Working in Formula One can occasionally feel like just any other job, so it’s good to remember that many people in the paddock got there through a genuine love of the sport. That’s definitely the case with our team principal, Franz Tost, who recently discovered a very old motor racing programme.
“I was 18, as I had just got my driver’s licence which is how I managed to go to Monza. It was 1975 and it was the first Formula One race I saw live on a race track. I arrived on the Wednesday afternoon and didn’t know the way, but I latched onto a Tyrrell team transporter and followed it into the paddock. Once I was in, I wasn’t going to leave and stayed there for the whole weekend. And to prove it, I collected autographs from Hunt, Regazzoni, Hill, Scheckter and others. It was exciting and for qualifying I was in the pits. The security people wanted to throw me out, so I went over to the pit wall and picked up one of the Lotus team’s pit boards and that convinced them I worked for the team. The only problem was that, once security had left me alone, the Lotus people got very angry with me and threw me out. So I kept moving from garage to garage.
"During the race, I climbed up the famous Agip advertising panel, pushed open a hole and watched maybe four or five laps from there. After that I went to the two Lesmos and Ascari. At the end of the race, I was at the Parabolica. Then I saw some “tifosi” cutting the fence with special cutters and going through onto the track. This seemed like a good idea to me, so I went with them but the police took a dim view of it and tried to surround us on horses. But a few metres further down the track, another group of fans did the same thing and now the police didn’t know whether to stay with us or chase the new group. By then, we rushed to the podium to see the victory ceremony, with Regazzoni the winner, Fittipaldi second and Lauda third.
"In fact, I’ve just remembered as we talk about this, that, over the weekend, it was Jacques Laffite who always made sure I had something to eat! I still have the race programme with all the autographs today, because my mother was clever enough to keep it for me! It is not surprising that my second outstanding memory of Monza is rather more recent, dating back to 2008 when Scuderia Toro Rosso won the Italian Grand Prix with Sebastian Vettel.”