The director planning a film about the 1976 F1 title fight between Niki Lauda and eventual champion James Hunt has been revealed as Ron Howard - the man best known for playing Richie Cunningham in the hit TV show Happy Days and for winning an Oscar as director of A Beautiful Mind.

A new script has been written by Peter Morgan following the events of the 1976 campaign, which featured Lauda's horrific accident at the Nordschleife and saw Hunt take the title after a rain-hit finale at Fuji - which Lauda pulled out of over safety concerns as heavy rain fell.

Howard is now set to start work on the film, which has been given a working title of Rush, with the focus being on the relationship between rivals Lauda and Hunt as the title fight developed.

"I got sent the script by Peter and I liked it very much - it blew me away, in fact," Howard was quited by The National. "It's a great story, it's a remarkable story and, as all F1 fans know, it nearly ended tragically when Niki Lauda crashed into the barriers while travelling real fast and his car burst into flames.

"Amazingly, he survived but he was clearly in a bad way, but even more amazingly he missed just two races and returned for the Grand Prix in Italy.

"It's a European film and so the budget's going to be set accordingly. But I think it will still work with American audiences. Even though Nascar is king in the States, a lot of people love F1 and even more people like a good story and this is just that."

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