Part II: the Grand Prix Years
On the heels of Helmut Marko's stunning 1971 Le Mans victory, almost one year after his friend Rindt's death, Marko qualified for his first Formula One race, the Austrian Grand Prix on August 15th 1971, at the Osterreichring, driving an outdated BRM P153 for Yardley Team BRM - a four-car team with Jo Siffert, Peter Gethin, Howden Ganley and Marko as the latest driver, taking up the place of Pedro Rodriguez, who had been killed in a sportscar race in Germany.
By the way, a Statistical Note is in order here: the record books say that Helmut Marko tried to qualify Jo Bonnier's McLaren M7C at the 1971 German Grand Prix, the race just before the Austrian Grand Prix, but Marko says that because of contractual conflicts, he never actually ever took out the McLaren M7C to qualify so the 1970 Austrian Grand Prix was his first race. "I did not do the qualifying," is what Marko told Autosport-Atlas emphatically, and he was there, so statisticians and historians, get your erasers out.
Niki Lauda's debut in Formula One in a March 711 as a pay driver was at this same 1971 Austrian Grand Prix as Helmut Marko's, on home ground at the Osterreichring, where both Austrians had raced extensively. Marko and Lauda knew each other and traveled together to the same races over the years but, it should be said, Marko (from Graz) does not speak of Lauda (from Vienna) in the reverential terms he uses for his boyhood friend Rindt; to him, Niki Lauda was just another guy to beat on Sunday and he usually did so.