Teddy Mayer, with a white shirt, and James Hunt in the pits of Fuji. Photo: McLaren F1
The World Championship of 1976 came to its denouement on a rainy October 24, in the circuit of Fuji, the first time that Japan had hosted a Formula 1 Grand Prix. Niki Lauda had a three-point difference on James Hunt, after which the british McLaren would have wiped them at a great disadvantage, thanks in part to the forced absence of the austrian Ferrari in two races after his horrific accident at the Nürburgring.
After long deliberations, with the track still flooded in many sections, it was decided to take the exit, something many pilots did not agree. Hunt and Lauda came in second and third position, behind the Lotus of Mario Andretti. The british took the lead and, after only two laps, Lauda -with the memories of the Nürburgring and the scars still fresh – abandoned, like hiceron shortly after Emerson Fittipaldi and Carlos Pace. “My life is worth more than a title”, would declare later. With the Ferrari driver already heading back to the airport, Hunt, whom he had only a fourth place, is directed towards a seemingly easy victory.
But in the dry the track, was overtaken by Andretti and the Tyrrell of Depailler, and later a puncture forced him to go through boxes. The stop was slow and Hunt returned to the track in fifth place. Two laps from the end, managed to overtake Jones and Regazzoni -without knowing if he won or positions was doblándoles – and crossed the finish line third, but ignorant of your position. In fact, got out of his McLaren in a huff convinced of having lost the title. He was the team manager, Teddy Mayer, the manager to reassure and convince him that it was the new World Champion.
Four decades later, McLaren has recovered an animated video originally published in 2013 as part of the celebrations of the 50th anniversary of the team, but that now includes new scenes in which they appear with their current drivers, Fernando Alonso, Jenson Button and Stoffel Vandoorne.