For me Formula One in its early years was an example of how male sportsmen could be themselves. Even though sponsorship was crucial it did not dictate how a Formula One driver had to behave. They could do and say what they wanted, just read the history of it. Safety issues were not even in the equation when you went out and drove. These men would literally choose to drive at their own risk knowing that it could be their last drive. It was a perfect example of life meets death on a racing track. For this reason alone James Hunt, known for his charismatic personality, was the perfect example of what a Formula One driver persona was. These men were the essence of the gladiators of the motorcar era, drive to death do us apart. It is why a James race-day ritual included throwing up, partially because of pre-race jitters, but also because of the previous evening’s parties he would put his body through.
James Hunt Is Not A Style Icon
I don’t think James thought about his style at all. He just dressed how he felt at the time. This was proven when Hunt went to McLaren for the 1976 season. He refused to sign a clause in his contract that stipulated he had to wear a suit and tie at sponsor functions. He would often appear barefoot in only a T-shirt and jeans. His ex-wife, Sarah Lomax, knew what he was about when he arrived late for his wedding and delayed the proceedings even further. When he realised he had no tie and had to dispatch his brother to purchase one.
James Hunt was the formula symbolism for sex, booze and living life to the edge. He was the rock n roll rebellious image that every woman so much adored. Niki Lauda in his owns words said that James was the only man he ever envied. His sponsors at the time being Hesketh Racing knew exactly what they were employing let alone signing up. Hence when they began to experience success, the team maintained a so-called “leisure division” to ensure it was always well stocked in wine, women, Rolls-Royces, a jet or two and a private helicopter. What the hell bring on the yacht as well.
Hunt was the perfect example of a reckless attitude to life and racing and it all reflected in the end of dying so young. He is how I deem menswear should be told through a story of how men look up to their sportstar icon. James was everything Formula One is not today. We all adore him for it.
I can honestly say he died a happy man in doing what he loved best. Lot’s of sex, booze, speed a style icon who wore no shoes and a lover of t-shirts and jeans.