Emerson Fittipaldi, Kevin Turner, UK discussed on The Autosport Podcast


For me, a great achievement was when I won the Formula One World Championship at Monza. I won the race, and I won the championship. Those are the words of Emerson Fittipaldi in a previous podcast we did for the race of my life series. We'll put a link to that in the show notes. You can have a listen to that show after this one. Well, we may be a few days into 2023, but just before Christmas at the end of last year, I sat down with autosports, chief editor Kevin Turner. To talk about one of the records in Formula One, which took decades to break. And that is Emerson Fittipaldi's. His world championship drive with lotus, and there's a whole bunch of celebrations which kicked off around the 50th anniversary of that actual event of the actual race in Italy. A few months ago, and those celebrations are continuing. Lotus the carmaker these ozone by the Chinese company gigli have unveiled a tribute vehicle to Emerson Fittipaldi and that win 50 years ago. He dominated the 1972 season in the lotus 72 D, becoming the youngest ever Formula One World Champion. As we've just had the 50th anniversary of that incredible record breaking win, let's talk about it with our chief editor Kevin Turner. Was it man? Was it machine or a combination of both? How did he do it? And why did it take so long to break that record that stood let's find out and get up to speed with Kevin now, let's join Kevin when I spoke to him just before Christmas in our office in London and he seemed pretty happy about talking about something from 50 years ago. Oh yeah, this is right in my street. This I was very pleased when you emailed me about this one again. How do you fancy how many chapter 1972 in Emma seems to be? Yes, please. Yes, please. Let's do that. Well, of course, the reason that I saw it was the 50th anniversary and lotus the car company as it is these days were releasing a special edition of one of their road cars. I forget which one, but it brought to mind, yes, we missed the actual anniversary earlier this year, but it is indeed 50 years when Formula One gained a new world champion. Younger than any before, this kid from Brazil that many people might have thought had kind of come from nowhere, but indeed he hadn't because he had been racing in the UK and here in Europe. We're going to find out his story of how he got there and then how he won. So let's build up to that. What was his, what was his path in motor sport? How did he end up in UK and European racing series? Long before Formula One. Well yeah, I mean, in those days, the UK was where you came to get your career started. Obviously, formula four had started in 1967 and that very quickly became the place for aspiring racing drivers to be MLK over to do that. And did the usual climbing up the back when it was a bit more of a straightforward ladder. Although to be fair, if I have tried to make that more sense, we recent years. But yeah, so he came up. He came up the UK ranks. He was known in European circles very early. And of course he was the first sort of big name Brazilian to come across. He sort of paved the way for Nelson Piquet and sent to come along later on. But the thing that sort of thrust him, I think the reason if you like that we're talking about him as the youngest wheel champion until Fernando Alonso took that off him. Was because of what happened at lotus. So he was started. He started off in the old lotus 49 in 1970 as kind of almost the second or third string car. In the late 72 winning the championship and then joachim was killed at Monza. And really MO stepped up and won his fourth world champion and the U.S. company, which also clinched the chance if a joker, because he met Jackie X couldn't catch him, and suddenly he was team leader. So is this kind of rapid rise and then the loss of his I believe joachim was a very helpful to MO in his early days he speaks very highly of him. But yes, I suddenly there you are. You're a young Brazilian and you're leading the world championship winning Formula One team. And he was very young because he won the world championship, like I said when he was 25 years old and that would stand for decades until Fernando Alonso came along and then that record has changed hands a few times since then, but it stood for so so long. Tell me about that car then. The load of 72 D so he wasn't new to Formula One that year, but and that car that chassis that engine tell us a little bit about that and what kind of machinery was he driving as he came into 72. Well, so the load of 72 we did a piece on this a couple of years about where we kind of decided it was the greatest competition car of all time. It's not sort of a game changing quite the same way that say the load 49 was with the DFV and stress member, but it sets the template for a single seater looks like that chisel nose, radiators on the side. But it had a very interesting life. So it had all sorts of weird and wonderful anti squat anti dice suspension that didn't really work when it first came out, written hated driving it. But they worked away, worked till I worked away. When Emma got hold of it in 1970, it was obviously won the championship. So it's kind of there, but then it was thrown by 1971 obviously he was still inexperienced, probably wasn't ready to fight for the championship at that point, but also firestone introduced slick ties in 1971. And that really changed how the cars used the rubber. So it actually required quite a lot of suspension tweaks to get that stick to work and of course some bits were fragile, lotuses could be a bit fragile, so some bits are broken. In 71, the Colin Chapman had got a bit carried away with the lotus 56 B turbine car, which MO did drive, it was like and he was probably right to be a bit and I think over the winter in December 2 they had new funding from John player special cement from that cool gold leaf livery to an even cooler black, the black and gold JPS delivery. They got suspensions, although they got it working on the tyres, Emma was ready. So if you look at the end of 71 actually, they are beginning to pick up results. So the kind of the signs were there. But yeah, yeah, they were quite evenly

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