Post 1945 Drivers

Jochen Rindt

Austrian

Obituary written at the time

Jochen was always a charger, a driver faster than any of his rivals who until this year was time and again in pole position, time and again would lead, but so rarely seemed to finish.

This year, however, he had been driving with a controlled ferocity and with more thought for his car so that although in one sense he was lucky to win at Monaco and Brands Hatch through Brabham's ill luck, on the other hand he was positioned ready to take full advantage of these opportunities when presented to him.

He was born in Mainz in Germany in 1942, the son of a spice-mill owner. Both his parents were killed in an air raid in 1943, and Jocheh was brought up in Austria by his mother's parents.

His first car was a Simca, which was replaced by an Alfa Romeo, and then he inherited some money when he was 21 and bought a Formula Junior Cooper.

After that the progress of his career was meteoric. He was second fastest in practice in his first Formula Junior race, and won his next one. The following year he was acquiring a name for himself in Formula Two, and a year later co-drove with Maston Gregory to win the Le Mans 24 Hour Race in a Ferrari.

In 1964 he had been given a Formula One drive by Rob Walker after a sensational F2 victory at Crystal Palace, and a three-year contract with Cooper-Maserati followed. In 1968 he moved to join Jack Brabham, but it was a year when that team was having a series of disasters with the four-cam Repco engine, and in 1969 he joined Gold Leaf Team Lotus.

The season started with a tremendous crash in the Spanish GP at Barcelona from which he was fortunate to emerge alive, let alone with relatively minor injuries. Towards the end of the season he scored his first Grand Prix victory-in the US event at Watkins Glen.

This season he has been the man to beat and at the time of his death held an almost unassailable lead in the World Championship of Drivers.

Although he had few Formula One successes until recently, for years Rindt has been unmatched in Formula Two racing where his incredible sense of balance has enabled him to outdrive all rivals in the lighter and more controllable single seaters.

In addition to his tremendous skill as a driver, Rindt was also a brilliant organizer and a capable businessman.

For the past few years he has devoted the winter months to organizing and staging the "Jochen Rindt Racing Car Show" which was so successful that it spread far beyond Austria to other major European cities. It seems quite probable that had Rindt ended this season with the World Champion's laurels he would have retired from major racing to devote himself to this and other interests.

To his wife Nina and his young family we extend our deepest sympathy.

In a BBC television interview after Sunday's race, Stirling Moss said:

"Jochen Rindt was the man to beat. He was the fastest racing driver in the world today, and a great ambassador for the sport."

Stuart Turner, Ford of Europe's director of motor sport, said at the weekend: "Jochen was associated with the company from his early days in the sport and his loss will be keenly felt by all of us.

"He had a warm enthusiasm for the sport at all levels, as shown for instance by his spontaneous offer to Ford Austria to 'set up' their batch of Formula Fords for their national programme. This effort by Jochen played an important part in the success of the Formula in Austria.

"Above all the courage and fire in his driving brought. him international standing and wide respect. Historians will rank him' with the all-time greats."

Author: ArchitectPage