On today’s day in 1970, Jochen Rindt was killed in qualifying for Italian GP at Monz and latter became the only posthumously declared world champion in Formula 1.
Jochen Rindt in Lotus suffered a serious injury in Monza qualifying in 1970. The Austrian lost his car on the braking for Parabolica and after which he lost control and hit the barrier. Rindt had slipped under the belts and later died of heavy throat injuries. The Italian court later found that the leak caused a breakdown on the front right brake, and that the death was caused by the badly places barriers.
Karl-Jochen Rindt was born on April 18, 1942 in Mainz, but his parents died during the bombing of Hamburg at the time of World War II. He was raised by his grandparents in Graz in Austria. Although he grew up in Austria, Rindt never became an Austrian citizen, but raced under Austrian licence.
He made his F1 debut in Austria in 1964, driving Brabham BT11, and from 1965 to 1967 he drove for Cooper and in 1966 he finished third with three podiums. A year earlier, in 1965, he won the 24h Le Mans and in 1968 he won the first two pole positions in his career driving the Brabham BT26. But Brabham’s reliability was not a strong side as he retired in 10 of the 12 races and finished third in the remaining two.
Rindt moved to Lotus in 1969. – the car was fast and in nine of the 10 races he qualified in the first three places, but was also unreliable. Still, Rindt won his first F1 race at Watkins Glen.
In 1970 Rindt retired in the first two races, but then secured first win of the season in Monaco, where he won from the eighth place after he pressured Jack Brabham who made a mistake in the last lap.
In the next race in Belgium he retired due to engine failure, but then he took four consecutive wins in the Netherlands, France, UK and Germany. In Austria he retired from the pole position, again due to engine failure, and then came Monza.
Rindt was attempting to increase the maximum speed of his Lotus and tried to drive without wings as the Ferrari 312B in the previous race was about 15 km/h faster than Lotus.
At Lotus, they tried to drive the wings without wings, which was first started by Jackie Stewart at Tyrrell and Denny Hulme at McLaren. Rindt’s teammate John Miles regretted the maneuverability of such cars that ‘could not drive straight’, but Rindt did not have such problems.
Colin Chapman said Rindt said the car would go ‘800 rpm more’ at the highest speed without wings. The team thus extended the transmission ratios, so the car achieved a speed of about 330 km/h.
During braking for Parabolica, Rindt’s car sharply turned to the left and hit the barrier. His decision not to tie up to get out of a burning car potentially cost him life because he slipped beneath the belts and got fatal injuries of the throat.