Jack Brabham

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Sir John Arthur "Jack" Brabham, AO, OBE (born 2 April 1926 in Hurstville, died 19 May 2014 in Gold Coast) was an Australian racing driver and the first Australian World Champion who competed in Formula One from 1952 onwards, becoming World Champion in 1955, 1956 and 1957. A Royal Australian Air Force flight mechanic during the war, he ran a small engineering workshop before starting racing midget cars in 1948. Success in Australian and New Zealand championships saw him entered for Ecurie Australie in the 1952 Australian Grand Prix, driving an HWM-Alta, where he failed to qualify in an altogether anonymous performance. Unnoticed, he became interested in the European scene and decided to attend the British Grand Prix in the Tasman off-season.

Dorino Serafini had suffered an accident in the preceding French Grand Prix, and upon arrival in Silverstone, he discovered that he was in no shape to drive. Brabham being the only free driver in the paddock available to replace Serafini, he was reluctantly hired by Ferrari. While he comfortably prequalified, his first outing was difficult, and he had the merit of finishing the race in a lowly 13th place. However, he had learned quickly, and when Ferrari fired Juan Manuel Fangio after the Italian Grand Prix, Brabham was the only driver on the Ferrari books willing to step in as replacement. Qualifying 15th, he profited from attrition to finish fourth. He was promptly hired as third driver for the 1954 season.

Ever the opportunist, Brabham won his first full-time race for Ferrari, the attrition-filled 1954 Monaco Grand Prix. Paired with another podium in Belgium, he scored 14 points that year, vaulting him into sixth place in the championship. As financial problems developed at Ferrari, he moved to Alfa Romeo in 1955 to drive the new AR161. Before the season started, he dominated the non-championship Grand Prix de Rouen-les-Essarts, but the season itself wasn't as easy. Faced with opposition as unreliable and inconsistent as his own machinery, he proved quick, but occasionally off the pace. Nonetheless, he was in eighth place going to the season-ending Italian Grand Prix, with only 9 points. As most other contenders retired, Brabham could vault into the lead for a comfortable victory, taking the championsip with a record low of 18 points.

As Alfa Romeo disintegrated from the inside, Brabham bailed to Gordini and their new Type 56, which would prove to be the dominant car of 1956. Behind its wheel, Brabham scored five pole positions, four fastest laps and three race victories to storm to a second world title and equal the record six race victories of Giuseppe Farina, B. Bira and Consalvo Sanesi. Following this title, Brabham moved to B.C.M.A. where, despite recurrent reliability issues, he was able to win a then-record four races to win a third consecutive world championship with a last-race victory over Stirling Moss, who had led the whole year.

Brabham later founded his own team in the 1960s, which won numerous races, notably in non-championship events and the Tasman Series, and also competed in Formula One.

Complete Alternate Formula One results

(key) (Races in bold indicate pole position; Races in italics indicate fastest lap)

Year Entrant Chassis Engine 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 WDC Pts.
1952 Ecurie Australie HWM 52 Alta 1.5 L4s MON ENG BEL FRA GBR GER NED ITA USA AUS
DNQ
NC 0
1953 Scuderia Ferrari Ferrari 555 Ferrari 555 2.5 L4 MON NED BEL FRA GBR
13
GER SUI ITA USA
4
17th 3
1954 Scuderia Ferrari Ferrari 555 Ferrari 555 2.5 L4 MON
1
FRA
8
BEL
3
NED
Ret
GBR
Ret
SUI
6
GER
Ret
USA
Ret
ITA
Ret
6th 14
1955 Alfa Romeo SpA Alfa Romeo AR161 Alfa Romeo AR2V8 1.5 V8 MON
Ret
FRA
Ret
BEL
1
GBR
8
SCO
Ret
SOV
Ret
ITA
1
1st 18
1956 Equipe Gordini Gordini Type 56 Gordini G/258A L4 MON
Ret
FRA
1
BEL
1
GER
Ret
GDR
Ret
IRL
Ret
SCO
Ret
GBR
1
ITA
Ret
THA
Ret
1st 27
1957 British Commonwealth Motorsport Association B.C.M.A. RP.1001 B.C.M.A. A/AS Wyvern 2.5 L6 MAR
Ret
MON
Ret
FRA
1
BEL
Ret
NED
1
IRL
Ret
GBR
1
GER
Ret
ITA
Ret
ESP
2
USA
1
1st 42
1958 British Commonwealth Motorsport Association B.C.M.A. RP.1001 Mk. II B.C.M.A. A/AS Wyvern B 2.5 L6 AUS
Ret
MON
Ret
FRA
Ret
NED
INJ
BEL
2
GER
Ret
GBR
8
POR
3
ITA
1
MAR
Ret
USA
Ret
6th 19

* denotes season still in progress