‘Monza is famous for being a very very fast course’ said Jochen Rindt in that Austrian twang during his last interview before fatally crashing into the guardrails at the vicious parabolica turn. He was practising for the 1970 Italian Grand Prix which he planned to win and still managed to do so – his opponent Jacky Ickx did not score enough points to surpass Rindt, making Rindt the only posthumus world champion in Formula 1 archives.
He knew that driving the revolutionarily fast but controversial Lotus 72 the way he did was risky business. He knew that his colleagues around him were dropping like flies from deadly crashes. He knew that his wife and young daughter were eagerly waiting for him at the finish lines. But he also knew that winning was his only option.
Racing transcended the driver’s seat for Rindt. He launched an exhibition of race cars in Vienna and hosted a monthly motorsport TV show called Motorama. His wife, famous supermodel Nina Rindt, was also dedicated to the sport as they were the power-couple of their time. Always sitting trackside dressed to the nines and timing his laps with an orange Omega stopwatch, she once said in an interview that she never failed to pack a black dress in her suitcase at a Grand Prix since funerals were often a part of the sport. After he died and was declared World Champion, she accepted the award on his behalf with his greatest friend and competitor Jackie Stewart presenting the trophy.
The German-born but Austrian-raised, adrenaline junky, TV personality, arm candy to a fashion-icon, outspoken scrawny ginger with a crooked nose and modest smile, would have turned 80 years old in April this year. Being one of the pioneers to bring Germany and Austria into the Formula 1 frenzy of the late 60’s and onwards, the IMAGO archive reveal the many sides to Rindt, on and off the track.