The winner of the 1972 and 1974 titles, Fittipaldi is also a two-time Indy 500 winner and the 1989 IndyCar champion. Now aged 63, he won on his debut F1 season in 1970 with Lotus, and became F1’s then-youngest ever champion at the age of 25.
He switched to McLaren in 1974 and won the title again, but then made the disastrous switch to his brother Wilson’s Copersucar team and effectively ruined his career. He would retire from F1 at the end of the 1980 season, and moved on to jointly managing the team with his brother until the team folded in late 1982.
He switched to the American-based IndyCar / CART scene in 1984, and took the 1989 title at the age of 43! He won his second Indy 500 aged 47 and finally was forced into retirement at the age of 50 when he had a colossal accident from which he was lucky to survive.
Thereafter, he moved into team management, running a ChampCar team until 2003 and also being the seat-holder for the A1GP Brazil franchise.
His nephew – Wilson’s son – Christian competed in F1 between 1992 and 1994 with the likes of Minardi and Footwork.
Fittipaldi joins an esteemed list of former drivers to have assisted the FIA stewards in a new scheme brought in by FIA President Jean Todt to provide greater consistency in assessing on-track incidents. The likes of Alain Prost, Tom Kristensen, Johnny Herbert, Alex Wurz, Derek Warwick and Damon Hill have previously fulfilled the role in earlier rounds of the 2010 season.
[Original images via The Cahier Archive]
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