Big news for the last couple of years has been the upcoming Ron Howard film Rush, telling the story of the rivalry between James Hunt and Niki Lauda through the 1976 season.
Of course any F1 fan is well aware of the basic story, Hunt and Lauda share wins in the 76 Championship, and it looks like it’s going to be another championship for Lauda, but the season is disrupted when Lauda crashes and is almost killed at the Nurburgring. Lauda is given the last rites, but pulls through after being badly burnt, and within 6 weeks is back at the wheel of his Ferrari trying to save his season. With the points incredibly close at the last round in Japan Lauda has to make a choice between risking his life again, or pulling out of the race, leaving the door open for Hunt to take the title.
History cannot be changed, and we all know Hunt took the 76 championship, his only one, but the movie really digs into the story and shows the agonizing decisions that had to be made, and the huge amount of courage Lauda showed in not only cheating death, but in getting back into the car so soon with the injuries he was carrying.
I cannot even start to imagine the pain and suffering Lauda must have gone through. It’s one thing to get out of hospital and walk around the park after that sort of trauma, but to climb back into a Formula One car, pull down the belts tightly over the wounds, then race competitively while all the time getting thrown around in the cockpit just defies anything most of us will ever know. I certainly cannot imagine what it must have been like for him to even try to put a helmet on…
Enjoy the trailers below, and some of the making of clips.
Rush Trailer 1
Rush Trailer 2
Behind the scenes of Rush with interviews
US Speed Channels Will Buxton Interviews Ron Howard about Rush at the end of 2012 after filming had concluded.
More behind the scenes of Rush
Filing on location for Rush
Amateur footage of the Rush Lauda crash re-creation
Rush filming on location at Snetterton in England
About Rush by Channel 10 Australia with Button and Webber
The McLaren Formula One Team is 50 years old, and to celebrate it they produced this great tribute video to Bruce McLaren and his legacy.
Life is not measured in years alone,
but in achievement
In only3 minutes it gives a great insight into the man that Bruce McLaren was, and clues as to why his legacy lives on so long after his death. The videos title “Courage” says it all.
Bruce started his team way back in 1963 and is credited with a number of innovations that are still used to this day on modern Formula One cars. He was one of the modern day pioneers of motorsport worldwide.
Remuera is a suburb of Auckland City in New Zealand, where Bruce McLaren grew up and spent most of his life before heading overseas to race, so it’s a fitting name for a 60 minute tribute DVD put together to celebrate the 40th anniversary of his death in 1970.
This spectacular video, highlighting Bruce’s life and his racing achievements is available at the Throughtout The Gears Website. Below is the trailer for the DVD.
The McLaren MP4/4 was a very special Formula One Car. It was used by Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost in their 1988 season, and was by far the dominant car. It won 15 of the 16 races in that year, only missing out on the clean sweep due to a crash at Monza. Neil Oatley looks back on the car and tells a few of the stories associated with the 1988 season.
The 2007 Formula One season saw great competition on the track between the two Ferrari drivers, Kimi Raikkonen and Felipe Massa, and McLaren Mercedes “teammates” Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso.
There was also a spy scandal between these two teams which filled up time between events and ended with McLaren being kicked out of the manufacturer’s championship. And a feud between Hamilton, Alonso and Ron Dennis that probably cost them a championship.
Hopefully in 2008, we can get back to the great racing, but drama and the F1 series usually go together.
Officials have made a number of changes for 2008 in hopes of putting the driver abilities in front of technical advances. All teams will use one “brain” called a Standardized Electronic Control Unit. Its introduction is to prevent teams from using many banned driver aids such as traction control, engine braking and launch control.
Without these aids drivers will again be the most important piece of equipment. No longer will a driver simply push a “launch-control” button to start the race. Now, instead of who has the best launch software, the start will be won by driver reaction time and ability to get off the line without spinning the wheels.
Without traction control, it will again be the driver in charge as he slids through the corner. The same with engine braking versus driver braking.
“It is in the low-speed corners that you notice the difference, because that is where the traction control would normally kick in,” said two-time World Champion Alonso. “That means you have to change your driving style quite dramatically. Last year we used to go straight to full throttle, but now we need to be gentler and feather the throttle.”
Gearboxes have been mandated to last four races or be subject to a five- position starting grid penalty. This goes along with last year’s rule that engines must be used in consecutive events or suffer a 10-position penalty.
All these rules have been designed to both bring the racing back to the driver and lower costs.
Still, with all these changes, the championship will likely go to either Ferrari or McLaren.
The F2007 Ferrari was fast from the beginning of the season to the end. Raikkonen won the opener in Australia, his first race with Ferrari, and the final two events in China and Brazil to win the title by one point.
The new F2008 model will be very similar to last year – why change a winning combination? The wheel base will be slightly shorter and side pods were added to aid engine cooling, but it will look much the same as the F2007.
Raikkonen’s car will have the No.1 on the side and the confidence from being the defending champion should make him even tougher in 2008.
“Anyone who thinks I’m now happy and satisfied is mistaken,” said Raikkonen. “It has never been fun for me to drive for a fifth or sixth-place finish. I’m here to win.”
However, should he stumble, Massa could easily take the reins and a title. The Brazilian finished fourth in 2007 with three wins and six poles. If not for DNFs in Canada and Italy, Massa would have been right in the mix heading to the final event.
While Raikkonen and Ferrari won the 2007 titles, by all rights it should have been McLaren and Hamilton taking the accolades. Hamilton burst on the scene with nine consecutive podium finishes and heading into the final two events held a comfortable 12-point lead. But a spin out in China and a seventh-place finish in Brazil left the rookie one point short of the championship.
It didn’t help Hamilton that he and “teammate” Alonso were feuding for most of the season. Or that Alonso and team boss Ron Dennis didn’t speak to each other through the second half of the year.
The situation was resolved after the season as Alonso went back to Renault where he had won two titles. He is replaced by youngster Heikki Kovalainen giving the team plenty of talent, but little experience.
The McLaren is obviously fast and as long as Hamilton’s first year wasn’t a mirage, he will again compete for the championship. And maybe last year’s failure will show him the way to the top rung in 2008. Kovalainen, while talented, probably will not challenge for the title, but on the other hand will likely be much more supportive of his teammate. That additional help, both on the track and in Hamilton’s head, might be enough to put the Englishman over the top.
“I would say last year was an uncontrollable determination and excitement and just not really knowing what was coming up, just going into the deep blue,” said Hamilton. “Now I know what to expect, I know about my preparations so I am storing energy.”
After the “big two,” there is a pretty big drop off to the third best team – BMW.
Robert Kubica and Nick Heidfeld are quick, but not quick enough to challenge Ferrari and McLaren. Even in testing they could not keep up with the “big two.”
The big unknown for 2008 is what the addition of Alonso will do for Renault. When he left the team, he had just won two consecutive titles. At McLaren he could never get comfortable and thought the team favored his English-speaking teammate. Still he only finished outside the points in one race – Japan. Had he and Hamilton worked a little better, one of them would be the defending champion.
“Last year is the past, everything is closed,” said Alonso. “We have enough problems with this year’s car, to improve it, to develop it and get used to the new regulations. It is impossible to think about the past, we have to move forward.
“I had some difficulties, but I am here in 2008 ready to fight again and be happy.”
Alonso’s teammate this year is another rookie, Nelson Piquet Jr., son of the three-time World Champion (1981,1983,1987).
Although the car is not yet up to Ferrari and McLaren, the Spaniard might be worth half-a-second. At McLaren, Alonso once claimed he brought six-tenths of a second to the McLaren in preseason testing. If that’s the case, the “fired- up” two-time champion might just put Renault back in the middle of the fray.
The rest of the “field fillers” are just that. One shouldn’t expect much from Williams, Red Bull, Toyota, Honda, Force India or Super Aguri. For Super Aguri just getting to the starting grid will be a “win” as the team has major financial problems.
From this vantage point, it appears to be another big year for Ferrari and the “Tifosi.”
Going way way back, before Formula One was a huge rolling advertisement, and when some would say drivers were real drivers, and when the Nurburgring was a feared 13 mile plus track, with 70 plus corners and elevation changes of over 1000 feet, a far cry from todays sanitized tracks.
Check out this great film of the 1967 German Grand Prix, won the late Denny “The Bear” Hulme, who then went on to win the 1967 World Championship, New Zealands first and only Formula One World Champion.
Here is another great film form the 1967 season. No commentary, but some amazing footagefrom a number of the races in 1967.
Yet another clip from 1967, this time from the 25th Annual Monaco Grand Prix. This one again was won by Denny Hulme, and also featufred the fatal crash of Ferrari driver Lorenzo Bandini.