How Chapman’s wedge-shaped wonder won Fittipaldi’s heart

Emerson Fittipaldi has driven many successful cars – in Formula 1 and Indycars – but his all-time favourite remains the machine in which he took his first F1 World Championship in 1972, which celebrates its 50th birthday this year

When it comes to Formula 1 designs, few have changed the game as much as Colin Chapman’s Lotus 72 – the wedge-shaped wonder. Three constructors’ championships and two drivers’ titles, the first posthumously for Jochen Rindt and the second for Emerson Fittipaldi two years later, mean it’s a car without compare in championship teams, with only McLaren’s M23 rivalling it for its 20 race wins from 75 grands prix.

Fifty years on from the first time he drove a 72, Fittipaldi doesn’t hold back when it comes to lavishing praise on both the car’s poise and Chapman’s ingenuity. Remember too that he won his second title in McLaren’s M23.

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