|1963||Lola, Team Lotus||8||6||0||0||2||7||0||0||12||0||0||0||-|
|1965||Brabham, Team Lotus||3||2||0||0||0||-||0||0||8||0||0||0||-|
|First race||Monaco Grand Prix||Monaco||May 26, 1963||Race results|
|Last race||Canadian Grand Prix||Mosport||October 3, 1976||Race results|
This affable Kiwi did everything in Formula One except win a race, or a World Championship one at least. Chris was spotted by team owner Reg Parnell and invited to contest the 1963 Formula One season, arriving in Europe while still a baby-faced 19-year-old and claiming his first points finish before his 21st birthday.
Parnell's death left Chris in limbo in 1965 and 1966, but Ferrari signed him for 1967 and he went straight in with third place at Monaco. A win would surely follow. Wrong. Second at Brands Hatch in 1968 was the best he could do. A move to the fledgling March team for 1970 enabled Chris to win a Formula One race - the International Trophy at Silverstone - but, sadly for him, this was a non-championship affair. His championship season saw him finish second twice and seventh overall. A two-year spell at Matra was his next period of gainful employment and it produced victory first time out, in the Argentinian Grand Prix, but this was another non-championship affair.
It almost went right at Clermont-Ferrand in 1972. Almost but not quite. The race was virtually his for the taking when he suffered a puncture. A season with Tecno in 1973 produced nothing and a move to run his own car in 1974 proved even less successful. A few races for the rather under-financed Ensign team in 1975-76 reminded people of his speed, but his flashes of genius came to little.
Eventually, it was the misfortune of someone else which drew the curtain on his Formula One career. After driving past the burning wreckage of Niki Lauda's Ferrari at the Nurburgring in 1976, Amon pulled into the pits and refused to restart the race. He was fired by his boss Morris Nunn but, having seen Lauda's accident, was more than happy to return to New Zealand to retire.
Despite this he was convinced by Nunn to race in the Canadian Grand Prix later that season but was lucky to walk away unscathed from a big accident in qualifying, which served as enough motivation to officially call it a day. Amon was undoubtedly a talent wasted.
"If this can happen to Jimmy, what chance do the rest of us have? I think we all felt that. It seemed like we'd lost our leader." - After the death of Jim Clark in 1968
"I'd seen too many people fried in racing cars at that stage. When you've driven past Bandini, Schlesser, Courage and Williamson, another shunt like that was simply too much. It was a personal decision." - On his decision to retire after seeing Niki Lauda's accident in 1976
March 6, 1976
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September 5, 1971
© Sutton Images
May 18, 1969
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