Today, September 10, marks two Formula One World Championship anniversaries at Monza from the 1970s. Emerson Fittipaldi (1972, pictured at Monaco) and Mario Andretti (1978) each clinched their first World Championships on this day all those years ago.
Fittipaldi’s win in the 1972 Italian Grand Prix secured the title for Lotus with two races remaining in the season. It was a modified Monza circuit, chicanes appearing for the first time after the 1971 race.
“Emmo” became the youngest World Champion at age 25 and 273 days, a mark that stood for more than 30 years. However, since Fernando Alonso usurped that title in 2005, that’s been beaten twice, by Lewis Hamilton in 2008 and by three-time defending champion Sebastian Vettel in 2010. Fittipaldi won a second championship for McLaren in 1974.
Andretti, meanwhile, who served as a guest analyst for NBCSN’s coverage of the Italian Grand Prix this weekend, took his first and only title under somber circumstances in the 1978 Italian Grand Prix. Andretti’s Lotus teammate, Ronnie Peterson, was caught up in an accident past the start line and died from complications after surgery.
The fatality ensured Andretti had enough of a gap the final two races of the 1978 season to where he was not overtaken. It was the second and thus far most recent World Championship by an American driver (Phil Hill, 1961) in F1 history.