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What caused the Jochen Rindt crash at Monza in 1970


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#1 Marcel GP

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Posted 07 October 2000 - 10:39

All information I have is that a brake shaft failed and the car suddenly veered to the left (at Parabolica) smashing into a barrier, bouncing off it and spinning a couple of times.



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#2 Hans Etzrodt

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Posted 07 October 2000 - 13:08

Exactly! During Saturdays practice, while braking from top speed for the right-hand Parabolica, Rindt's Lotus 72 crashed into the outside Armco barriers to the left of the track. As for the cause of Rindt loosing control, the Italian court investigating the crash decided that the right front brakeshaft broke apart under the torsional load and therefore the car pulled to the left under heavy braking.
As for Rindt being killed, the Armco came apart on impact and the post ripped the front tub apart.

#3 Joe Fan

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Posted 07 October 2000 - 14:44

I could be confused but I thought I had read an article last year in Motorsport magazine or F1 Racing magazine where John Miles said he thought Rindt's crash was due to the team sending him out without a wing.

#4 Hans Etzrodt

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Posted 07 October 2000 - 17:26

Right! Jochen Rindt tried the car without wings and the brakes had been adjusted accordingly. So the driver could account for the difference since he already had gone on this lap through the double Lesmo and Ascari corners without problems. Driving cars without wings was nothing new to Rindt.

#5 fines

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Posted 07 October 2000 - 17:58

I think it's fair to say that the poor Armco mounting killed Jochen, rather than the brakeshaft. I also seem to remember someone seriously doubting that brake related explanation, in a magazine I think. Will have to look that one up, although as of yet I don't even know where to start searching. It seems though Italian investigations have been superficial before 1994 already...

#6 Keith Steele

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Posted 07 October 2000 - 19:16

From Alan Henry's Autocourse profile Jochen Rindt:

"On Saturday 5 September 1970 Jochen Rindt went out to practice in his Lotus 72 at Monza in preparation for the Italian Grand Prix. At Chapman's insistence, he was running without nose wings or aerofoil in an attempt to squeeze out of it as much straightline speed as possible to counter the more powerful flat-12 Ferraris. Rindt's team-mate John Miles was told to do the same, but was adamant that the car felt horrifyingly unstable in this configuration.
Braking hard for Parabolica, Rindt had just overtaken Denny Hulme's McLaren when his 72 began weaving under braking and speared off to the left, impacting very heavily against the inadequately secured guard rail. The front of the car was torn off as the Lotus's chisel nose jammed under the barrier and Jochen, who never secured the crotch straps on his six point harness, was plunged into the cockpit, severing his jugular vein on it's main buckle."

"A lengthy investigation eventually attributed Jochen's loss of control to the fracturing of one of front brakeshafts, although instability on cold tyres was also a significant factor."

#7 Ray Bell

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Posted 08 October 2000 - 10:35

Severing the jugular? That's a long way down in the cockpit!
This all seems to put paid to the idea that his foor was cut off by the brake shaft...

#8 Eric McLoughlin

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Posted 08 October 2000 - 15:39

I've seen some - not very nice - photographs of the aftermath of this accident, before Jochen was removed from the wreckage. He is virtually invisible apart from both his legs which are protruding from the front of the car, most of which had been ripped away in the accident. He obviously slid right down into the tub.

#9 Ray Bell

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Posted 08 October 2000 - 20:42

And, if I recall another thread correctly, lay there for ages bleeding to death while officials argued?

#10 jmcgavin

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Posted 09 October 2000 - 14:00

Louis Stanley goes into some details about this, apparently the Italian authorities took him straight past the new mobile hospital which had just been introduced for 'political' reasons, its unlightly he could have been saved but could have died less painfully, instead he died in the back of the ambulance on the way to hospital.

Further to the John Miles situation, he'd tried driving the car once the wings were removed the day before the accident, and described in as one of the few times he'd been physically scared driving a car such was its lack of stability


#11 Ray Bell

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Posted 09 October 2000 - 14:18

Which thread recently included something about him lying unattended on the side of the track?

#12 Maldwyn

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Posted 10 October 2000 - 12:46

Originally posted by Eric McLoughlin
He obviously slid right down into the tub.

I have read that this was because Jochen Rindt only wore shoulder straps and not the full 8 point (?) straps as were becoming common at the time.

#13 Ray Bell

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Posted 10 October 2000 - 12:50

And that's what Keith said... he didn't ever do up his crutch straps. They were six-point harnesses those days.

#14 Maldwyn

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Posted 10 October 2000 - 12:53

Sorry all...missed that. I'll go back to sleep!!

#15 RedFever

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Posted 13 October 2000 - 20:05

I wonder how Chapman felt after the crash, having insisted to send out his drivers with an unstable setup.....The other driver's refusal to continue drive the car without wings should be telling in terms of how safe it was to do so. And as was normally the case with super light Lotuses, the front just popped open.....not unlike Ronnie's Lotus in Monza a few years later

#16 AyePirate

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Posted 28 October 2000 - 20:08

I ran across a link to a windows media player clip
of the crash if anyone is interested.

You don't see where the crash originates, just
the noseless Lotus spinning off in a cloud of dust.

http://www.f-1.ru/video/index_e.html

follow the "archive" link.

#17 Timm

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Posted 28 October 2000 - 22:02

It's a shame Colin Chapman never lived long enough to go to jail in the DeLorean trial. He certainly deserved it for his dreadfully dangerous cars.

The actual cause of the brake failure was that the Lotus used inboard brakes which were linked to the wheels via. hollow shafts. The shafts were hollowed out by drilling into each end, where theoretically the drillings meet in the middle and everything is hunky dorey. Unfortunately, with Jochen Rindts car, the drillings did not meet up and a slight 'lip' was left and this is where the shaft failed. The effect of the lip is like the notch cut out of packages to make them easier to tear.

As for the cars designer Maurice Phillipe, I thought he died of a heart attack, but I've been told recently it was suicide. Any info?

#18 Felix Muelas

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Posted 28 October 2000 - 22:31

Timm

Your comments on Chapman seem to me to be way out of line. Although by nature I tend to respect some other people´s opinions, I have been tempted in this occassion to let my latin character take over and only because I am re-reading Don Quijote I have overcome the temptation.

Surely you have a good reason to believe what you say, i.e. that Colin Chapman should have been severely punished for building "dreadfully dangerous cars". Do you think that the same, in an ideal world, should have applied to other constructors?

Please elaborate, as we might be in the presence of a totally new line of thinking here, and I am very curious to see how do you come to that surprising conclussion.

Yours,

Felix Muelas


#19 Timm

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Posted 28 October 2000 - 22:50

I agree that my opinion may seem a little harsh to some, but as someone who only started following F1 in the mid-80's, carbon & crash-testing era and as a practising aerospace engineer myself, I think I have a point.

In the design and construction of his cars, Chapman apparently had poor consideration for those whose lives depended on their build quality (Lotus drivers, other drivers, marshalls & spectators). The scandalous aspect of this was that Chapman was not ignorant of the marginal designs he sanctioned. In a recent MotorSport magazine article focussing on Rindts death, I was outraged to learn that Chapman had ignored his engineers and instructed them to use bolts that were too small. This goes beyond carelessness and enters downright negligence. Chapman was right to argue that a small bolt correctly loaded would carry an enormous weight. Could he guarantee that bolt would be loaded correctly? Could he hell! I've read quite a bit on racing history and I have serious doubts about Mr. Chapman. Similarly, I have nothing but the utmost respect for John Miles who, in my book, is in the same league as Rudi Uhlenhaut as an engineer whose abilities as a driver were commendable.



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#20 Barry Boor

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Posted 29 October 2000 - 18:51

Perhaps some of these comments are a touch hard on Chunky. He was an amazingly innovative engineer, who, no doubt would be frustrated to the point of insanity by modern technical restrictions on F1 car designers.
There is no doubt that he was somewhat cavalier in his attitude to the strength of his cars, especially in the early days. The theory that a Lotus should cross the line first - and then fall to pieces was a tad close to the mark on occasions.
However, if you study photographs of the 1970 Italian Grand Prix you will see many cars running with front and/or rear wings removed. Without checking, I couldn't be sure, but something tells me even Jackie Stewart did it. This was emphatically NOT the cause of Jochen's crash, nor indeed a contributory factor. He crashed because the brake shaft broke and he died because he would not do up the crutch straps. A sad but simple truth.

#21 Felix Muelas

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Posted 29 October 2000 - 21:08

Timm

I see your point a little bit clearer now.
I will, if you don´t mind, suggest that some further documentation on the subject would harm nobody.
I have also read in the last couple of months some stories in magazines (not only MotorSport, that you should handle with extreme care these days, but some others too) approaching the subject of the death of Rindt in a manner that suggests that the John Miles version -quite theatrical but very usefull for selling purposes, in my humble opinion-is the one that explains the full truth.
Of course the subject, if seen from that point of view, has the ability to make one think the worst about Chapman. But being a little sceptical about "history revisited" I think that Barry´s explanation is probably the most accurate one.

Felix Muelas


#22 rainern

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Posted 29 October 2000 - 21:30

Just an answer to Timm on Maurice Philippe.
The answer is yes, he committed suicide.
I think I remember from somewhere that he hanged himself.

But as I terribly remembered wrong on Ogawa, maybe there is someone out there with a better memory than mine...

Rainer

#23 fines

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Posted 29 October 2000 - 22:30

Not me this time! :lol:

#24 Bernd

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Posted 29 October 2000 - 23:03

As far as I was aware it was a broken driveshaft that killed Jochen. It sheared just as he was approached the braking point for the Parabolica and speared him off straight into the newly installed armco which was not securely fastened causing Rindt fatal injuries.

The 72 was a typical Lotus in that it was very prone to failure a fact that Jochen was very aware and wary of, he did not trust the car or Chapmans reassurances of it. If he had not passed away in 1970 he would have either left Lotus or retired.

#25 Jaxs

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Posted 31 October 2000 - 21:32

The large number of race winning cars against the number of accidents under lines the out standing ability of Colin Chapman to compete at the highest level. I have heard numerous tales of his private life escapades, from the story behind his death, the De Lorean money fiasco, his on-off-on of the developement of the De Lorean but the guy had an outstanding talent. The exact details of the accident, which bears a marked similarity to Sennas death, are confused and with out access to the detailed reports subject to conjecture. Jochen Rindt's death was a great loss to the sport, having seen him racing a numerous circuits, out driving Stewart at Silverstone, he could and would have excelled within the sport but to voice strong and harsh opinions without hard evidence as to the exact cause appears to be a pointless exercise.

#26 Bernd

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Posted 01 November 2000 - 01:54

Oops I was wrong it was the front right torsion shaft supporting the inline brake disc that shattered DURING braking for Parabolica.

"When the right front shaft cracked at Jochen Rindts Lotus Ford 72 while braking for the Parabolica curve, the reason was not the shaft being hollow for reducing weight of the complete package. A steel company Lotus bought the shaft from had made a mistake during their service, a scratch on the surface of the axle was the beginning of the break at high speed. The second mistake happened at the quality check not detecting the defect."

The above is the actual reason for the accident.

#27 Jaxs

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Posted 01 November 2000 - 08:12

Thank you, Bernd, should 'in line' read 'in board'

regards

#28 Bernd

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Posted 01 November 2000 - 08:31

Yes of course oops :)

#29 Barry Lake

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Posted 01 November 2000 - 12:34

Bernd, can you tell us whose quote that is, please?

There are other relevant points here. While it was the broken shaft that caused the crash, it was the faulty mounting of the armco guard rail that turned it into a really serious crash.

And then it was Rindt's refusal to wear the crotch straps of his harness that magnified the injuries received and ultimately caused his death.

So quite a few people contributed - shaft manufacturer, quality control, the people who erected the fence, the FIA safety inspectors who didn't pick up the problem, and Rindt himself.
Plus, perhaps, Chapman for insisting on having inboard front brakes in the first place.

Had someone fixed any one of those problems, Rind might be here today.

#30 Jaxs

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Posted 01 November 2000 - 14:08

The plot thickens, the drive shaft was manufactured by a company called Edmonton Engineering Co, in Edmonton, North London not Canada, the design had a stepped section along the shaft and the corners at each end of the reduction were not radiused. This is normal practice in engineering to maintain strength and especially where the shaft is subjected to torsional stress. Apparently the guy who machined the shaft was unaware that it was a 'finished' product and had fully expected additional machining before being dispatched. My source was unable to confirm or deny if the machining was to an original drawing or a copy.
Was it a draughtsman mistake, was it a design error, was it a poor copy, had someone given the wrong instructions??
Too many questions without answers.
My source specialises in Lotus racing cars and is sending me his new URL, which I will pass on to you guys.

#31 Bernd

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Posted 01 November 2000 - 22:15

As far as I know that quote was from the actual inquest held to find out the actual mechanical cause of the crash. The inquest was instigated by Chapman himself as was the case in 68 with Clarks accident.

That is just the initial cause it is highly likely that if

A: The Armco was properly secured
B: Rindt properly secured his harness

He would still be around today.

#32 Leif Snellman

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Posted 02 November 2000 - 00:12

I just wonder, if cars with inboard front brakes had an huge unsprung weight advantage, why did they stop using them? Can someone give a technical explanation?

I know that Ronnie Peterson was really furious after the 1971 Race of Champions as he got a brake shaft failure on his March 711 (he was entered for that race by Frank Williams/Motul) That was only about half a year after Rindt.


#33 Wolf

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Posted 02 November 2000 - 00:24

I'm no expert- but having rear inboard brakes, because you already have driveshafts and put brakes on gearbox, as it was done earlier, seems to have more sense. I remember Ferrarri had them- anyone else? The Citroen 2CV had, for the same reason, had front inboard brakes (because of their nifty, but overweight shock absorbers). I'd appreciate info on pioneers of both front and read inboard brakes.

#34 Jaxs

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Posted 02 November 2000 - 07:48

Drive shaft, CV joint, larger hub,additional bearing for disc mounting,caliper mounting,additional stress on the footwell area.
The saving on unsprung weight was added to the car gross weight and becoming a heavier unit.Cooling problems on the disc, pad wear rate, additional costs for all of the above.

#35 jmcgavin

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Posted 02 November 2000 - 09:46

Certainly the general impression i've always perceived is that despite all the armco/drive shaft issues if Rindt had been wearing crutch straps then he would have survived

That fact that he wasn't led to his fatal injuries as he was thrown forward into the tub. If he had been wearing them then presumably he would have survived at best unscathed or worst with leg injuries because although the front of the tub was destroyed the cockpit area still remained intact.

#36 Roger Clark

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Posted 02 November 2000 - 23:21

THe first to use in board brakes front and rear on a GP car were Daimler-Benz in most versions of the W196. Lancia had used them on a sport car a year or two earlier. THe Ferguson P99 also had them.

In board brakes at the rear were used on and off by several teams during the 50s and 60s, notably Ferrari and early lotus cars. They were almost universal during the 70s, until the advent of ground effects. They then got in the way of the air, and the absence of springs meant that unsprung weight wasn't a problem. Nowadays, with carbon fibre brakes, theere is even less reason.

#37 Bernd

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Posted 02 November 2000 - 23:31

At least there was a positive side to this sorry saga and things were actually learned from it. Rindts death along with Ceverts were the final straw for Jackie Stewart who really went all out to improve the safety of motor racing. Because of his efforts we have seen the mortality rate of F1 plummet to levels were it is quite unlikely that a driver will ever be seriously injured let alone killed in a Formula 1 car.

#38 Hans Etzrodt

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Posted 02 November 2000 - 23:49

Originally posted by Bernd
...it is quite unlikely that a driver will ever be seriously injured let alone killed in a Formula 1 car...

Don't bet on it.

#39 Bernd

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Posted 02 November 2000 - 23:57

Oh of course the possibility still exists and always will at the speeds which they move. I am just saying that a drivers mentality these days seems to be that a shunt is no big deal and they just have to trot back and grab the T-Car While back in the 70's or especially earlier a shunt would most likely result in death or at least serious injury. Think back to Villeneuve and Zonta, Spa 99 They had a bet too see who could take Eau Rouge flat and both stayed committed and had mammoth shunts. JV's comment 'Damn his one was more impressive then mine'. Before the safety revolution they would have both been dead and very stupid dead men at that.

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#40 Ray Bell

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Posted 03 November 2000 - 17:28

A small point... I don't think the 72 suffered too much with brake cooling, and it was probably easier overall to cool inboard brakes.
Where there are already driveshafts in place, of course, inboard brakes are a natural path to follow - providing there's room.