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Emerson - the overlooked Brazilian hero?


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#1 BRG

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Posted 13 August 2001 - 17:32

On this BB, there is often great enthusiasm for many fine drivers, but it is rare that Emerson Fittipaldi is mentioned. No-one ever seems to want to argue that he should be counted amongst the all-time greats, yet his early career achievements were pretty exceptional.

The Brazilian F.Vee championship in 1967, Emerson raced in the UK in 1969 in FF1600 (Merlyn) and in the British F3 championship which he won for Lotus. In 1970 he raced in F2 for Lotus before being drafted into the Lotus F1 squad with Rindt and Miles, debuting in a 49 at the British GP. At the next round, Germany, he finished 4th scoring points in only his second race. Then no points in Austria, before the tragic Italian GP where Lotus withdrew after Rindt's fatal crash. After not entering in Canada, the team arrived at the US GP with Emerson now promoted to partner Reine Wissell in the 72. On only his fourth GP start, the 23 year old Emerson won a famous and emotional victory.

He went on the win two WDCs, for Lotus in 1972 and for McLaren in 1974, competing against an acknowledged great driver, Jackie Stewart. His record of 14 wins from 144 races looks much more impressive if we remove the 77 starts over 5 seasons in the medicore Fittipaldi (ie 14 wins from 67 starts). But perhaps those 5 years are why he is rarely mentioned in the same breath as the great drivers. Yet after a couple of wilderness years, he returned in CART, winning a championship and the Indy 500 in 1989.

This was the man who made the breakthrough and started the Brazilian legend. So why is he so often overlooked when we talk about the best GP drivers?

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#2 Don Capps

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Posted 13 August 2001 - 17:56

Personally, I am not sure that I have an explanation for this rather interesting question. On a personal level, I truly like and think highly of Emerson Fittipaldi. His early performances were just amazing. I was relieved when his brushes with death were simply that: brushes.

I think that you may have a point about his years in the wilderness having a disproportionate impact on how he is preceived. I imagine Senna or M. Schumacher or Hakkinnen or whoever would be looked at differently had they spent their last years in a Minardi....

You are correct that he seemed to be the person that opened the floodgates for the Brazilians to enter major league racing by the bushel...

#3 Stefan Ornerdal

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Posted 13 August 2001 - 18:58

What did he do those years in the wilderness, after the Copersucar "fiasco" and before entering CART?

Of course, he opened the gate for Brazilians, but there were some good drivers from Brazil earlier, Chico Landi, da Silva Ramos, Christian 'Bino' Heinz etc.

In swedish, Fittipaldi sounds like a very dirty word... and it would be better to change it slightly, to Pittifaldi, to be sure he is a man, not a girl:p. Maybe I stepped over a line here, in this respected forum:blush:

Stefan

#4 Vitesse2

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Posted 13 August 2001 - 19:17

Looking back in (say) twenty years time, I suspect that similar sentiments might be expressed about Jacques Villeneuve. Like Fittipaldi, a driver for whom I have always had a deep respect BTW, Jacques has nailed his colours to the mast, only to find the ship holed at the waterline: Villeneuve at BAR, Fittipaldi at Copersucar. Presumably Emerson's motivation was loyalty to his brother and sponsors: unfortunately it turned out to be misplaced.

And in answer to Stefan's question: Emerson did actually officially retire from driving at the end of 1980 and took on a management role at the racing team. When the team folded in 1982 he returned to Brazil and concentrated on the family businesses, running in occasional kart races for fun. He was tempted back to racing with an IMSA drive at Miami in 1983 and enjoyed it so much that he took up an offer of a drive in CART at Long Beach, finishing 5th. Then opportunity knocked when Chip Ganassi was severely injured in an accident and Emerson took his place at Patrick Racing: the rest, as they say, is history ...

#5 leegle

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Posted 14 August 2001 - 01:51

Someone must have noticed something because I have read somewhere that James Hunt won his first world title in a car set up by Emerson Fittipaldi. :)

#6 BRG

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Posted 14 August 2001 - 17:00

Originally posted by Stefan Ornerdal
In swedish, Fittipaldi sounds like a very dirty word...

Stefan, now we are all agog! Without crossing the bounds of decency, can you enlarge a littel on that for us non-Swedish speakers? ;)

I agree that Emerson was not the first good Brazilian driver, but he did establish the myth of the brilliant Brazilians - I say myth, because for every Emerson, Nelson or Ayrton, there were half a dozen Serras, Gugelmins or Rossets. Becuase of Emerson, the top British Formula Ford constructors were entranced for decades by the prospect of getting hold of the next big Brazilian star. As a result, a procession of great, good and not so good Brazilians got a fast track to F1, the legacy of which we see to this day. Don't misunderstand me, I do not begrudge any of them the chances that they got - in this sport, you have to grab any opportunity that you can.

Vitesse2, you raise an interesting comparison with Jacques Villeneuve. One can only hope that either BAR come good or that JV bails out before his F1 career goes the same way as Emerson's. Of course, he has already had his CART career!

#7 Stefan Ornerdal

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Posted 14 August 2001 - 17:31

Stefan, now we are all agog! Without crossing the bounds of decency, can you enlarge a littel on that for us non-Swedish speakers?



No, it is not possible. There are ladys around here:D

Stefan

#8 Rainer Nyberg

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Posted 14 August 2001 - 19:33

BRG, It is not that bad really, only if you have dirty mind it reminds of a pussycat...

#9 Felix Muelas

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Posted 14 August 2001 - 20:01

Originally posted by Stefan Ornerdal
... and it would be better to change it slightly, to Pittifaldi, ...


Stefan ! DON´T :lol: :lol: :lol:

Pittifaldi...well that sounds really bad in Spanish !

BTW, you might be interested to know that, for unknown reasons, in Spain we ended up adopting the expression "to be a Fittipaldi" (and not Nuvolari, Clark or any other well-known driver) to describe the attitude of a real daredevil on wheels :eek:

You can find that curious word in movies, songs etc, and obviously one can find it in some Spanish Dictionaries...

Just to let you know.

Un abrazo

Felix
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#10 Schummy

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Posted 15 August 2001 - 02:55

About Emerson I have mixed feelings. He was superb in his newcomer years: his pre-F1 curriculum is very good, his 70 season was historic as a rookie... He won in 72 for miles, but Stewart was hampered by poor results in race days (reliability?) and some health problems (if I remember well). A check in Forix shows that in grid positions Stewart won 6-5 to Emerson (Stewart DNS one race), that shows Tyrrell's pace was there, but the scoring was below expected for Jackie.

In 74 Stewart was retired, upcomings Scheckter and Lauda, and Regazzoni were his greater opponents. Resting two GPs, Emerson was third (42) against Regazzoni (46) and Scheckter (45). All was decided in the last race, Regazzoni and Fittipaldi tied with 52 (Scheckter 45). Amazingly, all three were in a low grid position (JS 6th, CR 8th, EF 9th). Regazzoni and Scheckter had mechanical troubles, and "Fitti" ended 4th, winning the WDC.

Don't take me wrong, EF was a 74 worthy WDC, but it was closely fought season, with many winners. Neither Regazzoni or a half-season experienced Scheckter were great opposition and Lauda's time was yet to come. All that is statistic (with Forix help, of course) obviuosly. I was too young to remember well the "scene", the "feelings" in that year, and F1 coverage in Spain was not wonderful, so I can't say if Emmo was or not a "great".

As Felix said, in popular culture here in Spain people knows Fangio and Fittipaldi (and nowadays Senna and Schumacher), and Fitti is a sort of icon of speed everywhere here. A gentle, nice guy, with lots of curriculum, but I really don't know if he was one of the truly greats. Anyway I always liked him... :up:

#11 mat1

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Posted 16 August 2001 - 08:17

Don't forget he was second in 73 as well.

Fittipaldi was not a the quickest qualifier, but he was tactically strong, and I believe very good in preserving his cars, even if they were in trouble.

One of The Greats (like Stewart or Lauda)? Perhaps no, but surely the level immediately below, so to speak, like Hill, or Piquet.

mat

#12 lukywill

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Posted 16 August 2001 - 14:13

Originally posted by Felix Muelas


...
BTW, you might be interested to know that, for unknown reasons, in Spain we ended up adopting the expression "to be a Fittipaldi"
...
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:) ya also in portugal

#13 Chico Landi

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Posted 20 August 2001 - 10:45

It's just a pity that in Brazil people fight about Senna and Piquet (there's always much discussion about who's the best, and the fans from one of them hates the other) and nobody even remember good old Emerson.

There are several reasons for this lacking of recognition:
1) in the 70's, the F1 coverage was not 0,1% big as it is nowadays. There were no live broadcasting, just radio broadcasting. (Funny thing is that Emerson's father was a radio reporter, and he was the one who broadcasted his first WDC in Monza /2, in one of the greatest moments of brazilian radio). So all the fans could expect was some lines in the newspaper, and the real fans could fight for a few imported magazines, usually delivered two or three months later.

2) But the most important reason was his move to Copersucar-Fittipaldi. In sports (as in life), the brazilian culture accepts no more than the victory. If a real small soccer team struggles to the champioship final, beating all the greats, but turns to be runner up, people would forget what they`ve done before.
The same things applies when Emerson went to his brother's team. No one accepted that he gave up the chance of winning races and titles to develop a car that would always be at the end of the field. During his years in Fittipaldi, for the average brazilian, he throw away everything that he had achieve before.
Few people recognised in the 70's that building cars was something that the Fittipaldi brothers always did they whole life: karts, F-Vees, Prototypes, it was always self-made. If they have the money, how could someone expect that they won't try to make their own F-1.


The achievement of Emerson's whole career (2 WDCs, 2 Indy 500, 1 CART title) put him undoubtly among the greatests. Unfortunatly, his businessman skills proved to be not as good as his driving ones: he couldn't find the budget to organise the Brazilian CART GP this year and probably won't find it too for next year's race...

#14 oldtimer

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Posted 21 August 2001 - 18:48

His CART career was a strange mix of the brilliant and the ordinary. Hitting the wall at Indy in 1995(?) whilst trying to lap the entire field certainly did not remind me of the F1 driver who used to wait for his chances.

#15 ebe

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Posted 23 August 2001 - 10:53

Well, the reason, why EF is not mentioned as the big brazilian in THIS forum, is simply that A.Senna is overrated in THIS forum way too much.

There are a couple of Senna fans who talk quite often only about Senna and even those Schumacher / senna comparisons contribute to that Senna hype.

Senna had his carrer in a time when most people who are now in forums watched him and remember him.
EF's F1 career started more than 30 years ago, maybe a little too much time for persons in here to remember.
(BTW i think this is the reason also Stewart is not mentioned too often in here)

Aehm, aehm, I am old enough to remember the brazilian. I watched his early career, being a young child.
His 72 success was built on the Lotus car and his style of driving fitted the car. I remember him and Peterson in those black cars and Chapman throwing his hat on a couple of occasions. But I also remember that EF took profite of his non aggressive style of driving. He gained some positions occassionally when others had failures or made mistakes.
Stewart said EF had little difficulties in overtaking others. This changed later on (in 73 /74 i think).

Of course 74 was a fight between a couple of contenders and it was thought that Ferrari is going to make it, but in the end EF had the upper hand, once again with his (catious) tactics.

The move to Coppersugar sure ended his F1 career, always wondered why he did that, but it must have been emotions only.

#16 BRG

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Posted 23 August 2001 - 12:03

ebe

I agree with your comments about Senna's higher profile being partly because he was racing more recently. And I would not expect most RC posters to even know about Emerson.

But here in the more peaceful groves of the Nostalgia Forum, we usually take a far wider view of the sport. Yet even so, Emerson seems to be rarely remembered or given much credit for what was in fact an early career in F1 easily as spectacular and successful as Senna, Prost or Schumacher. To win a GP on only your 4th start is a very rare achievement.

I think we have explored some of the reasons for this. The Copersucar-Fittipaldi years do seem to have given Emerson's reputation a serious knock. If he had instead retired from F1 at that time, he might well be considered one of the all-time greats. It would certainly have left him with a record of success - 14 wins from 67 starts and 2 WDCs - that few could match.

#17 CSGPR

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Posted 23 August 2001 - 20:31

Hi all


I think I must come in here. Emerson Fittipaldi overlooked --- Yes in some points. It all started in 1973 when Ronnie Peterson joined the team Lotus. Ronnie was faster nearly all the time in qualifying. Yes that’s right. But we have to look at the whole picture. In the Austrian Grand Prix Ronnie was still regarded as second driver. And then Emerson came up behind him he had to let him by. But it’s here we have to take a clear look at the situation. When Ronnie let him by Emerson clearly pull away from Ronnie – in a few words He was clearly faster than his teammate.

In Monza 73 we have the same situation, but by now Ronnie status in the Lotus team had change, and Ronnie was not force to let Emerson through. The result is very clear even today. Emerson tailed him all the way to the finish. And Ronnie was never able to pull away from his teammate. In my mind it tells the story of 1973. Ronnie was quick indeed, but Emerson had more to offer in the championship. It may sound as I don’t liked Ronnie Perterson. It’s not so. I rate Ronnie Peterson very highly, in my mind he is one of the greatest ever. But in 1973 he was in the overshadowed by Emmo.

For the second part. We once more have to look at Monza this time in 1975, where he Fittipaldi out braked Niki Lauda at the end of the strait with clearly fewer house powers at his diposal than the Ferrari had to offer. And he would have done the same at Watkins Glen had Regazzoni not block his way in the process.

And one final status. In 1972 many said that Emerson Fittipaldi only won his Championship because Jackie Stewart was hit by Illness. That is clearly nonsense. In 1972 Emerson Fittipaldi and the Lotus 72D was the combination to beat. And Stewart one off due to his illness most certainly do not justified any speculation in the outcome of the championship of 1972. Only the hardest Stewart fan will claim so.

What happen 1976 – I can only say it was Emerson own decision. And what’s impress me the most then was. He stood by his dicition. Who else had?

Emerson Fittipaldi is most certainly on of the greatest ever. Bare in mind that he won the drivers Championship and the Constructor Championship I 1972 single-handed. Nobody else have ever done the same in the history of Grand Prix Racing. His performance in Cart racing in the 80's speaks for them self . One Cart title in 1989 and two time Indy 500 winner. Those who can overlook all this, will be able to overlook everything. And I can only say. So let them.

Best Regards


Christian Saedder
.

#18 fines

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Posted 23 August 2001 - 20:54

His performances in the underfinanced Copersucar/Fittipaldi were frequently embarrassing for Ferrari et al. And take a look at the Surfers Paradise GP of '93: 1st Mansell (WDC '92), 2nd Fittipaldi (WDC '72)! Not many stay competitive for more than 20 years...

#19 911

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Posted 24 August 2001 - 14:41

Emmo was one of my first F1 heros in the mid-70s. I had the fortunate plasure of getting to know him personally when I lived in Miami. Very nice person who ALWAYS took the time to have a chat with me whenever I saw him at his Hogo Boss store in Bal Harbour.

Emmo carved the F1 path for Piquet & Senna.

911

PS: I know F1 was a lot different in the very early 70s, but to win at his 4th GP attempt is impressive!

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#20 ebe

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Posted 28 August 2001 - 10:32

CSGPR

For the second part. We once more have to look at Monza this time in 1975, where he Fittipaldi out braked Niki Lauda at the end of the strait with clearly fewer house powers at his diposal than the Ferrari had to offer




please take into account that Lauda deliberately slowed down when leading the race. He let Fittiapldi pass and later he let Regazoni pass. All Lauda needed to have was a 3rd place to be WDC.
So he took it easy and slowed down to take any stress from the car. ... the italian crowd was not delighted with that action, but later when they had the title it was all ok ....

(this does not diminish EF's driving at all)

#21 prettyface

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Posted 30 August 2001 - 01:02

I think Emerson Fittipaldi is the only driver whose blood type I know! In every early 70's picture of him you can see "O-RH +" scribbled on his overalls. What's with this? Did other drivers of the era do this or was it the pragmatic, realistic (or not very optimistic) nature of Emmo?

As for "Fittipaldi" entering the spanish lingo: I read it on 80's editions of the very popular comic "Mortadelo y Filemón". You were a "Fittipaldi" if you drove fast. If you didn't mind the cost of the resulting speeding tickets, you were an "onassis".

#22 BRG

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Posted 30 August 2001 - 12:29

Back in the days before drivers became walking advertising hoardings, the only thing they usually had on their overalls was their blood group, plus maybe a very small "Dunlop" or "Firestone" badge. I imagine that the showing blood group was a CSI regulation (I think it still is on international rallies, where it is shown after the driver and co-drivers names on the side of the car). Emmo came in at the end of that era. I am not sure if drivers still dispaly the blood group - it is hard to find it amongst all the sponsorship stuff...

#23 David M. Kane

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Posted 30 August 2001 - 12:56

Too much Copersucar!

Emmo not only opened Europe up to Brazilians, but he opened up
CART to South Americans. His influence was tremendous on both
sides of the pond.

I was sitting in the grandstands opposite the finish line at
Watkins Glen attending my very first GP when he had his stunning
maiden GP win. In the JPS and McLaren his always in everyone's
top three on race day at the Glen. He was always highly respected by the Americans who made the annual trip in October
to the Glen.

Obviously, he and Wilson were very closely and he let blood, ego
emotion get the better of him.

I think we as normal human being underestimate the pressure and the headgames played by a Colin Chapman and a Teddy Mayer. Lets
remember that the main reason, if my memory, is correct was that
he was tired of working all weekend of setting his car up only
for Lotus at the last minute putting them on Ronnie's car and watching him go out and get pole! It drove him nuts.

I think also that he had too much success too early and this spoiled his patience a bit.

Like Mario Andretti I always admired that he was successful no
matter what he drove...F1, Sport Prototypes or Indy cars.

#24 LittleChris

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Posted 30 August 2001 - 14:26

Going back to blood groups on GP drivers overalls, there is no need these days since, due to Sid Watkins efforts, I believe that the blood groups of all drivers are known by the hospital acting as the primary care facility in an emergency.

#25 richie

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Posted 09 February 2013 - 22:07

Personally, I am not sure that I have an explanation for this rather interesting question. On a personal level, I truly like and think highly of Emerson Fittipaldi. His early performances were just amazing. I was relieved when his brushes with death were simply that: brushes.

I think that you may have a point about his years in the wilderness having a disproportionate impact on how he is preceived. I imagine Senna or M. Schumacher or Hakkinnen or whoever would be looked at differently had they spent their last years in a Minardi....

You are correct that he seemed to be the person that opened the floodgates for the Brazilians to enter major league racing by the bushel...



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Published with permission of John Wilson 'Wheels Wilson'- 1st published in Motor Sport

"Flicking through the latest Motor Sport and reaching the tribute to Emerson Fittipaldi, I nearly fell off the chair to see the photo of Emmo and me in dicing Merlyns at Snetterton in 1969 – how many lifetimes ago was that race!

I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised, because that was the day a major talent announced its arrival in Europe. The story of the race was recounted in Emerson’s biography, where he couldn’t remember who the other driver was.

Well, I remember, because it was me.

A couple of years earlier and unknown to my parents back in Australia, I had cashed in my return fare to go motor racing in England. I served an apprenticeship driving an E type Jaguar in the mod sports series, which was pretty exciting and very competitive with people like Pearce, Quick, Cowin, Schroeder and Lewis banging wheels, but Formula Ford arrived and the top drivers like Tim Schenken had leapt to stardom from the class.
If you were seriously ambitious in the late sixties, Formula Ford was the way to join the queue to a F1 berth, so gathering every penny I had, plus a few I hadn’t, I managed to fund myself into a Merlyn Mk11A.

The little Merlin was like a toy after the brutality of the E types, which in those days still had lots of rubber in their suspensions and didn’t necessarily go where they were pointed and I soon discovered that although the Formula Fords were supposed to have identical power plants, to make sure that every driver had the same chance, the reality was quite different.

There are not two engines ever built that put out exactly the same power and the factory drivers always get the best in any formula. A couple of extra horsepower in a featherweight chassis makes one big difference. Formula Ford specs mandated standard road car camshaft timing, strangely however, there were some very rorty sounds coming from some of the engines in the paddock and there were some cars that pulled relentlessly away from you on a clear straight. Very odd that.

Unlike the Jaguars, the FFs had so little power that the clue to driving one fast was simply not to lift off the accelerator unless you were going so fast that you were scrubbing off speed – the ‘screamer 1000cc F3s were even worse, if you lifted off, it took ages for the revs to build up again. Like every other class of racing, whoever could keep their foot down longest while keeping the car neat, went fastest. It was just more pronounced in Formula Ford. It was also infuriating, because none of the hot-shots
would give an inch, especially as the pack headed for the first couple of corners;
from memory, I got wiped out five meetings in a row on either the first or second corner of the first lap

However the major surprise on driving the car was the tyres. The regulations said road tyres were to be used and Firestone F100s were everyone’s choice. That sounded sensible, but there was an unintended consequence: until the tread was worn down to a virtual slick, the cars slid all over the place with no grip at all. Well-funded drivers had the treads skimmed off on a lathe, but we paupers just had to wear them down on the track.

.Anyway, after a couple of races, I arrived at Snetterton with a now nicely sorted Merlyn to find a young Brazilian in the entry. The word was that he’d been Brazilian Formula V champion and had a big rap. In practice, my car started jumping out of gear, so I steered with one hand and held it in gear with the other. At the end of the session, the Brazilian was on pole and I was alongside in P2.

I had no pit crew and couldn’t fix the gear problem, so that’s how I drove the race. Emerson out-dragged me to the first corner but I managed to shadow him down the straight, through the hairpin and caught him at the esses. The next corner was the very fast Corum curve and I slipped inside to take the lead.

Now, when you’re driving a racing car, time is relative, you may be going quickly, but not relative to your competitors, so you’ve got plenty of time to observe them at work.
As Emerson and I went through the corner, both on our limits, I watched his beautifully graceful technique; he stroked the car along, it was like silk He was piling on every horsepower the Rowland engine produced, yet in that magical way only the very top drivers have, kept the car beautifully balanced so the engine power was forcing the car forwards with the minimum lost to the forces that try and throw it off the road.
Far from fighting the steering wheel, his hands were caressing.

I still remember thinking in those milliseconds, “Whoever you are, you are very, very good.” My ageing eyes may be deceiving me, but I think the photo you published was at that very moment and you can actually see me looking across at Emmo, rather than where we were going.

In the end, Emerson won, I came second, still holding the gearstick and John Day who I think it was an ex- Lotus works driver came third.

Over the next two years in Formula Ford and Formula 3, I saw Emerson as his career rocketed. His car control was sublime, streets ahead of the next best and that included at least two future world champions.

Memories flood back: we were driving in F3 qualifying, Emerson was fastest. After the session, other drivers were asking their pit crews how he’d done it. The answer was he was going flat through a top gear corner and no-one else was. It was that silken car control again. Maximum power, maximum efficiency.

Most remarkable of all though, was that he was likeable and charming, a shy smile and friendly eyes. That may not sound a lot in normal life, but believe me, amongst the massive egos of an International Formula 3 grid, it was saintly.

I was almost right on that day in May 1969, Emerson Fittipaldi was a very, very good driver.

Except now, I would substitute the word ‘great’ for ‘good’".


#26 Gary C

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Posted 10 February 2013 - 10:31

I hadn't read that before, brilliant stuff.
When Michael Oliver first approached Emerson's office to film an interview for my Lotus 72 tv documentary / DVD, there was immediate agreement and certainly no mention of money, which would have scuppered the whole enterprise.
When we finally got to meet and film Emerson he was politeness personified, albeit after a day thrashing around Silverstone in a GP Masters car. (aside ; he set a new lap record for the car late that afternoon after he had already driven 50-odd laps.) He sat down with us, gave 45 minutes in front of the cameras and was memory perfect on everything Michael asked. My only regret was not being quick enough to whip out my copy of Michael's 72 book to get him to autograph it.
My hero.

Edited by Gary C, 10 February 2013 - 10:33.


#27 petestenning

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Posted 10 February 2013 - 17:18

Since i First saw Emerson at Snetterton for his 1st race in the UK and was very impressed , i have followed his career with interest .
A man who was a thinking driver rarely made mistakes and was always there at the end even that very wet Silverstone race where all and sundry went off he stayed on circuit .

#28 Marc Sproule

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Posted 11 February 2013 - 07:49

I didn't meet him until '84 when he came to the US to start his Indy car career. I always enjoyed his company and his great sense of humor.

Here are a couple of dozen pics of him from his appearances in North America.

Like all my other sets, there will be more of him added when time allows...

http://www.flickr.co...57632742804130/

There may be other pics of him that I overlooked in my other sets....

http://www.flickr.co...81980@N03/sets/

#29 Bloggsworth

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Posted 11 February 2013 - 10:17

I recall the first time I saw Fittipaldi; my friend Paul Rendle and I wandered round the outside of paddock just in time to see Emmo arrive, I turned to Paul and said "World Champion"; he was visibly quicker than anyone else.

#30 Andrew Kitson

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Posted 11 February 2013 - 10:17

Emerson only did 8 FF races in the UK & Europe, in his own Merlyn with Denny Rowland engine, from his European debut in April before moving up to F3 in July 1969. Here he is showing that brilliant car control at Snetterton in June '69. Emerson only raced at Snetterton three times, all in FF cars..winning all three. Local man Jim Russell noticed him, as did everyone else..and got him an F3 Lotus sponsored by his racing school.
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#31 Mohican

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Posted 11 February 2013 - 11:46

Surprised that nobody has mentioned Fittipladi testing the Spirit-Hart, painted pink, in early '84 - this was before he went off to CART but after he drove the IMSA March, if I remember correctly.

Concerning his standing in motor sport in period, just consider Barry Foley's "Catchpole" cartoon strip in Autosport - featuring Brazilian world champion racing driver "Everso Biggiballis".
Or that might have been Nick Brittan's column; one of the two.

#32 Spaceframe

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Posted 11 February 2013 - 14:43

Surprised that nobody has mentioned Fittipladi testing the Spirit-Hart, painted pink, in early '84 - this was before he went off to CART but after he drove the IMSA March, if I remember correctly.

Concerning his standing in motor sport in period, just consider Barry Foley's "Catchpole" cartoon strip in Autosport - featuring Brazilian world champion racing driver "Everso Biggiballis".
Or that might have been Nick Brittan's column; one of the two.

recall the Spirit-Hart, but it certainly wasn't painted pink - the pink car was the March Emerson drove on his first appearance at Indy 500, later in 1984.

Spirit also had an Italian youngster ready for that test in Rio - his name was Fulvio Ballabio or thereabouts, if my memory doesn't fail me - and he was sponsored by the Italian branch of Walt Disney, hence a livery sporting Goofy became the memory of Emerson's fianl outing in an F1 car. But at the time there had been rumours of Emerson joining the Alfa Romeo team - however, given the V8 Alfa's huge thirst, the 1984 car never lived up the occasion promises of the 1983 Alfa Romeo, so in hindsight it was a good thing, nothing came of the talks.

Emerson was my first and only idol in F1, so my judgement on his skills and achievements is somewhat biased, but to me he remains one of the all time greatest racing drivers. Maybe not among the all time Top 5, but if I was to manage an F1 dream team, he would get one of the seats - maybe with Brooks in the second car, as their silk-soft handlingg of the steering wheels appear remarkably similar to me, and so should result in a very strong team with a clear path of development of the cars.

#33 Mohican

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Posted 11 February 2013 - 16:52

[quote name='Spaceframe' date='Feb 11 2013, 15:43' post='6125606']
recall the Spirit-Hart, but it certainly wasn't painted pink - the pink car was the March Emerson drove on his first appearance at Indy 500, later in 1984.

Spirit also had an Italian youngster ready for that test in Rio - his name was Fulvio Ballabio or thereabouts, if my memory doesn't fail me - and he was sponsored by the Italian branch of Walt Disney, hence a livery sporting Goofy became the memory of Emerson's fianl outing in an F1 car. But at the time there had been rumours of Emerson joining the Alfa Romeo team - however, given the V8 Alfa's huge thirst, the 1984 car never lived up the occasion promises of the 1983 Alfa Romeo, so in hindsight it was a good thing, nothing came of the talks.

You are right & I stand corrected. The pink car was the Indy March (and the "Spirit of Miami" IMSA March ?), and the Spirit carried Goofy on its bodywork.

Had not heard the rumours about the '84 Alfa Romeo - that must have been the Benetton-sponsored version ? In which case he could have ended up in the Benetton F1 team. Interesting.


#34 Spaceframe

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Posted 13 February 2013 - 17:17

You are right & I stand corrected. The pink car was the Indy March (and the "Spirit of Miami" IMSA March ?), and the Spirit carried Goofy on its bodywork.

Had not heard the rumours about the '84 Alfa Romeo - that must have been the Benetton-sponsored version ? In which case he could have ended up in the Benetton F1 team. Interesting.

The Spirit of Miami March 84 was white with red and blue decorations.

I seem to recall that the rumours concerning Emerson and Alfa was published during the 1983 silly season - August or thereabouts, while Marlboro still sponsored the Alfas. Perhaps an attempt at persuading Marlboro not to concentrate exclusively on McLaren fo 1984, as Emerson always maintained good relations with Philip Morris during his Copersucar years.

#35 DogEarred

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Posted 13 February 2013 - 17:49

I recall the first time I saw Fittipaldi; my friend Paul Rendle and I wandered round the outside of paddock just in time to see Emmo arrive, I turned to Paul and said "World Champion"; he was visibly quicker than anyone else.


I recall thinking much the same thing at Brands Hatch in his first F3 race there. He 'only' came 2nd or 3rd if I remember but it was against serious opposition. I had the pleasure of seeing him drive the Lotus Turbine car at Brands & later his win at Indy too.
Yes, he did have a poor later stage to his F1 career, which does tend to 'go against you' in the non-cognescenti world.

#36 saudoso

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Posted 06 August 2013 - 12:32

'Rato' taking a 2010 lotus for a ride:

http://www.youtube.c...eature=youtu.be

#37 William Hunt

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Posted 06 August 2013 - 15:03

People shouldn't forget that their had been a couple of very succesful examples of drivers setting up their own team and making that team succesful: Brabham, McLaren and Eagle (they won a race). Of course there were also less succesful examples like Surtees. So when Emerson decided to join the team that his brother Wilson had created I understand he wanted to join it. A family team in F1, a Brazilian F1 team, I thought it was very understandable that he joined that challenge and after all: he was already a double world champion, he didn't have that much more to prove and this was a fresh challenge. A pitty it never worked out as they hoped but I always admired him for doing that.

Edited by William Hunt, 06 August 2013 - 15:04.