On This Day In F1 - Wilson Joins Minardi As A Result Of An Early Form Of Crowdfunding

On This Day In F1 - Wilson Joins Minardi As A Result Of An Early Form Of Crowdfunding

A look back at what happened on 16 December in Formula 1 history

News
The immensely talented Justin Wilson missed out on a drive with Jordan in 2002 because of his height (6 foot 4) but for 2003, Minardi was willing to build a car to accommodate him. On this day in 2002, the team announced him as a driver. The catch? Well, this was Minardi, so he’d need to stump up some cash.

To raise the money needed, Wilson’s father Keith and manager Jonathan Palmer came up with the novel idea to start a Justin Wilson investment fund - kind of an early type of crowdfunding. The idea was that fans would buy shares in Justin to raise the money needed. It proved incredibly successful - the money got him his Minardi drive, where he impressed enough to be drafted in at Jaguar in the middle of the season before the politics of F1 left him out of a drive at the end of the year.

Wilson scored a single point for Jaguar at Indianapolis, then used the investment scheme to pursue a career in Champ Car. (c) IndyCar
Wilson scored a single point for Jaguar at Indianapolis, then used the investment scheme to pursue a career in Champ Car. (c) IndyCar

Birthdays
Les Leston (born 1920) started two races in 1956 and 1957 but retired from both. Henry Taylor (born 1932) started eight races between 1959 and 1961 in a variety of privately-entered Coopers and Lotuses, with a best finish of fourth at the 1960 French GP.

Top image (c) Minardi F1 Team