One-time Grand Prix winner Jochen Mass is turning 65 years old today!
Mass’ unusual claim to fame is that he remains the only F1 driver whose sole race win earned half-points, after winning the red-flagged Spanish Grand Prix in 1975 when Rolf Stommelen’s Hill crashed and killed four spectators.
The German started his motorsport career in sprints and hillclimbs, but shot to prominence due to his exploits in touring cars and Formula 2 in the early 1970s.
He F1 debut came at the 1973 British Grand Prix driving for Surtees, and in 1974 he switched to the Yardley-backed McLaren M23 that had previously been piloted by Mike Hailwood and David Hobbs.
Paired with Emerson Fittipaldi in the Marlboro-backed McLaren in 1975, he was joined by James Hunt in 1976 and despite a pair of podiums each in 1976 and 1977, he couldn’t match Hunt’s speed behind the wheel as the Briton took the championship title.
A switch to ATS in 1978 proved wretched, and culminated in a leg-breaking smash at Silverstone during testing. He joined Arrows in 1979, but achieved a total of seven points in two seasons.
Formula 1 left him behind in 1981, but he returned the following year to pilot the awful RAM March, and was wrongly blamed for the practice collision at Zolder with Gilles Villeneuve that took the French-Canadian’s life, and which deeply affected Mass for years afterwards.
Mass went on to enjoy plenty of success in the world of sports car racing, peaking with a much sought after win at the 1989 24 Hours of Le Mans in a Sauber Mercedes.