Austria's Jochen Rindt became the only posthumous world champion ever when he crashed during practice at Monza at the fateful Parabolica corner, dying on impact. Running a wingless set-up to increase straight-line speed during practice, he swerved left into a barrier and the car hit a stanchion head on. Because Rindt had only recently acquiesced to wearing a simple lap belt, he slid underneath where the belt buckle garroted him.Rindt's death was the third of the season after both Bruce McLaren and Piers Courage had also been killed at the wheels of their respective machines.
A year after Rindt's fateful accident, Lotus did not take part in the Italian Grand Prix due to legal problems between the team and the Italian authorities resulting from the accident. Clay Regazzoni made a remarkable start from the fourth row to take the lead, which switched hands several times over the opening laps. A five-car battle for the lead ensued between Peter Gethin, Ronnie Peterson, Francois Cevert, Mike Hailwood and Howden Ganley and that is how it finished.
Juan Manuel Fangio won the Italian Grand Prix from the Ferrari trio of Mike Hawthorn, Umberto Maglioli and Frolian Gonzalez. Karl Kling and Alberto Ascari had led the race early on but their retirements meant that Stirling Moss chased victory in his Maserati. Sadly for Moss, a forced oil change followed by an engine failure ended his hopes, leaving Hawthorn to follow Fangio home.
James Hunt used a weekend off in his successful title campaign to race in the Formula Atlantic series in Canada at Trois Rivieres. It was the highlight of the Formula Atlantic season and the street circuit attracted a host of F1 names. However, all of them were soundly beaten by championship leader Gilles Villeneuve, who Hunt, on his return to the UK, immediately recommended to his McLaren team. In 1977 Villeneuve took part in a couple of races for McLaren before being signed up by Ferrari.