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World Championship Career
Year Engine Driver Race Start Won Pod Class Best 1+2 Pole Front Best Lap Pts Pos
1977 Ford JD Scheckter 17 17 3 9 10 1 0 1 2 1 2 55 4
1978 Ford RW Rahal, K Rosberg, JD Scheckter 16 21 0 4 11 2 0 0 1 2 0 24 5
1979 Ford J Hunt, K Rosberg 14 14 0 0 2 8 0 0 0 8 0 0 -
Total 47 52 3 13 23 1 0 1 3 1 2
Race Circuit Date
First race Argentine Grand Prix Buenos Aires January 9, 1977 Race results
Last race United States Grand Prix Watkins Glen October 7, 1979 Race results

Walter Wolf was an Austrian who made his fortune in the oil business in Canada. A lifelong racing enthusiast, he used his new-found wealth to forge an involvement in the sport.

Wolf first appeared on the Formula One scene in 1975 and was courted by Frank Williams who, at that time, was still struggling to make an impression on the sport. Wolf and Williams struck a deal for 1976, but it soon became apparent that Wolf was an autocrat who did not wish to adopt a mere supporting role. The Hesketh team was winding down, so Wolf took on designer Harvey Postlethwaite's very promising 308C chassis and the man himself.

The 1976 season was disastrous. Jacky Ickx was the driver, but he was not impressed with the car and did not gel with Postlethwaite. Williams did not like working for anyone else and decided to cut his links and go his own way with designer Patrick Head.

Wolf had a major reorganization for 1977. He recruited former Lotus team manager Peter Warr to run his team and signed Jody Scheckter from Tyrrell. Postlethwaite's neat Wolf WR1 chassis looked promising and Scheckter took advantage of some good fortune to win on the car's debut in Argentina.

Good luck he may have had, but the WR1 was a good car and the team was well drilled. Scheckter led a great tussle involving Niki Lauda's Ferrari and Mario Andretti's Lotus in Long Beach, only losing out in the closing stages when a tyre went down.

Lauda had won in Monte Carlo the previous two seasons, but Scheckter went to the Principality, where he lived, and outdrove the Ferrari to claim the team's second win.

Scheckter remained in contention for the drivers' title throughout the year, but the crown eventually went to a consistent Lauda. Andretti's Lotus was the class of the field, but the American did not have the best of reliability. Scheckter came good at Mosport Park, though, to score an emotional "home" triumph for his team boss.

The form shown by Andretti and Lotus had served a warning that a ground-effects car would be a pre-requisite for success in 1978, and so it proved. The Lotus 79s of Andretti and Ronnie Peterson proved unbeatable. At Wolf, Postlethwaite came up with the WR5, but the team could not add to its victory tally, with a pair of second place finishes in Germany and Canada, being their best results.

Scheckter was becoming disgruntled and he quickly accepted an offer to join Ferrari - where he went on to win the championship the following season. Wolf took on James Hunt, who was also disgruntled with McLaren's inability to crack the ground-effect concept.

On paper, this looked good. Hunt and Postlethwaite, of course, went back to Hesketh's glory days and the new WR7 looked as though it should work. Just like the successful Ligier JS11, it had distinctive aerodynamic kick-ups ahead of the rear wheels and a futuristic shape.

It was a rush to get the car ready in time, however, and the results did not come. Hunt was always aware of his profession's inherent dangers and, with just one finish behind him, he did not want to put his life on the line for a sixth or seventh place. He had the trappings of wealth and announced his sudden retirement mid-season. Wolf then took on the aggressive young Keke Rosberg, but even the exuberant Finn could do little with the recalcitrant car.

A man used to success, Walter Wolf did not take kindly to being an also-ran and folded his team at the end of its fourth season.

Reproduced from The Ultimate Encyclopedia of Formula One published by Carlton Books

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May 13, 1979

Wolf's James Hunt in action at the 1979 Belgian Grand Prix

Mar 4, 1978

Mario Andretti leads Jody Scheckter in to turn one, with eventual race winner Ronnie Peterson back in 11th

May 22, 1977

Jody Scheckter comes under pressure from John Watson early in the race

Apr 3, 1977

Jody Scheckter leads Mario Andretti and Niki Lauda

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