The Old Rumour Mill – January

Juan Pablo Montoya, McLaren-Mercedes, Monte-Carlo, 2006In the first of a new series we take a look back at some of the hottest F1 rumours – that never became true.

To kick things off we have the shock dropping of the Monaco Grand Prix, and some typical January scoops on the drivers’ market that didn’t quite work out that way…

F1 calendar latest: Monaco off, Rome and New York on!

Autosport, January 3rd, 1985

Three months before the start of the 1985 F1 season A row over the Monaco Grand Prix meant it was off the calendar. The European Grand Prix was set to be held in Rome and New York would host a second United States Grand Prix alongside Dallas.

As things worked out, Monaco was indeed reinstated onto the calendar, the mysterious New York event never materialised, and the European Grand Prix was shifted to Brands Hatch where Nigel Mansell scored his first F1 win.

Prost for Benetton in ’92

Michael Schumacher, Benetton-Ford, Spa-Francorchamps, 1992, 1Autosport, January 9th, 1992

Autosport ran a story about Luciano Benetton claiming he had signed Alain Prost for 1992 with a deserved air of scepticism – Michael Schumacher and Martin Brundle had already signed on the line.

Prost dallied with Ligier before deciding to take a sabbatical for 1992. He returned the following season to claim a fourth and final title with Williams-Renault.

Pizzonia to be Webber’s team mate at Williams

Antonio Pizzonia, Williams-BMW, Interlagos, 2005F1 Racing, January 2005

Williams’ Sam Michael might have said that Antonio Pizzonia was “in pole position” for the 2005 race seat alongside Mark Webber, but Nick Heidfeld got the gig.

In fact Heidfeld gelled so well with engine suppliers BMW that when they dumped Williams to make their own team they took the German with them. Heidfeld missed the latter rounds of 2005 with an injury and Pizzonia deputised for him. The Brazilian hasn’t raced an F1 car since but will compete in GP2 this year, still hoping to get back to the top.

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