The seventies represented a unique era in motor racing and marked the first chapter of a historic rivalry in modern Formula One: the Ferrari – McLaren rivalry. The first round was won by the Maranello team, who succeeded in concluding the decade with two wins more than another British team, Lotus, which had previously dominated the Sixties.
Scuderia Ferrari tried and was successful in putting an end to the British dominance, as the Italian side regained the status of most winning team of the decade, after managing the same performance in the Fifties. At the end of the 1979 season, in which Jody Scheckter became the Formula One World Drivers’ Champion, Ferrari had a total of 37 race victories during the ten years, starting with Mario Andretti and Jacky Ickx, continued by Clay Regazzoni and Niki Lauda, and finished with Carlos Reutemann, Gilles Villeneuve and Jody Scheckter.
The large number of different drivers is a testimony to the strong overall package that Ferrari was able to bring to the track (1973 was the only season during this period in which the Scuderia did not manage to win a race) and the ability to constantly find new and innovative technical solutions. This was mainly as a result of Mauro Forghieri’s contribution, who was the Technical Director of the Racing Department and was responsable not ony for the design of the the chassis, but every single component, from the gearbox (he is responsable for the introduction of the inboard transverse gearbox) to the last element of the engine.
Under his valuable leadership, Scuderia Ferrari won the driver’s F1 world championship title three times, Niki Lauda (1975 and 1977), and Jody Scheckter (1979). Ferrari also won the constructors Formula 1 world championship title four times (1975, 1976, 1977, 1979), the same as Lotus, a team guided by another Formula 1 genius, Colin Chapman. However, the British team finished the decade with only 35 wins, behind the red cars of Ferrari, who scored 37 victories from 141 races during the seventies.
If Lotus was at the the beginning of its downfall, the Ferrari – McLaren rivalry was only starting, mainly due to the events of the 1976 season, in which James Hunt won the F1 title after a dramatic fight with Niki Lauda. However, McLaren only managed 20 wins during the decade, almost half of what the Italian team achieved.
Most successful teams of the seventies:
- Ferrari (37 wins/ 141 races)
- Lotus (35 wins/ 143 races)
- Tyrrell (21 wins/ 133 races)
- McLaren (20 wins/ 143 races)
- Brabham (8 wins/ 144 races)
- Williams (5 wins/ 56 races)