S4359 McLaren M23 No.5 GP Brazil 1974 – Emerson Fittipaldi
Emerson Fittipaldi had already won the championship with Lotus. When he decided in 1973 to leave the team of Colin Chapman. At first many thought Fittipaldi could not resist the temptation of money. But that was not the reason why the Brazilian with the scarred face and the striking sideburns moved to McLaren. “Emo” just had a good feeling.
The Lotus which was used in 1974, called Type 76, was not the best car ever. In the team of Teddy Mayer Fittipaldi saw much better prospects. The M23 designed by Gordon Coppuck had already won three times in 1973. And the further development for 1974 looked very promising. A certain John Barnard was also involved in this project. The then still very young designer worked alongside of Coppuck. Later Barnard was the star of F1 at McLaren and Ferrari, quasi the Adrian Newey of the Eighties. It is also interesting that the M23 is not an evolution of its predecessor, the McLaren M19C. It was based on the M16 from the IndyCar series. In the first race of the season Fittipaldi was outpaced by his teammate Denny Hulme. The driver from New Zealand won in Argentina, Fittipaldi became only tenth due to problems with the plug lead. McLaren used three cars at the time. Fittipaldi and Hulme drove the M23 sponsored by Marlboro and Texaco from 1974 onwards. Mike Hailwood took a seat in an identical model but with logos from Yardley. From the second race on Fittipaldi was the number 1 in the team. He scored his first victory on home soil in Brazil. Which was also the reference for this Spark model in 1:43 (see pictures). Fittipaldi did not have to fear a lot of resistance from his teammates. Ferrari with the 312B3 and Swiss driver Clay Regazzoni was the combination Fittipaldi had to beat. Before the last race in the USA Fittipaldi and Regazzoni were equal on points. Fittipaldi had won three races (Brazil, Belgium and Canada), “Rega” the Grand Prix of Germany. Both did not have the best weekend at Watkins Glen. They only qualified 8th (Fittipaldi) and 9th (Regazzoni). On Sunday the Ferrari driver had problems with the handling. With two laps down he became 11th; whereas Fittipaldi got fourth – in a race that wasn’t interrupted after the fatal accident of Helmut Koinigg! For Fittipaldi it was the second title. For McLaren it was also special. The team from Woking won its first constructors title. Seven more would follow until today.