Motorsport magazine, which I had the privilege to edit in the mid-1980s, recently ran a piece which claimed that 1976 was the best year in the history of the World Championship. It’s in my nature to argue with any such statement, but I think the writer was right. Had Hollywood come up with a scenario with Niki Lauda at death’s door and back in a racing car six weeks later, Hollywood would have been mocked.
The 1976 F1 season was so gripping that the then wife, a person not noted for her devotion to motor racing, was awake at four in the morning and listening to the wireless on October 24, 1976. In 1976, the Japanese Grand Prix was an aural experience only – back then, Bernie Ecclestone had yet to select first gear.