In 1860 Edouard Heuer founded his company Uhrenmanufaktur Heuer in St. Imier, a remote mountain village in Switzerland. He patented his first chronograph in 1882 and five years later he invented the oscillating pinion for mechanical chronographs, an important advance, which is still being used today by major Swiss watch brands.
Mario Andretti and his twin brother Aldo were was born in 1940 in Montona, Italy (now in Croatia) Their parents were farmers and from the age of two, his mother Rina could remember them charging round the kitchen with saucepan lids as steering wheels. When WW11 ended the family had to leave their home for a refugee camp in Lucca, Italy. They lived here, sharing a room with other refugee families for seven years until finally obtaining U.S. visas. Just before they left, the twins went to the Italian Grand Prix to watch their hero Alberto Ascari race. On arriving at their new home in Pennsylvania they discovered they lived next to half mile of oval dirt racing track!
Jo Siffert, born in Fribourg, Switzerland in 1936 was the son of a dairy owner. He and his father visited various motor sporting events when he was a boy where he became fascinated by the drivers of the time and became determined to be one himself. He had to finance this himself, which he did by dealing in scrap metal and used cars. He began his motor career on two wheels, winning the Swiss 50cc motorcycle championship in 1959 before switching to Formula Junior Championships in 1960 founding his own racing team, and buying a Lotus to race in the European championships which in his first season he tied with Toni Maggs.