That’s why James Hunt is a Formula 1 legend


In 2013, the New York Post ran an article titled “‘Rush’ Hints at the Feats of Racing Driver James Hunt.” The article chronicles James Hunt’s exploits in both life and death, earning him the title of Playboy’s Last Runner. Journalist Reed Tucker describes the British driver as “handsome, with blond hair and a chiseled face, wealthy and world famous. But he also had a bit of Steven Tyler in him, indulging in copious amounts of alcohol, drugs. and women “.

This personality was well represented in the movie Rush where his jacket emblazoned with the slogan “Sex, the breakfast of champions” is a major plot point and the same pun that earned him the nickname “Hunt The Shunt” is used. since with his rivalry with Niki Lauda. These memorable moments are indeed the reason Hunt is a Formula 1 legend, but it wasn’t all like that, his first Formula 1 team, Hesketh struggled a lot before he found his place in the car. McLaren vying for the championship.

Hunt is an icon of excess and hedonism in a sport that likes to be seen as a professional.

A passionate driver

Hunt had a fairly brief Formula 1 career, being crowned world champion in 1976 after 9 wins in the 16-round championship which was played mainly between him and Lauda. He entered the Formula 1 world championship in 1973 and left in 1979 after spending his last season with Wolf Racing after struggling with Mclaren.

The 1977 season was beset by difficulties, at the 1977 Canadian Grand Prix, Hunt won the title, Hunt The Punch in a moment which can be found on the Road and Track Website. After stopping and getting out of his car, he hit a marshal. This season, Hunt was also fined for not attending the podium ceremony. called the moment a ‘Hunt makes a runner’, with tragedy having hit the runway that day, only one pilot remained for the ceremony. 1978 wasn’t much better when the Lotus 79 was introduced, written by Colin Chapman and his best team, the car dominated with Mario Andretti making full use of the car’s ground effects and won the World Championship leaving the rest behind. of the peloton in its wake. James Hunt’s website, operated by Driver’s Sun, claims that in 1979, after his retirement from the Monaco Grand Prix, the driver decided to retire after a long career of 92 races.

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Funded on a shoestring budget

James Hunt and Niki Lauda

James Hunt and Niki Lauda

The New York Post reported that Hunt’s first Formula car used a lawn chair as a seat, he was disqualified for being a dangerous racer. Its first operations run on a small budget were quite common. Hesketh Racing, although no longer racing, has a website where they claim they were truly the last privateers in Formula 1, with no sponsors the team was funded by Lord Hesketh.

The team claim they aimed to challenge the establishment, race in style and, in turn, be excessive at a time when Britain was in the throes of an economic downturn and political turmoil. The team’s first success came at Zandavoort in 1975, they quote Hunt as saying “For once I made no mistake”, it was the team’s only success as they retired from the team. race with Lord Hesketh entering politics and Hunt going for the better. funded Mclaren for the 1976 season.

However, the team’s website does not cite what is widely believed to be the team’s real reason for withdrawing from Formula 1. In a heart-wrenching scene from the movie Rush, Lord Hesketh announces that he has made a “miscalculation” and without sponsors, the team would be doomed.

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After retirement

James Hunt as commentator

James Hunt as commentator

A world championship under his belt and a rivalry with one of Formula 1’s greatest drivers is not why he is a Formula 1 legend. In the modern Formula 1 paddock, actions and reputation de Hunt would see him immediately dismissed as an alcoholic and womanizer with a lack of professionalism. The New York Post has collected accounts of its antics, which include everything from vomiting from team sponsors to proposals from reporters.

However, with British charm and tabloid drama itself, his wife and star Richard Burton, the charming man, captured the hearts of Formula 1 fans and the public in a way that no driver with excessive training to the press has failed to do so since. Hunt was an aggressive driver, so his name was “Hunt The Shunt”, however, the peak of his career commemorated in Rush was at the 1976 Suzuka Grand Prix where the driver won the championship by one point over Niki Lauda who took the horrific accident at the Nordschleife earlier in the season.

When Hunt left Formula 1, he continued to patronize the sport as a commentator for the BBC. The New York Post claims that while commenting on this first race, the driver drank two bottles of wine, keeping the character of the man. Eventually, Hunt died in 1993 of a heart attack, some obituaries were scanned. The Independent’s obituary recounts his Formula 1 career and details some of his racing victories before sensitively describing his vices.

The article ends by describing the man’s more mature retirement, driving an Austin Van he was nearly penniless but who gave back to the sport in every way he could. As an icon of opulence and excess in one of the most excessive sports on the planet, a world champion and someone who gave back to the sport in his final year of hunting has solidified his position as Formula 1 legend.

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