On This Day In F1 - Everybody Ran Out Of Fuel

On This Day In F1 - Everybody Ran Out Of Fuel

A look back at what happened on 5 May in Formula 1 history

1985 San Marino Grand Prix
At the height of F1’s turbo era, one of the FIA’s plans to try and keep speeds under control was simply to limit the amount of fuel cars were allowed to use during the race. This was frequently a problem at Imola, a track filled with slow corners leading onto long straights, and in the 1985 race a huge number of teams and drivers couldn’t get on top of it.

Of the 11 cars left running in the closing laps, a staggering six ran out of fuel before the finish - Ayrton Senna and then Stefan Johansson from the lead, as well as Nelson Piquet, Derek Warwick and Martin Brundle. Thierry Boutsen did as well, but luckily he was close enough to the end of the lap to be able to push his Arrows over the finish line.

As you might expect from such a crazy race, it was Alain Prost who was able to best manage the situation and crossed the line to win (although he did run out of fuel on the cooldown lap). However, his car was then found to be underweight after the race and he was disqualified. That promoted Elio de Angelis to his second and final F1 victory, Boutsen to his maiden F1 podium in second, and Tambay to his - and the original Renault team’s - final podium.

1996 San Marino Grand Prix
Although Michael Schumacher had taken his first Ferrari pole the day before, Damon Hill claimed a pretty easy win - his fourth from the first five races - despite a fast-starting David Coulthard leading the early laps. Schumacher held on for second ahead of Gerhard Berger, while Coulthard retired from a podium position with hydraulic issues.

Birthdays
Bob Said (born 1932) entered the first US GP in 1959 at Sebring, only to spin off and retire on the opening lap. Funnily enough, Bob Said later became a bobsled competitor in the Winter Olympics, which I guess you could say is a nice bit of nominative determinism