Every season of motor racing brings two world champions, though they may sometimes be the same man. The moral champion of the past three years is Niki Lauda, and none more so than this year. His first setback with his tractor accident did not deter him, but his near-fatal accident at the Nurburgring shocked us all. He would not race again this season, and, if he survived at all, would he ever race again? But the iron determination of the Austrian knew no bounds, and the respect he earned for his struggle for life was far more than that he could ever earn by simply becoming world champion. However, mental and physical effects on the man himself, coupled with a break in routine and the loss of valuable testing time, put Ferrari at a disadvantage for the rest of the season, though they did win the Constructors’ Championship.
I must hastily explain to the mass of irate James Hunt supporters that I am not trying to discredit the Briton one little bit. The man I do despise is Teddy Meyer, who can at best be described as 3 hypocritical politician, who has no place in motor sport. He seems to enjoy telling whatever story suits his cause on BBC, and takes delight in undermining the authority of the CSI. In an interview with him in your sister journal Motoring News early in the year, I found it hard to agree on One single point he was making. Even now, I feel that Hunt has got the championship on borrowed points from the Spanish Grand Prix.
But surely we should all take our hats off to Niki Lauda, one of the greatest living human beings, and a roan who seems to stand above all the current wrangling in Formula One motor racing. In my opinion, we have only ever seen two greater men in motor sport than Lauda : Fangio and Rindt. The enormity of the man’s achievements makes the world championship seem petty and unimportant. “Lauda” in Latin means “Praise”, doesn’t it?
Shrewsbury PETER M. MESSENGER