Formula 1 was not always quiet on New Year

Jim Clark, Formula 1 New Year specialist

Jim Clark, Formula 1 New Year specialist

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.

7 Comments Post a Comment
  1. blokeNo Gravatar says:

    very unusual timing. imagine if this year with all the new regulations Bernie would arrange race for January 1st :-)

  2. KotenokNo Gravatar says:

    Would be unbelivable to me alrady to not have time for the following trainning sessions :) Pre-season is actually my F1 season! HAHA I hope that I’ll be able to enjoy some hours attending test sessions in 2009!

    • F1WolfNo Gravatar says:

      so when will be next test in Barcelona ? the schedules available on the web so far only mention Algarve in January and Jerez in February and March

      • KotenokNo Gravatar says:

        There’s not much written about, the Montmeló Circuit web itself didn’t note anything else than the races calendar, no tests by the way which is really strange… I’ll keep waiting, the demand may be not so big as before, but there’s no reason that the cars shouldn’t test in Barcelona.

        Maybe the organizers wish to move the F1 tests to the Algarve bunker to protect the image of F1 during testing days? I would be impressed if nobody decides to appear in Portugal for these days, as Jerez is usually taken by the Spanish fans…
        But why, Catalonia, which is a typical destiny for F1 tests isn’t still in the schedules?
        Something to do with the crisis? I would say, that’s not such a event as a race weekend but it needs a huge amount of money for developing those tests successfully. But for sure it has something to do with the testing limit reduction, 20.000 Km is quite a big mileage, but little considering the upcoming car’s updates in-season. The teams may need these testing Km’s when further develop their 2009 package and specially the KERS.

        • F1WolfNo Gravatar says:

          do not forget the in-season testing is banned now (except for race weekends)

          • KotenokNo Gravatar says:

            Really? Not evaluation of driver’s evolution and test driver sessions to young guys? I knew that ban was going to happen, but not that serious closed door… I hope that FIA doesn’t decide to consider road shows as test sessions in a close future… Or the F1 fans which follow the season’s events will get borred.

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