Teams That Time Forgot (2)
Chris Amon Racing
I have mentioned before that Chris Amon was probably the best driver never to win a World Championship event. If good luck is a crucial part of winning a championship, Chris was the living proof that bad luck can ruin your chances forever. He drove for many good teams in his career but had an uncanny knack for leaving them just as their fortunes were about to take an up-turn. Time after time he led Grand Prix, only for something to go wrong (in the Italian GP of 1971, he was robbed of victory by losing his visor!). Yet his record shows just how good he was: 16 front row starts, 7 pole positions, 3 fastest laps.
By 1973, Chris was thoroughly fed up and decided to start his own team, Chris Amon Racing. A couple of cars for himself and Larry Perkins were designed and built for the 1974 season, taking the usual small constructor route of the time – Cosworth DFV engine and Hewland gearbox. But funding was almost non-existent and it soon became apparent that Chris’ luck as a constructor was even worse than as a driver. Although the car featured some innovative features, such as titanium suspension, it was hopelessly uncompetitive and appeared at only six Grand Prix.
The team’s statistics make dismal reading:
Race presences – 6
Race starts – 1
Did not start – 1
Did not qualify – 4
Retired – 1
Perhaps it is no wonder that Chris’ attempt at an F1 team is almost totally forgotten now. One of the cars was rescued and restored to be driven occasionally at historic events but otherwise nothing remains of a project that had such high hopes to begin with.
Chris folded the team that year and drove a BRM for a while, eventually going to Ensign for whom he put up some sterling performances before retiring in disgust in 1976. Over the 14 years of his career, he had 97 starts and scored a total of 83 points.
I have mentioned before my fondness for the might-have-beens of F1. Unfortunately, when it comes to Amon’s team, it’s more a case of was-never-going-to-be…