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Template for the Rush film: This is how the 1976 season really went

Wolfgang Wilhelm
Template for the Rush film
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R ush director Ron Howard is a professional. He has already won two Oscars and has already filmed a similar subject with his film Apollo 13. The basic structure of the new Formula 1 film is based on a true story. But the reality of Hollywood isn't always good enough. In the Rush case, even Howard had to admit: 'The story is so blatant that without prior knowledge I would have said after reading it: very well made up.'

The star director didn't have to exaggerate much anymore But then it was made for the sake of the dramaturgy. For example at the driver briefing before the German GP in 1976, at which Niki Lauda wanted to force a rejection, but was overruled by his colleagues. In truth, that session never took place. The fate of the Nürburgring and the race was discussed and decided weeks beforehand. The Nürburgring supporters prevailed against the rebel Lauda.

Lauda 1976 favorite, Hunt only outsiders

Anyone who has seen the film knows roughly how the 1976 season went . But what really happened? We outline the course of the duel between Niki Lauda and James Hunt once again. It was a year of controversy. Niki Lauda, ​​defending champion in the Ferrari 312 T2 against McLaren newcomer James Hunt in the M23D. The huge favorite against the blatant outsider.

Both cars had been further developed over the winter and adapted to the new rules. Lauda started like the fire department. With four wins in the first six races. James Hunt won the Spanish GP but was disqualified because his McLaren was 1.8 cm too wide. McLaren appealed and got the win back two months later for $ 3,000. Argument: 1.8 centimeters is not a competitive advantage. Enzo Ferrari was foaming. He spoke of sports justice for sale.

In fact, the track reduction and the associated conversion of the oil cooler from the right side of the engine under the rear wing made McLaren nasty embarrassment. For three races nothing went at McLaren and nobody knew why. Until it was discovered during test drives that the newly placed oil cooler was interfering with the flow to the rear wing. So command back. Lauda was already leading with 55: 8 points. Hunt won the French GP twice. On the track and at the green table. Together with the points from Spain, it was suddenly only 52:26.

Stunk at Hunt's home game at Brands Hatch

Next race, next stunk. Ironically at Hunt's home game at Brands Hatch. After a start collision triggered by Clay Regazzoni and the At the end of the race, Hunt smuggled his way onto the starting grid with a repaired car that had been involved in an accident. He shouldn't have been there because he didn't finish the first lap.

Hunt forced his start, the spectators clamored for his participation as a reward the national hero won ahead of Lauda. Two months later the FIA ​​took the nine points away from him and declared Lauda the winner. Ferrari had threatened to withdraw and tried the uprising in Austria by not starting.

Lauda sat in the flames for 35 seconds

Then came the Nürburgring. It was the irony of fate that Lauda, ​​of all people, faced the risks of a race the most had warned on the Nordschleife at one Accident at the mine almost died. The cause was not clear, it was initially said. Lauda later learned that the suspension was broken.

The car caught fire, Lauda's helmet was torn from his head and he sat exposed in the flames for 35 seconds. 'I owe my life to Arturo Merzario, who broke the seat belt buckle and pulled me out of the car,' recalls Lauda. The Austrian hovered between life and death for four days.

The comeback 42 days later

42 days after the accident he made his comeback in Monza and bore the scars of the fiery hell of the Nürburging like a war wound on his face. In the meantime, Hunt had won two races and reduced the gap to 14 points. Enzo Ferrari asked Lauda to postpone his comeback. Defeat would have been easier to explain if he had stayed in bed.

But the resurrected man reared up, endured the medical check in Milan and also Carlos Reutemann, who had been hired as the third man against all agreements. Fourth place, three points. Lauda was celebrated like a world champion. Hunt flew off the track. The Tifosi pelted the Englishman with rotten fruit.

Friends became enemies for three races

Lauda and Hunt became opponents even though they were friends. The circumstances had poisoned the climate. When the safety of the Canadian Mosport track came up, Hunt Lauda left out in the rain: 'I'm only interested in the title. That's why I drive on every track.'

Lauda went into the final in Fuji with a three point lead. It was the punch line of a season that fell from one extreme to the other. The drama had to end with a drama. Lauda got out after two laps in pouring rain. Out of sheer fear of killing oneself while flying blind. The Nürburgring film ran a second time in his mind's eye.

The battle was not yet over. Lauda led with 68:65 points. Hunt needed fourth place. He was in the lead, dropped back to 6th place after a blowout and a stop of 27 seconds and fought his way back to 3rd place with one lap to go.

Great chaos, incomplete lap tables, no radio traffic: When Hunt popped in, he thought he'd lost the title race. He was pissed off and berated his team's failure. His team cheered. That made Hunt even angrier. Team boss Teddy Mayer called out to his champion: 'It's you, James.' Lauda found out about the defeat at the Tokyo airport.


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