Two former F1 drivers – Tim Schenken (67 today) and Patrick Friesacher (30 today) – are celebrating their respective birthdays.
Born in Sydney, Australia, Schenken started racing an Austin A30 in local hillclimb events, where he immediately proved quick behind the wheel, before he managed to acquire a Lotus 18 in which he won several races Down Under.
Moving to the UK in 1965 proved the next logical step, and he won the British Formula Ford and Formula 3 titled in 1968.
By 1970, he had made his F1 debut with Frank Williams’ team, then very much in its infancy using a customer De Tomaso chassis, before he moved to join Ron Tauranac at Brabham (pictured together) to race alongside Graham Hill, finishing on the podium at the 1971 Austrian Grand Prix while also dovetailing in Ron Dennis’ Formula 2 team.
Worried that new Brabham owner Bernie Ecclestone wouldn’t propel the team forward – an error in judgement he would later come to appreciate – he moved to Surtees in 1972 where he achieved little, but managed to win the 1000km sports car events at Buenos Aires and the Nurburgring with Ferrari.
A switch to Dennis’ Rondel F1 team went belly-up along with the entire project, and he scrambled for a drive, rejoining Williams for the 1974 Canadian Grand Prix before his career petered out with Tauranac’s hopeless Trojan team and then a one-off Lotus drive.
After more drives in sports and touring cars, he later moved into car construction and is now the race director for the V8 Supercars Championship and clerk of the course at the Australian Grand Prix.
Born in the Austrian town of Wolfsberg, Patrick started out racing in motorcross before switching to karts at the age of 11, where he enjoyed great success until an accident in 1997 left him with serious leg injuries.
After three months’ recovery, he returned to racing in the Renault Campus series, finishing third overall. He graduated to the French F3 championship, and then moved to the German F3 championship, before joining Formula 3000 in 2001 with the new Red Bull Junior team.
After a lengthy apprenticeship in the series, which included switching between the Coloni and Super Nova squads, he won at the Hungaroring in 2003 and 2004, peaking with fourth in the championship in the latter year.
He was a late sign-up to the Minardi team for the 2005 season, but was generally overshadowed by team-mate Christijan Albers in the unwieldy and underdeveloped PS05. His sole points’ finish came at the farcical United States Grand Prix, where he finished sixth and last of the six drivers who started the race. His funds then dried up and he lost his drive to Robert Doornbos.
Patrick briefly moved to the A1GP series in 2006, picking up points for his home nation before its entry bit the dust at the end of the season. He also contested in the ALMS championship in a Risi Competizione Ferrari F430 in 2008, and it was while testing the A1GP prototype chassis at Magny Cours that he suffered a suspension failure, with the accident crushing three vertebrae.