The rivalry between Niki Lauda and James Hunt: and the role women and family played in it.

Directed by Ron Howard - 2013 - Germany, UK - 123 min


2024 June 11 | by Arduino Mancini Negotiation - Performance - Resilience - Sport

The film, screenplay by Peter Morgan, chronicles one of the most intense moments in Formula 1 when, in the 1970s, the rivalry between Niki Lauda and James Hunt dominated the scene.

The two drivers were quite different.

Hunt instinctive and fond of risk for risk’s sake and of beautiful women, Lauda cold and calculating, intellectually arrogant, reserved, and unmatched in fine-tuning the car.

The film tracks the highlights of their rivalship:

  • The Formula 3 period, where the protagonists meet and immediately come into conflict;
  • Niki Lauda’s break with his family, which considers a career in sports not in line with the tradition of the Lauda family being engaged as bankers;
  • The sweet life lived by Hunt, an absolute star in his Formula 3 team, committed to enhancing his talent both with cars and with the beautiful women around him;
  • Lauda’s entry into Formula 1 with BRM as a paying driver, immediately highlighted his qualities;
  • Hunt’s response, prompted his small team to take the leap and enter F1.

And then the time when Lauda and Hunt, with Ferrari and McLaren, respectively, engage in epic duels that culminate in the accident on the Nürburgring Nordschleife circuit, and with James Hunt winning the 1976 world championship; a victory that would never have come without the decision to run a race that, with the rain, would have proved to be extremely dangerous.

I stop here to not deprive you of the pleasure of watching the film, especially if you do not know the story and did not experience those years with the intensity still imprinted in my memory.

Before I show you the trailer of the film, I want to tell you that while I cannot call myself an expert on F1 racing, Niki Lauda is certainly the driver to whom I have seen the most lucid and determined interpretation of the race, able to combine risk awareness and a fierce will to get first to the finish line; a will that led him to do things that have remained unique in the world of sports.

Watch the trailer, and then we will delve deeper into the subject.




How to watch the film

The story is terribly interesting and can grab everyone’s attention; people who work in sports or are somehow interested in performance enhancement will find countless insights in it.

Let’s look at some of them:

  • Lauda shows how results represent the outcome of expertise and intense work, and how it is possible to balance the awareness of risk and the desire to cross apparently insurmountable thresholds;
  • The relationship between Marlene (who would become the Austrian driver’s wife) and Niki testifies how the risk threshold a driver is prepared to accept can change significantly when one is no longer alone. A threshold of which James Hunt is unaware;
  • The extraordinary comeback, bordering on the human, which led Lauda to return to the track at Monza only 42 days after the Nürburgring fire, grabbing a fourth place at Monza that tasted like victory;
  • A fierce rivalry between two drivers who are so different but also have so many common experiences, which ends up hinting at an unspoken fondness in the background;
  • Lauda’s difficulties in managing personal relationships and his chronic inability to give feedback without demolishing his interlocutor’s self-esteem. An incapacity that damaged him for a long time, perhaps depriving him of more victories than he won (3 F1 world championships).

Is all this enough to make you see the film?



Daniel Brühl, Chris Hemsworth, Olivia Wilde, Alexandra Maria Lara, Pierfrancesco Favino, David Calder


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