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One sport that I have followed since I was a tween is Formula 1. In fact, I define myself as an F1 fan.
In 2015, French driver Jules Bianchi’s death shocked the F1 world, not only because he was young and promising, but also because the sport had been considered relatively safe since the tragic death of legendary Ayrton Senna back in 1994. Apart from a few freak incidents, we’re thankfully far from seeing the tragedies that plagued this sport from the 50s to the 80s. In those days, cars were less resistant to high-speed impacts – they easily got mangled or caught fire – and the drivers’ attires weren’t as protective as they are today. All that, as well as the configuration of some race tracks, made this a dangerous job for these drivers. No wonder many of them lost their lives.
Yet sometimes, either by luck or by willpower, some drivers survived serious accidents. And when it comes to Formula 1 survivors, the first name that should come to everyone’s mind is that of the Austrian Niki Lauda. For, on the 1st of August of 40 years ago, not only did he survive a fiery crash at the German Grand Prix in Nürburgring but also managed a strong comeback after just a few weeks.
Besides his accident, which left him disfigured, Lauda was known for his rivalry with British driver James Hunt. Both the 1976 accident and all the events surrounding it have been portrayed in the 2013 film Rush. Thanks to the talented director and producer Ron Howard (A Beautiful Mind), young F1 fans as well as those who have never followed the sport were able to discover these two great sportsmen and what led them to become notorious.
So on this occasion, I am remembering the Hunt vs. Lauda 1976 battle by reviewing Rush and by seeing how it depicted Formula 1 in the 70s.