1976: JAMES HUNT

Model produced by: Paul’s Model Art (Minichamps)

Year: 1976
Driver: James Hunt (Great Britain)
Team: McLaren Ford
Car: McLaren M23
Results: 6 wins, 8 podiums, 8 poles, 2 fastest laps

1976 saw reigning Champion Niki Lauda start as the favourite in his Ferrari, as nearest rival Emerson Fittipaldi made the patriotic switch from McLaren to the Brazilian funded Copersucar team. This left a hole at McLaren, filled by the ambitious, British hopeful, James Hunt, to set the scene for a dramatic season of racing. Hunt quickly adapted to life at McLaren and, unfazed by Lauda’s early dominance, continued to pick up valuable points and podium finishes. In an extraorinarily political season with lots of disqualifications, appeals and overturned decisions, world championship went to enfant terrible of Formula 1, James Hunt, by 1 point. Ferrari took the constructors’ title. 1976 will probably be best remembered for Lauda’s horrific accident at the Nurburgring that nearly ended his life and saw him rushed to hospital with major burns. His resilience and dedication to racing saw him make a remarkable recovery, returning six weeks later to ensure a thrilling climax to a season that ended with only one point separating 1st and 2nd place in the championship. Again it was the last eventful race in Japan that decided the title. Lauda led Hunt by three points going into the final race. In appalling weather condition Mario Andretti (Lotus) won, Lauda gave up because of the hazardous conditions, and Hunt eventually finished third to take the title. Enzo Ferrari was mad with Niki Lauda and called him “a coward” for withdrawing from the championship deciding race. Also in 1976, a six-wheeled Tyrrell confounded the sceptics by winning in Sweden.

See the season review until the last race

See the last race review

See Niki Lauda’s near fatal crash

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