Former F1 drivers Tony Trimmer (68) and Scott Speed (28) are celebrating their respective birthdays today!
Born in Berkshire, Trimmer was a star in Formula Ford and won the 1970 British F3 championship.
Almost certainly a driver who could have made a hugely successful career in F1, Trimmer fell victim to a succession of uncompetitive cars during his all-too-short stint at the top flight.
After four failure to qualify with the Maki outfit, he switched to the privately run Melchester team, only to fail to qualify its Surtees TS19 and McLaren M23 in his respective outings for the team.
Despite this, he was able to take that M23 to a superb third place in soaking conditions at the 1978 BRDC International Trophy race at Silverstone, and he also won the 1978 British Aurora F1 championship.
America’s last competitor in F1, Speed’s path to F1 was fast-tracked by drinks giant Red Bull’s desire to field an American in F1 to bolster its Stateside market. Having battled colitis during his childhood, Speed took the German and European Formula Renault titles in 2004, and finished a distant third in the 2005 GP2 championship with four podium finishes.
Having acted as Red Bull’s test driver in the 2005 Canadian and US GPs, Speed’s 28-race F1 career was spent with Toro Rosso, debuting in the 2006 season. He looked to have scored his, and the team’s first point at the third round in Australia, but was penalised 25 seconds for overtaking under yellow flags, and hit with a $5000 fine for abusive language to David Coulthard at the post-race stewards hearing.
He qualified a (then) career-high 13th at his home race in Indianapolis, only to be taken out at the first corner by the accident triggered by Juan Pablo Montoya – his disappointment was tempered further when his team-mate, Vitantonio Liuzzi, scored the team’s first point with a drive to 8th.
Speed was the last driver to be confirmed on the 2007 grid, and was (many felt, reluctantly) re-signed by Toro Rosso alongside Liuzzi. Aside from a fighting drive to 9th at the Monaco GP, the early half of Speed’s 2007 season was blighted by retirements and accidents – most notably two separate and very clumsy collisions with Williams’ Alexander Wurz.
Speed’s career came to a crashing halt at the wet European GP where, after aquaplaning off at Turn 1, he was allegedly involved in a physical altercation with Team Principal Franz Tost in the paddock. After telling anyone who would listen in the press corps that the team was out to sack him, Toro Rosso fulfilled his prophecy and replaced him with Sebastian Vettel. The rest, as they say, is history.
Speed ventured back over the Atlantic to the wonderful world of NASCAR, and has earned 5 wins (combined) in the 2008 ARCA RE/MAX and Craftsman Truck championships of 2008. He was recently dumped by the Red Bull-backed team he was driving for after failing to meet performance clauses in his contract – Speed, not surprisingly, has sued for damages.
Click here for Scott Speed’s complete F1 results.