On This Day: That Shell-Ferrari video, a birthday and other tidbits

On 18 February, 12 years ago, residents of Monte Carlo would have been forgiven for thinking Ferrari had turned up for the Monaco Grand Prix three months too early when Shell filmed an iconic TV advert featuring a screeching a F2003 past some of the principality’s most famous landmarks.

For the production, various Ferrari F1 cars, from different eras, were filmed driving through the world’s greatest city landmarks honouring for the video their long-standing partnership with Shell who commissioned the video.

Happy birthday to  Giovanni Lavaggi, Italian nobleman born in 1958, 61 years ago, who raised the money to buy ten Grand Prix drives, for Pacific and Minardi, making his debut in 1995. He scored no championship points. He also dabbled in sportscar racing between 1989 and 2000.

Today, in 1998, against a backdrop of a trial in Italy following the death of Ayrton Senna four years earlier, the FIA announced it was to fit black boxes to all cars with effect from the start of the season three weeks later. It remains on F1 cars to this day and for the foreseeable future.

Last year we reported:

The first day of F1 testing got underway on this day last year, nine teams took to the track with their new 2019 cars with Williams drivers spectating as Grove were late delivering the FW42 to the track on time.

At the sharp end, Sebastian Vettel set the early pace to top the timing screens in the Ferrari SF90, with McLaren new-boy Carlos Sainz second quickest and setting the tone for what would follow the rest of the year: a very fast Ferrari and a much improved McLaren.

Mercedes ran Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas in the car, the F1 World Champs kept their powder dry on the day. Indeed they did this until qualifying in Melbourne when their ‘woes’ disappeared and before we could blink the title was wrapped up before summer.