by Susana Costa Real
Passionate with speed and competition, he started collecting scars and bruises in ski races, later moving to mopeds and motocross. In all those sports Rindt showed a tendency to either win or crash spectacularly.
In his second ever F2 race at Crystal Palace, Rindt managed to beat British hero Graham Hill in a spectacular manner. His driving style and winning ambition were well pictured by the contemporary descriptions of the event: “His car was sideways throughout the race. It went around the corners at unbelievable angles and always looked as if it was about to go off the road.”
It’s no surprise that Jochen’s F1 hero was Wolfgang Von Trips. Both seemed to value victory more than their own body integrity and the consequences were, as expected, quite similar.
In 1970 Rindt arrived to the Italian Grand Prix counting already five race wins, four of them with the Lotus 72. However, in this particular race, the new car couldn’t keep up with Jacky Ickx and Clay Regazzoni Ferraris in the faster sections. To mend that, Chapman and Rindt decided it would be better to run the car without wings and with a longer gear ratio, which allowed it to reach 330kph.
During the final qualifying session and under hard braking, the Lotus suffered a brake failure that led the car to swerve left hitting a post head on, with the well known consequences.
Despite being killed four races before the end of the season, Rindt could still not be beaten by his rivals in the championship. This makes of him the only posthumous race champion, invincible in life or death.
This artwork was inspired by the last of Rindt’s victories with the beautiful Lotus 49 complete with the famous Gold Leaf livery. It happened at the 1970 Monaco Grand Prix.