Monday, May 25, 2020

Austria, Formula 1 Legends Series - 2

The second issue in the Austria post "Formula One Legends series" was released in 2007. Yet again it featured another 8 finest drivers from the Formula 1 history.

Philip Hill was the only American born Formula 1 world Champion who won the prestigious event in 1961. Even though he raced with many teams during his 8 year Formula 1 career, his 1961 Championship was with the team Ferrari. He holds the record for winning the Formula 1 Championship with fewest career points (98). He and another 6 drivers share the record for fewest World Championship seasons (4) before their first title. He and Mike Hawthorn won their respective Championships with fewest career wins (3). He was also the first American to win the Le Mans 24 Hours. He along with Olivier Gendebien won the race thrice 1958, 1961 and 1962. He also participated in other motor sports including the Tasman Series, 12 Hours of Sebring and Targa Florio.

Clay Regazzoni was a Swiss racing driver who started the racing career with Formula 3 then gradually moving to Formula 2 and then in 1970 finally debuted in Formula 1 racing. He had a very tight season in 1974 almost winning the Championship, but finally settled for second place in the Championship title. He is fondly remembered as the mustached charmer from Switzerland who had two 3 years stints at Ferrari (1970 – 1972 and 1974 – 1976), and scoring Williams's maiden GP victory which are the highlights of his 10-year Formula 1 career. After a driving accident in 1977, his Formula 1 career came to an end but still participated in other motor sports events such as Dakar Rally, 12 Hours of Sebring. On 15 December 2006, Regazzoni was killed when the Chrysler Voyager he was driving hit the rear of a lorry on the Italian A1 motorway, near Parma. Regazzoni will be remembered ever for his unique and charismatic character.

An Austrian by birth Gerhard Berger was a Formula 1 racing driver and also Austria's record holder with his 210 starts in Formula 1. In his 14 years of Formula 1 career he had 48 podiums, including 10 victories but never won a world championship tile. His best finish in Formula history was 3rd twice in the 1988 and 1994 seasons with team Scuderia Ferrari. Post his racing career, he took up administration roles, the latest being chairman of ITR, the promoter of the Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters ( DTM ) from 2017. Due to his Senna connection, he played an advisory role to Bruno Senna, Ayrton's nephew, who made his Formula 1 debut in 2010 world Championship. In 2019 marking the 25th death anniversary of Senna, he said "Had he been alive, I don’t think anyone other than Ayrton would have won the championship for the next five years."

Juan Manuel Fangio is regarded as one of the Greatest race drivers in the history of Formula 1. He was the first racing driver to win 5 Championship titles the record which was not broken for 43 years. The German Michael Schumacher was the first to beat his five Formula 1 world championship titles. In 51 Grand Prix starts, Fangio won 24 times, with a success rate of 46.15% that has never been achieved before. He holds the record for the highest percentage (55.77%) of pole positions, 29 pole positions from 52 races. His record of 4 drivers' Championships with most constructors - Alfa Romeo, Maserati, Mercedes, Ferrari stands unbeaten for 70 years. Fangio's 1957 Championship victory is a record for the oldest driver to win a Championship title. He was also the oldest driver to set a fastest lap at the age of 46 in his last 1958 season. His 8 years of Formula 1 career is a testimony for his Greatness in the history of Formula 1.

John Surtees was a British racing driver who was the only racing driver to win seven motorcycle world Championships and one Formula 1 world Championship (1964). He started his Formula 1 career in 1960 with Team Lotus straightaway coming from his illustrious Motorcycle racing career. He also worked as a designer and racing team owner. He started his own race team, the Surtees Racing Organisation, and spent nine seasons competing in Formula 5000, Formula 2 and Formula 1 as a constructor. He was honored with titles such as the Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE), an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2008 Birthday Honours and a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2016 New Year Honours for services to motorsport. In 1996, Surtees was inducted into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame.

Mika Häkkinen, nicknamed "The Flying Finn" was a Finnish Formula 1 racing driver. He won 2 Championship titles during the seasons 1998 and 1999 with McLaren racing team. He will be remembered for his fiercely fought rivalry in many races with Michael Schumacher. His rivalry with Schumacher actually dates back to the Formula 3 days, where they had an infamous last-lap collision which made Schumacher as the Champion. Häkkinen started his career with Lotus Racing Team and after 2 seasons he moved to McLaren where in the first season he finished 4th in the 1993 Championship. He also participated in DTM events for 3 seasons from 2005 with the best finish of 5th. His favorite rival Michael Schumacher once complemented that he gained most satisfaction in racing against him. Häkkinen was awarded the Autosport International Racing Driver Award for 2 consecutive years 1998 and 1999. 

Graham Hill was a British racing driver who won the Formula 1 World Championship title twice in his 18 years of Formula 1 racing career. He was the only racing driver to win the Triple Crown of motorsport, such as the "500 miles from Indianapolis" (1966), the "24 Hours of Le Mans" (1972) and world championship in Formula 1 (1962 and 1968). Hill and his son Damon Hill were the first father and son pair to win Formula 1 World Championships. He also tried his hand in Tasman Series and USAC Championship Car events. Hill died on 29 November 1975 in an air-crash after returning from a car testing session. Silverstone village which hosts the British Grand Prix races named a road to honor this legend for the accomplishment in his racing career.

Emerson Fittipaldi was a Brazilian racing driver who won the Formula 1 World Championship twice in 1972 and 1974 with the Ford Cosworth racing team. Being inspired by the 1949 Italian Mille Miglia, he had a passion for motorsports which paved the way for his career in Formula 1. He was the youngest champion winning the 1972 title at the age of 25, the record which was never beaten for 33 years. He also participated in the Indy 500 winning twice with the Penske racing team. He helped his team colleague Jochen Rindt win posthumously the world championship in 1970. Post Formula 1, he went to CART and associated with the event for 13 seasons and winning the 1989 title.