Janes Hunt, McLaren, Watkins Glen, 1976

James Hunt

1976 champion James Hunt had a memorable second career as a commentator. He reached Formula One with Lord Hesketh’s eponymous team in 1973 after they decided the costs weren’t much higher than doing another season of Formula Two.

After shaking off the nickname “Hunt the shunt” he won at Zandvoort in the rain in 1975.

He left Hesketh for McLaren in 1976 when Emerson Fittipaldi made his ill-advised departure to his brother’s team.

This, coupled with Niki Lauda’s near-fatal crash at the Nurburgring gave him a tilt at the championship which he duly won despite controversies at Jarama and Brands Hatch stirred up by the Ferrari-McLaren rivalry.

He spent two further seasons with McLaren but when the dependable M23 was replaced with the M26 for 1978 the team struggled badly. A podium finish at France was more or less all he had to show for his season.

Hunt joined the Wolf team for 1979 but his appetite for racing had waned. He later revealed that safety fears frequently made him ill before races.

He retired after the 1979 Monaco Grand Prix and began commentating alongside Murray Walker shortly after. He died of a heart attack in 1993.