Think of F1 racing in the 1970s and you imagine bizarre-looking cars with fat rear wheels, daubed in the gaudy colours of their sponsors.
Unpredictable races, down-to the wire championship battles, and a different winner each weekend.
In 1974, that wasn’t far from the truth, and this excellent DVD captures the spirit of those heady days beautifully.
I’ve reviewed a few of these Brunswick Archive DVDs already (see below) and I’m pleased to say the ’74 edition continues the tradition of insightful commentary and high production values (horrible music notwithstanding).
As ever much of the footage is background and context, and there are some fascinating and hilarious moments. The Spanish race starter who took it upon himself to personally explain the race start procedure to every driver is a favourite.
The documentary crew that provided the original material might not have been able to cover the tracks with cameras, but they were all over the pits. The lenses zoom in on conversations between drivers, engineers and pit bosses, and capture all the interest they could – like five times champion Juan Manuel Fangio starting the Argentinian Grand Prix.
The narration sets the season within its historical context which is especially important as 1974 saw the beginning of the oil crisis and yet F1, somehow, was unaffected.
It also saw Luca Montezemolo’s plans for Ferrari start to come to fruition, with Niki Lauda scoring his first win for the team he would win two championships for.
Only the brief length of the film (52 minutes) keeps this from getting five stars. But this is still one of the best ways of seeing decent quality F1 footage rom the early 1970s.
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