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Rindt to Chapman: “I can only drive a car in which I have some confidence”

Submitted by on September 18, 2013

Rindt - 1969The eerie scan below is a letter written by Jochen Rindt in 1969, the first year in which he drove for Team Lotus. At the time of writing Rindt was still recovering from his terrible accident at Montjuic, Barcelona, which was caused by the collapse of the rudimentary wing system on his Lotus 49. He survived but was injured and understandably shaken. Most importantly he began to lose confidence in Chapman’s car, if only for just a moment.

rindt letter


Mr Colin Chapman
Howard Johnson Motor Lodge


Dear Colin,

I just got back to Geneva and I am going to have a second opinion on the state of my head tomorrow. Personally I feel very weak and ill, I still have to lay down most of the day. After seeing the new Doktor and hearing his opinion we can make a final decesion on Monaco and Indy.

I got hold of this incredibly picture which pretty much explains the accident, I didn’t know it would fly that high. Robin Herd apparently saw the wing go, but could not see the accident, since it happened around the corner.

Now to the whole situation, Colin. I have been racing F1 for 5 years and I have made one mistake (I rammed Chris Amon in Clermont Ferrand) and I had one accident in Zandvoort due to gearselektion failure otherwise I managed to stay out of trouble. This situation changed rapidly since I joined your team, Levin, Eifelrace F2 wishbones and now Barcelona.

Honestly your cars are so quick that we would still be competitive with a few extra pounds used to make the weakest parts stronger, on top of that I think you ought to spend some time checking what your different employes are doing, I sure the wishbones on the F2 car would have looked different. Please give my suggestions some thought, I can only drive a car in which I have some confidence, and I feel the point of no confidence is quite near.

Best regards


rindt spain 1969

rindt crash spain

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