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The five faces of the European Grand Prix 22 Aug 2008

Winner Nigel Mansell (GBR) Williams FW10 European Grand Prix, Brands Hatch, 6 October 1985 Race winner Johnny Herbert (GBR), Stewart Ford SF3, crosses the finishing line to the teams delight and takes the Stewart Grand Prix teams maiden Grand Prix win European Grand Prix, Rd14, Nurburgring, Germany, 26 September 1999. Race winner Fernando Alonso (ESP) McLaren celebrates on the podium. Formula One World Championship, Rd 10, European Grand Prix, Race, Nurburgring, Germany, Sunday 22 July 2007 Michael Schumacher (GER) Ferrari F310B (Right) moves in on title rival Jacques Villeneuve (CDN) Williams FW19 in an attempt to take him out of the race. He failed and Villeneuve continued to win the World Championship. European Grand Prix, Jerez, Spain, 26 October 1997. World ©  Sutton. Ayrton Senna (BRA) McLaren MP4/8 took arguably his finest ever victory in the changeable conditions and completed probably the greatest ever opening lap of a race. European Grand Prix, Donington Park, England, 11 April 1993.

The European Grand Prix has featured on the Formula One calendar 17 times since its inaugural appearance in 1983 and over the last 25 years the location of the race has changed a total of four times. This weekend the race moves yet again, from its long-term home at Germany’s historic Nurburgring to Spain’s brand-spanking new Valencia Street Circuit. Ahead of Sunday’s race, we take a look back at the event’s previous locations to remind you of some of the highlights…

Brands Hatch, United Kingdom
Hosted two European Grands Prix, 1983 and 1985

The inaugural European Grand Prix, held at the British circuit of Brands Hatch in 1983, was won by Brabham’s Nelson Piquet. Italian Elio Angelis had scored pole position, but the Lotus driver succumbed to oil pump problems early on in the race, leaving Piquet to lead home runners-up Alain Prost and Nigel Mansell.

The 1985 race was won by British hero Mansell, who triumphed from third on the grid in the Williams to notch up his first win in 72 starts. The victory would prove a turning point in Mansell’s career and he would go on to win a further 30 races and the 1992 drivers’ crown. Prost’s fourth place, meanwhile, was enough to secure the McLaren driver his first-ever drivers’ title.

Nurburgring, Germany
Hosted 12 European Grands Prix, 1984, 1995-96, 1999-2007

Located in the picturesque Eifel Mountains, the Nurburgring had previously been a regular on the world championship calendar as the setting for the German Grand Prix, but following Niki Lauda’s life-threatening accident in 1976, safety concerns saw the track replaced by Hockenheim. It was only after the circuit was heavily revised that the sport returned for the 1984 European Grand Prix, won by McLaren’s Alain Prost.

Perhaps predictably, given his record-breaking career, the most successful driver at the Nurburgring remains Michael Schumacher. He took his first win back in 1995 for Benetton after a close battle with the Ferrari of Jean Alesi, and would later clinch a further four victories driving for Ferrari, including consecutive wins in 2000 and 2001. Younger brother Ralf also enjoyed success at the German track clinching victory in the 2003 European Grand Prix.

Separating the respective triumphs of the Schumacher siblings in 2002 was Rubens Barrichello, who took the second victory of his career, leading team mate Schumacher home for a Ferrari one-two. Other drivers to have triumphed at the circuit include former world champion Jacques Villeneuve, who took the chequered flag for Williams in 1996 to claim the first win of his Formula One career.

Britain’s Johnny Herbert took his first victory in four seasons in 1999. Herbert’s charge from 14th on the grid also secured the Stewart team their first (and only) Grand Prix win, in what would prove to be their last season of competition. Former world champion Fernando Alonso has also enjoyed some great European results at the track, taking his first victory in 2005 with Renault and his second with McLaren in last season’s rain-soaked race.

Jerez, Spain
Hosted two European Grands Prix, 1994 and 1997

Both European Grands Prix at Jerez proved unforgettable, but in very different ways. The first, in 1994, saw a dominant return for Michael Schumacher, following a two-race ban for ignoring black flags. In qualifying he stormed to pole position, but at the start title rival Damon Hill relieved the German of the lead. A quick pit stop from Benetton, however, combined with a botched one by Williams to secure an impenetrable lead for Schumacher, who would go on to win his first drivers’ title that season.

Three years and a second title later, the 1997 race saw Schumacher make one of the most controversial moves of his career, after he deliberately crashed into fellow title challenger Jacques Villeneuve. While McLaren’s Mika Hakkinen ultimately took victory (the first of his career), Schumacher was subsequently stripped of second place in the championship for his actions and Villeneuve clinched the title.

Donington, United Kingdom
Hosted one European Grand Prix, 1993

Set to be the home of the British Grand Prix from 2010, the East Midlands circuit has previously hosted just one championship round - the 1993 European Grand Prix. But while its slot on the calendar was brief, the Donington Park race instantly entered the history books thanks to arguably the greatest victory by the late Ayrton Senna.

In grim rainy conditions, Senna came from fourth on the grid in the McLaren to lead by the end of the first lap, after swiftly overtaking the Benetton of Michael Schumacher and the Williams of Damon Hill and Alain Prost. Undaunted by the poor weather, the Brazilian legend continued to charge, eventually taking the chequered flag over 80 seconds clear of runner-up Hill. Although he would ultimately miss out on that year’s championship to old rival Prost, Senna’s performance at Donington is still regarded as one of the sport’s finest ever drives.