“Overtaken by my own wheel”

09. Oct 2021 
by Ziv Knoll

For the 1969 season, Jochen Rindt signed for Colin Chapman’s Team Lotus, where he joined the defending Drivers’ World Champion Graham Hill (picture above).

Rindt had been very affected by Jim Clark’s death, his great friend and best driver of the era, a few months earlier at Hockenheim, in a F2 race. He was telling: “If Jim Clark is not safe, what can happen to us?”

Therefor he felt uncomfortable with the move, owing to the notorious unreliability of the Lotus car; in a twenty month period between 1967 and 1969, the team was involved in 31 accidents. Graham Hill alone had nine crashes in this period, which led him to joke: “Every time I am being overtaken by my own wheel, I know I am in a Lotus”

Jochen Rindt added: “At Lotus, I can either be world champion or die.” Sadly, the Austrian was killed during practice of the 1970 Italian Grand Prix, when a brake failure sent him in the guard rails at Monza, and he became the only driver to be posthumously awarded the Formula One World Drivers’ Championship.

Picture below: Graham Hill’s accident at Montjuich in 1969, when his rear wing failed.

Source: DR

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