Fifty years ago Formula 1 produced a memorable season, with highs and lows like few others. There was remarkable diversity thanks to five new manufacturers and a total of 38 drivers. Seven of those drivers, from five different teams and powered by three different engines, shared the 13 race wins – more than ever before. There was also an unwavering sense of drama from June onwards. Motorsport was unbelievably dangerous at the time. Three established, top-level drivers were killed during the 1970 season – including the championship leader. In December the FIA awarded the world championship posthumously for the first, and fortunately so far only, time.
In the midsummer of 1970, German Jochen Rindt, racing under an Austrian licence, hit the peak of his career. After a series of four consecutive wins in his revolutionary Lotus 72, the last coming on home soil at Hockenheim where he kept the ever-increasing number of Ferraris in check, the 28-year-old held a commanding championship lead. At his second home race at the Österreichring in mid-August – just an hour from Graz, where he had grown up with his grandparents after the death of his parents – the Austrians celebrated him as their superstar. Rindt’s face adorned the cover of the September issue of German motorsport magazine sport auto.
Three weeks later, on 5 September, Rindt was killed in a devastating practice crash at Monza. Over the four races that followed to close out the season, nobody was able to run down his points tally. On 12 December his widow Nina accepted the trophy from FIA president Prince Paul Alfons von Metternich in Paris in Rindt’s place…
ALSO IN THIS ISSUE
Eckhard Schimpf on Egon Evertz
John Davenport about the Mercedes 450/500 SLC in rallies
Jo Ramirez about Spa-Francorchamps 1971
Norbert Singer about Le Mans 1973
Mac Surer about Brands Hatch 1982
Back on Track Lotus 81 Chassis Nr. 2
and many more!
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