1970'S F1: HUNT V LAUDA & TELEVISION STARDOM

One Of The Most Epic Era's In Terms Of Racing

3y ago
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1970: RINDT GIVES IT HIS ALL

The 1970 season was one of the most tragic in Formula One history. Before Rindt's death at Monza, New Zealander Bruce McLaren was killed testing a McLaren Can-Am car at the Goodwood Circuit in England, and Briton Piers Courage was killed at the Dutch Grand Prix at Zandvoort, driving a Frank Williams-entered De Tomaso.

The 1970 season also saw the retirement of three-time world champion Jack Brabham, who had started his career in 1955. The Australian managed to retire in style by winning the South African GP in a car that shouldn't have.

In the opening two races Jackie Stewart seemed to still have a small advantage in his March-Ford, winning the second race of the season in Spain and finishing third in the first race of the season. The McLaren-Ford's seemed pretty racy with Hulme finishing second in Round 1 and McLaren also finishing second in Spain. Then Lotus asserted their dominance.

At Monaco Stewart seemed to be running away with the win until he retired with ignition trouble. Slowly but surely Rindt began to move up from his eighth place grid spot and on the final lap overtook Jack Brabham to take the win. At this point Brabham was leading the championship with Stewart in second.

At Belgium the McLaren's were absent in deference to the death of their founder five days earlier. Stewart was amazing in qualifying and was leading the way with his team-mate behind (Amon) until Rodriguez in his BRM setting blistering pace overtook the two March's. Kiwi Amon shadowed the BRM but could not overtake for the win.

Then at Holland, France, the UK and Germany Jochen Rindt won the four Grand Prix's to create a huge 20 point lead over closest challenger Jack Brabham.

At Austria Ferrari seemed to have a resurgence with their V12 engine with a Ferrari 1-2, with Ickx leading the way.

At Monza in practice championship leader had a crash, proving fatal. The rest of the Lotus's withdrew from the race. This left Clay Regazzoni to take a hollow win on home soil in his Ferrari, with Jackie Stewart, a close friend of Rindt finishing second.

At Canada it was another Ferrari 1-2 with Ickx winning. At the US Emmerson Fittipaldi won his first GP and Jochen Rindt won the championship.

DRIVERS STANDINGS POINTS/WINS

1. Rindt (AUT)- 45/5

2. Ickx (BEL)- 40/3

3. Regazzoni (SWI) - 27/1

CONSTRUCTORS CHAMPIONS: FERRARI

BEST RACE OF 1970: HOCKENHEIM (WON BY RINDT)

1971: STEWART'S STYLISH SUPREMECY

1971 proved to be a domination by Tyrrell and Stewart. Within the first seven races of the eleven race championship Stewart won five of them, finishing second in another to Ferrari's Mario Andretti in his first win of his career, and Stewart retiring in the wet Dutch GP.

Seven rounds in he had a 32 point lead over Jacky Ickx in his Ferrari an at Austria though he didn't finish, neither did any of his championship rivals with Jo Siffert winning in the osterreichring, gifting Stewart his second championship in supremecy.

At Monza it was possibly the greatest Grand Prix finish of all time: five drivers slipstreaming each other to finish with six tenths of each other. In the end Peter Gethin of BRM made it two GP wins in a row for the British team with Ronnie Peterson just one hundreth of a second behind in second place.

At Canada Stewart returned to winning form by beating Ronnie Peterson in a easy-ish race.The final race of the season proved that Tyrrell's second driver had talent. Francois Cervert won the race by fourty seconds after Stewart retired on lap thirteen.

DRIVERS STANDINGS POINTS/WINS

1. Stewart (GBR) - 62/6

2. Peterson (SWE) - 33/0

3. Cervert (FRA) - 26/1

CONSTRUCTORS CHAMPONS: TYRRELL

BEST RACE OF 1971: MONZA (WON BY GETHIN)

1972: FITTIPALDI BEATS HULME & STEWART

Five different drivers and five different constructors won a Grand Prix, including an amazing race at Monaco for Beltoise in his BRM.

At the opening GP everything was the same as 1971: Stewart won easily, leading all laps, with Denny Hulme second and the two Ferrari's third and fourth.

At the second race in South Africa Hulme showed the McLaren's potential by winning the GP from Emmerson Fittipaldi. Peter Revson also added a podium for McLaren.

However from here on Fittipaldi and Lotus showed their dominance. He won Spain after Hulme retired, but then came one of the greatest races of the decade.

Out of nowhere Jean-Pierre Beltoise of BRM lead every lap of Monaco and won the race by nearly fourty seconds from Jacky Ickx. It wasn't the car, he just drove brilliantly.

In the next three races, Fittipladi finished 1-2-1, extending his championship lead over Stewart. At Germany Ickx won the only race for Ferrari of 1971 in style leading every lap in a Ferrari 1-2.

Fittipaldi bounced back after a retirement in Germany won the next two races to win the championship with two races to spare. However the last two races for the racers for what could it have been, Stewart winning both races in Canada and the US, and Hulme scoring two podiums.

DRIVERS STANDINGS POINTS/WINS

1. Fittipaldi (BRA) - 61/5

2. Stewart (GBR) - 45/4

3. Hulme (NZL) - 39/1

CONSTRUCTORS CHAMPIONS: LOTUS

BEST RACE OF 1972: MONACO (WON BY BELTOISE)

1973: STEWART RETIRES IN STYLE

In a year that was full of tragedy, Jackie Stewart won his third and final World Championship, but decided to retire due to the safety of the drivers. The Cevert tragedy moved his retirement plan up.

In the first two races Fittipaldi seemed to be in control for his hunt for his second title, winning the first two with Stewart and Tyrrell only managing third and second.

In the next four races the two drivers challenged each other, with Stewart winning three of the four to be just four points behind the defending champion.

At Sweden there was one of the best drives of the past few seasons coming from Denny Hulme. Later on the race he began to overtake: Stewart, Cevert and Fittipaldi. On Lap 79 with two laps to spare he overtook Swede Ronnie Peterson to win his only race of the season.

The second half of the season was less about the championship battle and was more about the fact that drivers that weren't in the battle for the championship were winning races. Ronnie Peterson caught the race winning bug, winning four of the remaining eight races.

American McLaren driver Peter Revson won at Silverstone and Canada to prove his talent. In the midst of this Jackie Stewart won the 1973 world championship.

DRIVERS STANDINGS POINTS/WINS

1. Stewart (GBR) - 71/5

2. Fittipaldi (BRA) - 55/3

3. Peterson (SWE) - 52/4

CONSTRUCTORS CHAMPIONS: LOTUS

BEST RACE OF 1973: SWEDEN (WON BY HULME)

1974: FITTIPALDI WINS MCLAREN'S FIRST IN AWESOME CHAMPIONSHIP BATTLE

1974 was a close fought battle between four drivers all battling for the title in the final few grand prix's. The 1974 championship produced seven different race winners from five teams.

At the opening round in Buenos Aires after a chaotic first lap Reutemann for Brabham was leading until the final few laps where the homeboy was only running on seven cylinders, where New Zealander overtook to win his final GP of his career. Ferrari finished second and third.

At his home GP Fittipaldi won in style. In the next three GP's Reutemann, Lauda and Fittipaldi won GP's, with Fittipaldi leading Laudi by one point, and a new championship challenger was emerging for Tyrrell by the name of Jody Scheckter.

At Monaco Ronnie Peterson won for Lotus, then at Sweden Scheckter lead a Tyrrell 1-2. James Hunt managed a third place in his Hesketh.

At Holland it was a Ferrari 1-2 lead by Lauda, with the two Ferrrari's and Fittipaldi seperated by just three points.

At France Ronnie Peterson won his second race of the season to affirm himself as a possible fifth championship challenger for Lotus.

Round 10: Brands Hatch. Jody Scheckter wins his second GP, now making the championship battle a four-way race. This was the standings with five races to go:

1. Lauda - 38

2. Fittipaldi - 37

3. Scheckter - 35

4. Regazzoni - 35

Round 11: Germany. Regazzoni renewed his championship challenge at the perilous Nururgring. Regazzoni now was leading the championship by three points from Jody Scheckter.

Round 12: Austria. Carlos Reutemann won for Brabham with Denny Hulme in second, with Hunt third. No major championship change.

Round 13: Monza. Ronnie Peterson won for Lotus with Fittipaldi second and Scheckter third with both Ferrari's retiring. Regazzoni lead Scheckter by one point and Fittipaldi by three, Lauda now looking like he's out of the battle for the title.

Round 14: Canada. Fittipaldi drove well, winning the race after Lauda retired on lap 68 with Regazzoni second. Scheckter crashed out making it almost certainly a battle between Regazzoni and Fittipaldi, both on 52 points as they head into the final round.

Annoyingly enough Regazzoni and Fittipaldi qualified sixth and eighth. In the end it was a disappointing end with Fittipaldi collecting fourth place, enough for the championship title.

DRIVERS STANDINGS POINTS/WINS

1. Fittipaldi (BRA) - 55/3

2. Regazzoni (SWI) - 52/1

3. Scheckter (RSA) 45/2

CONSTRUCTORS CHAMPIONS: MCLAREN

BEST RACE OF 1974: MONZA (WON BY PETERSON)

1975: LAUDA WINS, HUNT ENTERS THE RACE

1975 saw Niki Lauda win his first championship with Ferrari from Emmerson Fittipaldi in second in his McLaren, but James Hunt entered the frame after somehow finishing fourth in the championship in the Hesketh. By the end of the fourteen round championship the Brit had won a race in Holland, beating Lauda himself and three excellent second place finishes. Cue 1976.

At the beginning of the championship it looked like Fittipaldi might be able to win his third, leading after five races, and in fact Lauda didn't seem like the man the championship leader should worry about, more about Carlos Pace in the Brabham.

However Lauda then won three races in a row to take a unassailable lead in the title chase, but had some great battles with Hunt and Fittipaldi.

Though the 1975 title race might not have been the most exciting championship battle it did provide some amazing races, including Holland, France and Silverstone back to back.

DRIVERS STANDINGS (POINTS/WINS)

1. Lauda (GER) - 64.5/5

2. Fittipaldi (BRA) - 45/2

3. Reutemann (ARG) - 37/1

CONSTRUCTORS CHAMPIONS: FERRARI

BEST RACE OF 1975: DUTCH GP (WON BY HUNT)

1976: HUNT PREVAILS IN SUPERB BATTLE

This is arguably the greatest ever battle in Formula One to this date, up there with the Senna v Prost, or Hakkinen & Schumacher. In 1976 Hunt was in the McLaren, Lauda was in the Ferrari, the stage was set for the battle many people had been waiting for after seeing their battles in F3 in the early 70's.

So far in his career Hunt had scored eight podiums and a win in cars that shouldn't have been up there, and Lauda was the defending champion.

Interlagos: Round 1. Hunt was on pole, but Regazzoni lead into turn one and Lauda overtook when the Swiss driver had a puncture. Hunt retired with a throttle stuck. At South Africa it was much closer, one again Hunt on pole but he was in fourth by turn one, but worked his way back up to behind Lauda, but that was as far as it was going to go. 2-0 Lauda.

At the US GP West Regazzoni lead a resounding Ferrari 1-2, leading every lap from pole, with Lauda second and Hunt out. Ferrari, in simply words, were dominating.

Then came Spain. Same story: Hunt on pole, Lauda overtakes, but on Lap 32 Hunt went by Lauda and won the gp, but Ferrari managed to get McLaren disqualified, handing victory to Lauda (But As we all know two months later the victory was reinstated)

With McLaren on the back foot It was another one two for Ferrari, lead by Lauda, and then he won again in Monaco, now having a 33 point lead, the championship was surely his.

At Sweden it was a breath of fresh air, the Tyrrell of Scheckter won a 1-2, with Lauda third.

Paul Ricard, and Hunt finally won from pole, though he did slip to second in the opening corners to Lauda, but Lauda retired with oil pressure problems on lap 17. The points deficit was only now 26.

At Brands Hatch, Hunt won, but Ferrari again managed to get him disqualified, this time McLaren lost on appeal. The lead now back into Lauda's hand. Then the disaster of the Nurburgring came, where Lauda had his near life-ending crash. Hunt won the race, but it was rather hollow.

At Austria, with Lauda in hospital, John Watson took a surprise victory with Hunt only fourth. The lead down to 23.

At Zandvoort though Hunt took full advantage, winning easily from Regazzoni in second. The points deficit down to 14. But then a miracle happened.

Somehow, Lauda returned at Monza. Ronnie Peterson won at Monza, but Lauda finished a miraculous fourth place.

At Canada, the penultimate round, Hunt had to race to win, but not with Lauda, but Peterson and Depailler, but managed to triumph, Lauda failing to score, now eight points behind.

In the next North American race Hunt won from Scheckter, with Lauda finishing a significant third, now his points lead was down to three.

Fuji - the final race. Lauda, withdrew from the race after two laps due to the treacherous conditions. Hunt lead the race for 60 laps but had to drop back down to fifth after having a pit stop, the championship now with Lauda, but Hunt regained third place, winning the championship by one point.

DRIVERS STANDINGS (POINTS/WINS)

1. Hunt (GBR) - 69/6

2. Lauda (AUT) - 68/5

3. Scheckter (RSA) - 49/1

CONSTRUCTORS CHAMPIONS: FERRARI

BEST RACE OF 1976: FUJI (WON BY ANDRETTI)

1977: NIKI WINS AGAIN

Niki Lauda won his second championship, despite Mario Andretti winning more races. Jody Scheckter's Wolf won first time out, Shadow took their only victory, and Gunnar Nilsson achieved the only win of a career ended by cancer. Renault entered Grand Prix racing with a turbocharged car which was initially not very successful. The German ATS team took over the Penske cars and the South African Grand Prix was the last race a BRM ever qualified to start. Lauda departed Ferrari even before the season ended, so did not complete the season, having already sealed the title thanks to his consistent form. Ferrari won its third consecutive Constructors' title with new driver Carlos Reutemann having a solid season.

James Hunt, the defending champion, had a rather mixed season, not being able to finish consistently, hurting his chance to defend his title, but still managed three excellent wins at Silverstone, Watkins Glen and Fuji, and a further two podiums, but could only manage fifth place in the championship standings with a unreliable McLaren.

DRIVERS STANDINGS (POINTS/WINS)

1. Lauda (AUT) - 72/3

2. Scheckter (RSA) - 55/3

3. Andretti (USA) - 47/4

CONSTRUCTORS CHAMPIONS: FERRARI

BEST RACE OF 1977: FRENCH GP (WON BY ANDRETTI)

1978: LOTUS STORM BACK

Lotus hadn't been having the greatest times, remembering the glory days of Fittipaldi and Peterson in '72, but the 1978 season was arguably their most dominant season, winning eight races.

Andretti won six races with Lotus to easily win the title with Ronnie Peterson playing second fiddle managing to score a memorable win in South Africa where there were five different leaders, and also at Austria.

However though Lotus dominated they only won half of the races. The main challenger to Lotus's domination was Carlos Reutemann of Ferrari. The Argentinean won four races with the team to finish just three points behind Peterson in the championship, but arguably if the Ferrari was a better car we could have seen a three-horse race.

However for a long time there was a fourth horse. The defending champion shocked the world in 1977 when he decided to leave the prancing horses to join Brabham, but won in Sweden and Monza to prove that the Brabham had potential.

Arguably the most heartwarming moment of the 1978 season was Quebecois Gilles Villeneuve winning his first race in his career in Montreal in a Ferrari on the final race of the season.

DRIVERS STANDINGS (POINTS/WINS)

1. Andretti (USA) - 64/6

2. Peterson (SWE) - 51/2

3. Reutemann (ARG) - 48/4

CONSTRUCTORS CHAMPIONS: LOTUS

BEST RACE OF 1978: SOUTH AFRICA (WON BY PETERSON)

1979: SCHECKTER WINS THE TEAM GAME

Jody Scheckter finally won his first and only world championship with Ferrari, but Gilles Villeneuve decided to play a sporting second fiddle to the South African where he could have challenged for the title himself. Besides the two Ferrari's, Alan Jones of Williams was the only serious challenger with a late challenge in the season.

But the first two races puzzled everyone. Two Ligier-Ford 1-2's, lead by Laffite, how did this happen? The more important thing was that it didn't carry on, because Villeneuve won the next race in a Ferrari 1-2, and won the next one in a Ferrari 1-2.

It wasn't until Zolder when Scheckter won his first race, and then immediately followed it up at Monaco, now leading the championship.

From Germany to Zandvoort Alan Jones of Williams won three consecutive races, but Scheckter collected eleven points from those races, managed to keep the championship in his hands.

It was all over fittingly at Monza. Scheckter won a Ferrari 1-2 to win the championship in style.

Jones won at Canada to show his promise for the 1980 season, and to finish off the season Gilles Villeneuve won the final race of the season and Watkins Glen to also show his promise for the 1980 season.

DRIVERS STANDINGS (POINTS/WINS)

1. Scheckter (RSA) - 51/3

2. Villeneuve (CAN) - 47/3

3. Jones (AUS) - 40/4

CONSTRUCTORS CHAMPIONS: FERRARI

BEST RACE OF 1979: CANADA (WON BY JONES)

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Comments (7)

  • The best era of F1 by far - just look at the title battles in 1974 and 1976, and proper drivers, like Hunt, Lauda, Fittipaldi, Peterson, Hulme... could go on for hours.

      3 years ago
    • I would say mid-60's all the way up to Senna v Prost was amazing, only starting to really get bad in 2015.

        3 years ago
    • I would say 1979 was an awesome battle, between Ferrari and the fast improving Williams driven by Jones.

        3 years ago
  • Will always think the era of Brabham, Hill & Clark was the best. Can't wait for the 90's post.

      3 years ago
  • Never knew that Regazzoni was so close to winning a title.

      3 years ago
  • I can never pass up anything to do with the Hunt / Lauda battle. Nice work Archie!

      3 years ago
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