Harald Ertl Harald Ertl, 1976 German GP  

Full Name: Harald Ertl
Nationality: Austrian
Born: 31 August 1948, Zell am See (AUT)
Died: 7 April 1982, Giessen, (DEU)

First GP: 1975 German Grand Prix
Last GP: 1978 Austrian Grand Prix

Entries: 28 Grands Prix: 19 Non-starts: 9
Wins: 0 Best Finish: 7th Best Grid: 17th
Fastest Laps: 0 Points: 0 Retirements: 10

1975 Formula 1, Warsteiner Brewery Hesketh Ford 308, 3 races, 0 points, Not Classified
1976 Formula 1, Hesketh Cosworth 308D, 15 entries, 3 DNQ, 11 races, 0 points, Not Classified
1977 Formula 1, Hesketh Cosworth 308E, 5 entries, 1 DNQ, 4 races, 0 points, Not Classified
1978 Formula 1, Sachs Ensign Cosworth N177 / ATS Cosworth HS1, 4 entries, 2 DNQ, Not Classified
  Deutsche Rennsport Meisterschaft, Schnitzer Motorsport BMW 32i Turbo, 1st overall
1980 Formula 1, ATS Cosworth D4. 1 entry, 1 DNQ, Not Classified

Harald Ertl

Austrian-born Ertl was a man who combined two of his passions in one environment. An accomplished motorsport journalist, Ertl started out racing in Formula Vee, Super Vee and Formula 3 in Germany in the early 1970s.

He later moved into touring cars, with his greatest success being victory in the 1973 Tourist Trophy in a BMW with Derek Bell.

With backing from the Warsteiner brewery group, Ertl made his F1 debut in a gold-livered Hesketh 308 at the 1975 German Grand Prix, making two more appearances that year.

He drove for the team full-time in 1976, but it was a year of few highlights. He narrowly missed out on a points’ finish at the British Grand Prix, but he earned plaudits at the very next race in Germany, where he was one of four fellow drivers who battled the horrific blaze that engulfed Niki Lauda’s stricken Ferrari when it crashed.

He had a few more outings for Hesketh in 1977, and returned with a handful of drives in an Ensign in 1978 with backing from Sachs – he would sadly lose out on a points’ finish when his engine failed in Germany.

A charming and popular figure in the paddock who was famous for his incredible handlebar moustache, Harald was tragically killed at the age of just 33. Travelling in a light airplane being flown by his brother-in-law to the family’s holiday home in the north of Germany, the plane crashed following an engine failure. Ertl and his brother-in-law would succumb in the crash, while his wife, Vera, and son, Sebastian, survived with injuries.

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