Hunt–Lauda contest to be made into F1 film

James Hunt

Academy Award winning movie director Ron Howard is in the early stages of bringing Formula One to film. This won’t be a documentary in the style of Senna, rather a big budget production with all the Hollywood trimmings. The movie will centre around the 1976 Formula One season.

That year saw an epic battle between loveable larrikin James Hunt and austere Austrian Niki Lauda. It was the year Lauda had his horrific crash at the Nürburgring Nordschleife and signalled the end of F1 races at the ‘Green Hell’.

Prior to the crash Lauda had already notched up five wins for the year and was fast heading towards his second world championship. Despite missing just two races as a result of his injuries the courageous Lauda would not win another race for the year.

In the latter stages of 1976, including the German Grand Prix, Hunt won four races of his own, giving him six victories in all for the year. It was enough to give the Briton his only world title by the narrowest margin possible, just one point.

Niki Lauda

Howard has given a brief interview with where he admits he doesn’t have a great knowledge of F1, but doesn’t expect that will hinder his role as director.

“I was at Silverstone last month for my first field study and I am planning to visit some more races over the course of this season. I really enjoy it, even if I have to work hard to boost my knowledge of Formula One. But then I had no idea about astronautics before making Apollo 13. And had only rudimentary knowledge about mathematics before shooting A Beautiful Mind,” he said.

“Formula One racing has made a huge leap forward since 1976 and in some ways you have to acknowledge this fact. From all I have been told it seems to me that the protagonists of the past were adventurers with a kind of carefree innocence. Today Formula One is a mega business.”