THE 70's: TIME TO BREAK RECORDS! EMERSON FITTIPALD...
Formula One article

THE 70's: TIME TO BREAK RECORDS! EMERSON FITTIPALDI: The youngest ever champion. JACKIE STEWART: The master king of victories. NIKI LAUDA: The drive of decade's records.

1970 - Rindt: Victory or nothing. Jochen Rindt became champion after his death when his team-mate, the young brasilian driver Emerson Fittipaldi, won the USA GP. Chapman and all team Lotus could at least give Rindt a well deserved tribute. Until the Belgium GP there were four different winners: Brabham (his own BT33) - South Africa, Stewart (rookie March 701) - Spain, Rindt (Lotus 49) - Monaco and Rodriguez (BRM P153) - Belgium. Then, once more Chapman's creations appeared: Lotus 72 with a revolutionary body aerodynamic with coined nose, on- board brakes, torsion bars suspension and lateral radiators. Immediately Rindt took four straight victories. Failed only in his home town. Then, the fatal accident ended his career at Monza in the practices. Many drivers could get away the hopes of Rindt's posthumous title, but only Jack Ickx and Clay Regazzoni, with Ferrari, seemed to have equipament to do it, but ...

Other worst fact  P.Courage killed at Holland.

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1971 - No adversary for Jackie Stewart. This season was completely dominated by Stewart and his Tyrrell. He managed to win six times, one second and one fifth, getting no points only three times. Peterson got 2nd place four times, with a interesting March 711 with its high front wing car. The race of the year happened at Monza with an amazing final with Gethin (BRM), Peterson, Cevert (Tyrrell), Hailwood (Surtees) and Ganley (BRM) separated only by 0'61" seconds ... and Gethin initiated the last lap in four place, but someway he managed to pass by all of them, cruising the line 0'1" ahead of Peterson!

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1972 - Fittipaldi in a class of his own! Fittipaldi became the youngest ever world champion with only 25 years old in a very special style: five victories, two seconds and one third. His victory at Austria GP is still remembered as one of the most beatiful of his career, but of course, the following victory at Monza became unforgettable. That one gave him the title, after struggling in qualifying with T-car set-up, used because his race car was damaged by a truck road accident. Stewart was a hard opponent, winning four times, but one phrase explain his opinion about Fittipaldi: "Well, I think he's a good guy, a very good ping-pong player and...unfortunately also a very good driver!". This year also marked last BRM victory: Beltoise sliding between Monaco streets under awefull wet conditions.

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1973 - Stewart: the new king! In the beginning of this championship it looked that Fittipaldi would be unbeatable, but after a bad result in France, caused by Scheckter's wrong move that put him out of the race, it seemed that more than lost that race, Emerson lost also his lucky. The worst moment came in Zandvoort, when a rarely accident in his career happened. He had a foot injury and no conditions to ran more than three laps in the race. In the 13th round at Monza, the standings were: Stewart with 66 points, Fittipaldi with 42, Cevert with 39 and Peterson with 34. But Peterson won the race with Fittipaldi only 0'8 seconds behind. The momentum of the race was the ordered that Ken Tyrrell gave to Cevert, that was in fourth position, to let Stewart overtake him. If Colin Chapman would have ordered Peterson to do the same with Fittipaldi, Stewart would not take the championship there, but the order has never been given, so... Talking about accidents, this year would be marked by a big confusion caused by Scheckter (again...). This time at Woodcote curve at Silverstone. He lost control of his McLaren and almost everyone had been involved, with the italian Andrea de Adamich suffering serious injuries that ended his career prematurely. In South Africa, Regazzoni has been saved by Hailwood from his burning Ferrari. But two other accidents were much more serious: Cevert death at USA in the practices and Roger Williamson at Holland's race. This one, wiht live TV coverage, were absolutely unacceptable: Williamson burned to death with no rescue service and a desperate David Purley trying alone to get him out of the car, with no success. As a result of Cevert's accident Stewart decided to retire, but he had broken Clark's record of 25 victories, achieving his 27th at Germany GP in August.

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1974 - Fittipaldi twice! Unhappy with Chapman's treatment, Emerson accept the challenge to drive for McLaren. And it took just two races to win, this time in his home town. The championship were tremendously disputed between the renewed Ferrari team, now supported by Fiat, and McLaren team. The new italian 312T with transversal gearbox and V12 flat engine, driven by Regazzoni, was very quick and reliable. Fittipaldi, with M23 renewed, won three times, Regazzoni one. But with only three races out of points, the swiss man went to the final round, in Watkins Glen, with same points as the brasilian: 52 each. In the race, Fittipaldi demonstrated all his control to avoid Regazzoni's attack in the very beginning and arrived in fourth place. This position gave him the title as Regazzoni failed to finish. The south american party was complete: argentinian Reutemann and brasilian Pace made one-two for Brabham team.

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Worst fact: H.Koinigg killed at USA.

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1975 - First time for Lauda! As in 73, Fittipaldi started the year winning, but ended as vice-champion. Lauda, driving a very reliable Ferrari 312T, took five victories adn gave to the italian team the taste of champion missed since 64. McLaren had anormally failed, six times, that impedited Fittipaldi's fight for championship. His 14th and last career victory came at Silverstone, with his close friend Pace in second, in a race interrupted by bad weather conditions that caused a big mess: eleven cars out in the same curve! Besides Lauda's perfect driving and well deserved title, the name of this year must be given to Emerson Fittipaldi. At Montjuich circuit, Spain, he led drivers unwilling to race as an examination on the armco barriers demonstrated that they were uncorrectly fixed. As the organizers did not attend their exigency, Fittipaldi decided to slow in the qualifying and did not achieve time to start. He also let the country in the morning, meanwhile race starts. And it was a big disaster. Many accidents happened, but a tragedy will marke the grand prix: Stommelen, that was the moment leader with Pace on his tail, lost the rear wing causing a immediate accident. His car hit the left armco barriers, jumping over Pace's car, transpassing the other side barriers and caused the death of four people. The race was sttoped, with Mass declared winner. Fittipaldi's atitude contributed definitely to improve safety rules.

Worst fact  Mark Donohue death in Austria GP.

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1976 - Hunt, but Lauda... With new regulations for deformable front structure and roll-bar, the austrian Lauda demolished all the hopes of others drivers to win the 76's championship after nine rounds: seven consecutives podiums - five victories, two seconds and one third. No one could figure that he could lose this championship. Then, at Nurburgring GP, he lost control of his Ferrari, crashed the armco barriers and his car was envolved in flames. He survived because three honorable men put their own lifes in danger to save him. Their names must be remebered, not only for bravure, but as a spirit of what sport is about: Arturo Merzaro, Harald Ertl and Brett Lunger. Hunt took advantage of Lauda's absent and reduced the difference in twenty-two points. Lauda recovered in unbeliavable forty days, returning to cockpit at Monza and arriving in fourth place! Hunt would win two more times with Lauda making only one third place. In the final round at Monte Fuji - Japan, Lauda's advantage was only three points. Then in the race, under very slippery and dangerous wet conditions Lauda abandoned the race and let the way free for Hunt. Also Fittipaldi and Pace pulled out for the same reason: there were no track conditions. Ferrari team informed that his retirement was caused by mechanical failure, but Lauda words let no doubt: "My life is my own and it's more important than the championship".

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1977 - Lauda reigning again! Lauda was unstoppable at all the championship with his 312T2 car. Even leading the championship, his relationship with the team was getting worst. But he failed to score points only three times until guarantee his second championship. Then he deserted the team as a response to Ferrari's decision to not renewal his contract for 78. Otherwise, Lotus showed that they were recovering their criativity as model 78, with its ground effect and new differential, won five times. Four with Andretti and one with Nilsson. Tragically Pryce was killed when a track marshall carring a fire extinguisher crossed the straight exactly in front of his Shadow. Both have instantly death. Also J. Carlos Pace died, but in a plane accident. This year, everyone in F1 believed that Pace would be the champion, as a result of the excelent development work done with his Brabham-Alfa in previous year...

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1978 - Andretti and Lotus! After five rounds, a surprising Patrick Depailler (Tyrrell) was in the leader board. He had 23 points, with Reutemann (Ferrari) and Andretti (Lotus) with 18, Lauda (Brabham-Alfa Romeo) 15 and Peterson (Lotus) 14. The, once more Colin Chapman geniality devasted the others teams: Lotus 79 appears at Belgium and the team made its first one-two of the year. This car was the first "wing car", with side-skirts and dominated the rest of the season. Andretti took six victories, with his team mate, Peterson, in second four times. The swedish took only one victory and another podium, third at his home town. At this race, Brabham presented a new BT46 with a large fan in its tail, producing the same ground effect of Lotus aerodynamic. The ideia was based in a project developed by american Jim Hall - the famous Chaparral's creator. Besides Lauda's victory in the race, the team was prohibited to use the system (classified as aerodynamic moveable part) and had to abandon the idea. But since model 79 went to the track, Lotus only didn't win at England and Sweden. Unfortunatelly, Peterson crashed his one at Monza in the practices, and had to run with the 78 model. In the race start a big accident envolved many cars. Peterson had many injuries and died later in the hospital. Championship was over as no one could beat the american anymore. Even Peterson susteined his second position at the championship.

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1979 - Scheckter, in a dominant Ferrari season. J.Laffite stated this season, with Ligier JS11, scoring two wins and dreaming with the title. But Ferrari team just failed at the first race of the season to be in points, meanwhile the french team did not susteined their competitiveness. In all following fourteen races, Ferrari won six times (three one-two) and scored points. Gilles Villeneuve driving style made crowds happiness. The master point was his fight against Arnoux (Renault) in Dijon for second place. They overtake each other more than once, touching wheels during the last lap and when it seemed Arnoux would be in advantage, Gilles emerged, diving through, stoling the position. But Jody Scheckter took advantage of Gilles aggressively driving, been much more consistent and getting the points to guarantee his title. Great championship for Williams team, with Regazzoni and Jones scoring five wins and achieving constructors vice-championship. Another good surprise was newcomer Piquet, that outpaced his team-mate, Lauda sometimes in practices, but both suffered with many failures in their BT48 Brabham Alfa Romeo. The team launched new car, BT49, at Canada with Ford engine, as Alfa Romeo returned with their own team. Team Lotus had a year to forget, as the new model has never achieved what they expect.

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Wroten by : Alexandre Vasconcellos, Brasil