentina. The winner – Jody Scheckter (Wolf/Ford). With the exception of 1960 (February 7) all the Argentine GPs between 1953 and 1980 were held in January. It was similar case for the early Brazilian GPs – between 1973 and 1980 there were 6 Brazilian GPs in January (earliest one on January 23, 1977) and 2 in early February.