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POSTHUMOUS WORLD CHAMPION – JOCHEN RINDT

Text KURT MOTZER
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Photos MOTORSPORT IMAGES
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27/12/2022
Jochen Rindt died at Monza on 5 September 1970, shortly before half past three. His only rival for the title, Jacky Ickx, failed to close the points gap on the dead man in the last three races of the season. Jochen Rindt remains the only posthumous world champion in Formula 1 history to this day.

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Central Cemetery, Graz. Diagonally opposite k. u. k. Colonel Fritz Balling, holder of the Iron Cross II Class (killed in action in Galicia during the First World War), rests a racing driver who was never allowed to know that his greatest life’s dream had come true: to become Formula 1 World Champion. Jochen Rindt died on 5 September 1970 in Monza, shortly before half past three. His only rival for the title, Jacky Ickx, did not manage to close the points gap on the dead man in the last three races of the season. Jochen Rindt remains the only posthumous world champion in Formula 1 history to this day. His grave looks like Obelix’s menhir. On it is written in capital letters: JOCHEN RINDT B. 1942 GEST. 1970, GRAND PRIX WORLD CHAMPION 1970. Behind the grave is the cemetery nursery. Buried to the right of Rindt is the folk actor Rudolf Carl (1899-1987), who starred alongside Hans Moser in many smaller roles. More than 30,000 people paid their last respects to Jochen Rindt, the man with the boxer’s nose who had a German passport and drove with an Austrian licence. Never before – and never since – have so many colleagues been present at the funeral of a racing driver, who themselves received their last rites a little later: Pedro Rodriguez, Francois Cevert, Jo Siffert, Joakim Bonnier, etc. Jochen Rindt raced to his grave with gloomy premonitions. About his car, the Lotus 72, he said: “Either I die in this car, or I become world champion with it.” Both happened, in the same year – the best scriptwriter would never have thought of that. It happened in the final training session: a brake shaft broke when braking into the Parabolica. Jochen Rindt had always complained to his team boss Colin Chapman that the brake shafts were too thin. After hitting the crash barriers and several pirouettes, the Lotus came to a halt beside the track. Rindt’s legs were already sticking lifelessly out of the wreckage. A certain Bernie Ecclestone, Jochen Rindt’s manager at the time, brought the bloodied helmet back to the pits. Nina, Jochen’s wife, stood there in tears. When she saw the bloody helmet, she started screaming, “You’re insane, you’re all insane!”

Source: https://ramp.space/post/jochen-rindt

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