Emerson Fittipaldi celebrated at Monza this weekend, 50 years since his Championship-clinching victory
The Italian Grand Prix at Monza this weekend will see an on-track celebration of Emerson Fittipaldi’s 1972 World Championship success for Team Lotus. Fittipaldi secured the 1972 Formula 1® Drivers’ title by winning the race at Monza – his fifth victory of the year – to become the sports then youngest-ever world champion at the age of 25.
Friday, Saturday and Sunday will see four of the iconic cars that Emerson drove during his years with the team from Hethel on track as part of the Fittipaldi 50 years celebration. The four cars are provided by Classic Team Lotus in the UK.
The red and white Gold Leaf Team Lotus Type 49 chassis R10 is the very same chassis that Fittipaldi drove in his Grand Prix debut at the British Grand Prix at Brands Hatch in July 1970. R10 was also the car that had been driven to victory by Graham Hill at Monaco in both 1968 and 1969, and had given Mario Andretti his first taste of F1 when he tested the car prior to the 1968 Italian Grand Prix.
The second car is the unique Pratt & Whitney gas turbine-powered Lotus Type 56B, driven by Fittipaldi in the 1971 Italian Grand Prix at Monza. The gold and black car ‘whooshed’ its way to an eighth place finish in a race remembered for the closet finish in the history of Grand Prix racing, when Peter Gethin beat Ronnie Peterson to the flag by the narrowest of margins.
By the time Team Lotus were back at Monza for the 1972 Grand Prix, Fittipaldi had already scored four Grand Prix victories over the course of the season driving the legendary Type 72, which was now resplendent in the new black and gold livery that, 50 years on, is still regarded as probably the most recognisable livery in Formula 1. On 10 September 1972 Fittipaldi took chassis 72/5 – the third car in action this weekend – to another win securing that season’s Drivers’ and Constructors’ titles for himself and Team Lotus.
The fourth car, Lotus Type 72 chassis 7, was driven by Fittipaldi to a total of five Grand Prix wins, including a memorable win at his home Grand Prix in Brazil in 1973.
Over the course of the weekend these four cars will be driven round Monza circuit by F1 legends Johnny Herbert, Karun Chandhok, Martin Brundle, Damon Hill and Emerson Fittipaldi himself.
Sky TV will be covering the three days running which should provide some dramatic and memorable entertainment for viewers worldwide.