2007 Schools Wikipedia Selection. Related subjects: Sports teams

Full name Brabham Racing Organisation
Base Milton Keynes, United Kingdom
Notable staff Bernie Ecclestone
Ron Tauranac
Gordon Murray
Ron Dennis
Charlie Whiting
Notable drivers Jack Brabham
Dan Gurney
Denny Hulme
Niki Lauda
Nelson Piquet
Debut 1962 German Grand Prix
Races competed 402
Constructors' Championships 2 ( 1966, 1967)
Drivers' Championships 4 ( 1966, 1967, 1981, 1983)
Race victories 35
Pole positions 39
Fastest laps 42
Last race 1992 Hungarian Grand Prix
Portal Formula One portal

Motor Racing Developments Ltd., more usually known as Brabham, was a racing car manufacturer and Formula One racing team founded in 1960 by two Australians: driver Jack Brabham and designer Ron Tauranac. The team won four drivers' and two constructors' world championships in its 30 year history. As of 2006, Jack Brabham's 1966 drivers' championship remains the only one won by a driver in a car bearing his own name.

In 1966 and 1967 Brabham won the drivers' and constructors' championships using Australian-built engines from Repco. During the 1960s Brabham was also the largest manufacturer of customer open wheel racing cars in the world, and had built more than 500 cars by 1970. Brabham cars won championships in Formula Two and Formula Three, and competed in the Indianapolis 500.

During the 1970s and 1980s, under the ownership of the British businessman Bernie Ecclestone — who later become responsible for administrating the commercial aspects of Formula One — the team introduced many innovations to Formula One, such as carbon brakes, the controversial but successful 'fan car', in-race refuelling, and hydropneumatic suspension. In the 1980s the team won two more drivers' championships with Brazilian Nelson Piquet, and became the first team to win a drivers' championship with a turbocharged car.

After Ecclestone sold the team in 1987, ownership passed eventually to the Middlebridge Group, a Japanese engineering firm. Midway through the 1992 season the team collapsed after Middlebridge was unable to continue making repayments against loans provided by Landhurst Leasing. The case was investigated by the UK Serious Fraud Office.


Jack Brabham was 40 when he won the F1 drivers' title in a 'Brabham' car.
Jack Brabham was 40 when he won the F1 drivers' title in a 'Brabham' car.

Jack Brabham and Ron Tauranac met in 1951 when both were successfully building and racing their own cars in Australia. Brabham went to the United Kingdom in 1955 to further his racing career. Driving for the Cooper Car Company works team, he became Formula One world champion in 1959 and 1960. In addition to driving, he had significant technical involvement at Cooper, particularly in developing the 1960 T53 ‘lowline’ car. Brabham consulted Tauranac by letter on technical matters and fed the results back into the Cooper designs.

Although Cooper had revolutionised Formula One by introducing the mid-engined layout, their approach to car design was less than scientific and Brabham felt sure that he could improve on it. In 1959 Brabham invited his friend Tauranac to come to the UK and work with him. Brabham described Tauranac as "absolutely the only bloke I'd have gone into partnership with". Initially this was at his car dealership, Jack Brabham Motors, producing upgrade kits for Sunbeam Rapier and Triumph Herald road cars, but with the long-term aim to design racing cars.

Brabham and Tauranac set up a company called Motor Racing Developments Ltd. (see below), deliberately avoiding the use of either man’s name, and produced their first car for the entry level Formula Junior class in the summer of 1961. Initially known as an MRD, the car's name was soon changed. Motoring journalist Jabby Crombac pointed out that "[the] way a Frenchman pronounces those initials — written phonetically, 'em air day' — sounded perilously like the French word... merde." The cars were subsequently known as Brabhams, with type numbers starting with BT for 'Brabham Tauranac'.

By the 1961 Formula One season, the first run under a new 1.5 litre engine capacity limit, the Lotus and Ferrari teams had developed the mid-engined approach further than Cooper. Having run his own private Coopers in non-championship events during 1961, Brabham left the company in 1962 to drive for his own team: the Brabham Racing Organisation, using cars built by Motor Racing Developments. MRD initially concentrated on making money by selling cars to customers, so the first Brabham Formula One car, the BT3, was only delivered partway through the 1962 Formula One season.

Racing history - Formula One

Jack Brabham and Ron Tauranac (1961-1970)

Brabham BT33 Technically conservative Brabham did not produce a monocoque car until 1970.
Brabham BT33 Technically conservative Brabham did not produce a monocoque car until 1970.

The Brabham Racing Organisation (BRO) started the 1962 season, its first in Formula One, fielding an outdated customer Lotus 21 chassis for Jack Brabham. Brabham became a Formula One constructor when BRO debuted their turquoise liveried BT3 car at the 1962 German Grand Prix, where it retired with a throttle problem after nine of the fifteen laps. By the last two races of the season the car was competitive enough to take a pair of fourth places.

From the 1963 season, Brabham was partnered by American driver Dan Gurney, the pair now running in Australia's racing colours of green and gold. Jack Brabham took the team's first win at the non-championship Solitude Grand Prix in 1963. Gurney took the marque's first win in the world championship, at the 1964 French Grand Prix. The American won again at the 1964 Mexican Grand Prix and Brabham works and customer cars took another three non-championship wins during the 1964 season. The 1965 season was less successful, with no championship wins. During this period, Brabham finished third or fourth in the constructors' championship each year, but promising performances were marred by poor reliability on several occasions. Commentators, including Ron Tauranac, have said that a lack of resources may have cost the team results.

The Formula One engine capacity limit was raised to 3 litres for the 1966 season and suitable engines were scarce. Brabham used engines from Australian engineering firm Repco, which had never produced a Formula One engine before, based on aluminium V8 engine blocks from the defunct American Oldsmobile F85 road car project, and other off the shelf parts. Few expected the Brabham-Repcos to be competitive, but the light and reliable cars ran at the front from the start of the season and at the French Grand Prix at Reims-Gueux, Jack Brabham became the first man to win a Formula One world championship race in a car bearing his own name. Only his former team mate, Bruce McLaren, has since matched the achievement. It was the first in a run of four straight wins for the Australian veteran. Jack Brabham won his third title in 1966, becoming the only driver, as of 2006, to win the Formula One World Championship in a car carrying his own name (cf Surtees, Hill and Fittipaldi Automotive). In 1967, the title went to Brabham's team mate, New Zealander Denny Hulme. Hulme had better reliability through the year, possibly due to Jack Brabham's desire to try new parts first. The Brabham team took the constructors' world championship in both years.

Hulme left for McLaren in 1968 and was replaced by Austrian Jochen Rindt. A more powerful version of the Repco V8 was produced to maintain competitiveness against Ford's new Cosworth DFV, but proved very unreliable. The Repco project had always been hindered by the lengthy lines of communication between the UK and Australia, which made correcting problems very difficult. The car was fast — Rindt set pole position twice during the season — but Brabham and Rindt finished only three races between them, and ended the year having scored just ten points.

Brabham bought Cosworth DFV engines for the 1969 season. Rindt left for Lotus and was replaced by Jacky Ickx, who had a strong second half to the season, winning in Germany and Canada, after Jack Brabham was sidelined by a testing accident. Ickx finished second in the drivers' championship, with 37 points to Jackie Stewart's 63. Brabham himself took a couple of pole positions and two top three finishes, but did not finish half the races. The team were second in the constructors' championship, aided by second places at Monaco and Watkins Glen scored by Piers Courage, driving a Brabham for the Frank Williams Racing Cars privateer squad.

Jack Brabham intended to retire at the end of the 1969 season and sold his share in the team to Tauranac. However, Rindt's late decision to remain with Lotus meant that Brabham drove for another year. He took his last win in the opening race of the 1970 season and competed at the front throughout the year, although his challenge was blunted by repeated mechanical failures. Aided by number two driver Rolf Stommelen, the team came fourth in the constructors' championship.

Ron Tauranac (1971)

Brabham BT34. Graham Hill took his final Formula One win in the unique 'lobster claw'.
Brabham BT34. Graham Hill took his final Formula One win in the unique 'lobster claw'.

Tauranac signed veteran double world champion Graham Hill and the young Australian Tim Schenken to drive for the 1971 season. Tauranac designed the unusual ‘lobster claw’ BT34, featuring twin radiators mounted ahead of the front wheels, a single example of which was built for Hill. Although Hill took his final Formula One win in the non-championship BRDC International Trophy at Silverstone, the team scored only seven championship points.

Tauranac, an engineer first and foremost, started to feel his Formula One budget of around £100,000 was a gamble he could not afford to take on his own and began to look around for an experienced business partner. He eventually sold Brabham at the end of 1971 to British businessman Bernie Ecclestone, Jochen Rindt's former manager and erstwhile owner of the Connaught team. Tauranac stayed on as designer and to run the factory.

Bernie Ecclestone (1972-1987)

The Brabham BT49 competed over four seasons, winning one championship.
The Brabham BT49 competed over four seasons, winning one championship.

Tauranac left Brabham early in the 1972 season after Ecclestone made several changes to the running of the business without consulting him. Ecclestone has since said that "In retrospect, the relationship was never going to work", noting that "[Tauranac and I] both take the view: 'Please be reasonable, do it my way'". Pole position for Argentinian driver Carlos Reutemann at his home race at Buenos Aires and a victory in the non-championship Interlagos Grand Prix were the highlights of an aimless year, during which the team ran three different models. For the 1973 season, Ecclestone promoted engineer Gordon Murray to the position of chief designer. The young South African produced the triangular cross-section BT42, with which Reutemann scored two podium finishes and finished seventh in the drivers' championship.

In the 1974 season Reutemann took the first three victories of his Formula One career, and Brabham's first since 1970. The team finished a close fifth in the constructors' championship, fielding the much more competitive BT44s. After a strong finish to the 1974 season, many observers felt the team were favourites to win the 1975 title. The year started well, with an emotional first win for Brazilian driver Carlos Pace at the Interlagos circuit in his native São Paulo. Over the season, tyre wear frequently slowed the cars, and the initial promise was not maintained. Pace took another two podiums and finished sixth in the championship; while five podium finishes, including a dominant win in the 1975 German Grand Prix, placed Reutemann third. The team was ranked third in the constructors' table at the end of the year.

While rival teams Lotus and McLaren relied on the Cosworth DFV engine from the late 1960s to the early 1980s, Ecclestone sought a competitive advantage for his team. Despite the increasing success of Murray’s nimble Cosworth-powered cars, Ecclestone signed a deal with Italian motor manufacturer Alfa Romeo to use their large and powerful flat-12 engine from the 1976 season. The engines were free, but they rendered the new BT45s, now in red Martini Racing livery, unreliable and overweight. The 1976 and 1977 seasons saw Brabham fall toward the back of the field again. Reutemann negotiated a release from his contract before the end of the 1976 season and signed with Ferrari. He was replaced at Brabham for 1977 by Ulsterman John Watson. The team lost Carlos Pace early in the 1977 season when he was killed in a light aircraft accident.

For the 1978 season Murray’s radical BT46 featured several new technologies to overcome the weight and packaging difficulties caused by the Alfa engines. Ecclestone signed then two-time Formula One world champion Niki Lauda, whose US$1 million salary was met with sponsorship from the Italian dairy products company Parmalat. 1978 was the year of the dominant Lotus 79 ‘wing car’, which used aerodynamic ground effect to stick to the track when cornering, but Lauda won two races in the BT46, one with the controversial 'B' or 'fan car' version (see below).

The partnership with Alfa Romeo ended during the 1979 season, the team's first with young Brazilian Nelson Piquet. Murray designed the full-ground effect BT48 around a rapidly developed and unreliable new Alfa Romeo V12 engine and incorporated an effective carbon-carbon braking system — a technology Brabham pioneered in 1976 (see below). However, the team had not understood the effect of movement of the aerodynamic centres of pressure on such a car and dropped to eighth in the constructors' table by the end of the season. Alfa Romeo started testing their own Formula One car during the season, prompting Ecclestone to revert to Cosworth DFV engines, a move Murray described as being "like having a holiday". The new, lighter, Cosworth-powered BT49 was introduced before the end of the year at the 1979 Canadian Grand Prix; where after practice Lauda announced his immediate retirement from driving, later explaining that he "was no longer getting any pleasure from driving round and round in circles".

The team used the BT49 over four seasons. In the 1980 season Piquet scored three wins and the team took third in the constructors' championship. This season saw the introduction of the blue and white livery that the cars would wear through several changes of sponsor, until the team's demise in 1992. By now the team fully understood ground effect and further developed the BT49C for the 1981 season, incorporating a hydropneumatic suspension system to avoid ride-height limitations intended to reduce downforce (see below). Piquet, who had developed a close working relationship with Murray took the drivers' title with three wins, albeit amid accusations of cheating (see below).

Brabham had tested a BMW 4-cylinder M10 turbocharged engine in the summer of 1981. For the 1982 season a new car, the BT50, was designed around the BMW engine which, like the Repco engine 16 years previously, was based on a road car engine block. Brabham continued to run the Cosworth-powered BT49D in the early part of the season while reliability and driveability issues with the BMW units were resolved. The relationship came close to ending, with the German manufacturer insisting that Brabham use their engine, while Ecclestone maintained that the BMW-powered cars were not reliable enough. The turbo car took its first win at the 1982 Canadian Grand Prix. In the 1983 season, Piquet was the first driver to win the Formula One drivers' world championship with a turbo-powered car. Piquet scored a sequence of good results from mid-season to take the championship lead from Renault's Alain Prost at the last race of the year, the South African Grand Prix. The team did not win the constructor's championship in either 1981 or 1983, despite Piquet's success. Riccardo Patrese was the only driver other than Piquet to win a race for Brabham in this period - the drivers in the second car contributed only a fraction of the team's points in each of these championship seasons.

Piquet took the team’s last win at the 1985 French Grand Prix before reluctantly leaving for Williams at the end of the season. After seven years and two world championships, he felt he was worth more than Ecclestone's salary offer for 1986. During the 1986 Formula One season, Murray's radical long and low BT55, with its BMW engine tilted over to allow clean airflow to the rear wing, scored only two points; the engine did not perform well in this orientation and the gearbox from Weissman was unreliable. Italian Elio de Angelis became the Formula One team's first fatality when he was killed in a testing accident at Paul Ricard. Murray, who had largely taken over the running of the team as Ecclestone became more involved with his role at the Formula One Constructors Association, left Brabham at the end of the year to join McLaren.

From the 1987 season FISA progressively reduced the turbo boost pressure allowed in Formula One, before banning turbocharged engines altogether for 1989. BMW, whose programme was based around turbocharged versions of their road engines, withdrew from Formula One after the 1987 season. Unable to locate a suitable engine supplier, Ecclestone withdrew the team from Formula One at the beginning of 1988. He eventually sold MRD for £2 million. It passed through the hands of FIAT before ending up in the ownership of Swiss businessman Joachim Luhti.

Joachim Luhti (1989)

The Brabham team missed the 1988 season during the change of ownership, although MRD did produce a prototype mid-engined racing saloon, the BT57, for Alfa Romeo. The new BT58, powered by an engine from Judd (originally another of Jack Brabham's companies), was produced for the 1989 Formula One season. Italian driver Stefano Modena was signed alongside the more experienced Martin Brundle. The team finished in eighth place, and Modena took the team's last podium: a third place at the Monaco Grand Prix.

Middlebridge Racing (1989 - 1992)

After the arrest of Luhti in mid-1989 on tax evasion charges, ownership of the team was disputed. Middlebridge Group Limited, a Japanese engineering firm which was already involved with established Formula 3000 team Middlebridge Racing, ended up with control of the team for the 1990 Formula One season. They paid for their purchase using £1 million loaned to them by finance company Landhurst Leasing. Nonetheless, the team was underfunded and would only score a few more points finishes in its last three seasons. Jack Brabham's youngest son, David raced for the Formula One team for a short time in 1990, and was followed by another son of a former Brabham driver and World Champion when Damon Hill joined the team in 1992. Hill was drafted into the team after Giovanna Amati, the last woman to attempt to race in Formula One, was dropped when her sponsorship failed to materialise.

The team's final cars were designed by Argentine Sergio Rinland and continued to use Judd engines, except for 1991 when Yamaha engines were used. In the 1992 season the cars rarely qualified for races. Hill gave the team its final finish, at the Hungarian Grand Prix, where he crossed the finish line four laps behind the winner. Before the end of the season the team ran out of funds and collapsed. Middlebridge Group Limited had been unable to continue making repayments against the £6 million ultimately provided by Landhurst Leasing, which went into administration. The case was investigated by the Serious Fraud Office. Landhurst's managing directors were found guilty of corruption and imprisoned, having accepted bribes for further loans to Middlebridge. It was one of four teams to leave Formula One that year. (cf March Engineering, Fondmetal and Andrea Moda Formula). Although there was talk of reviving the team for the following year, its assets passed to Landhurst Leasing and were auctioned by the company's receivers in 1993, including the team's factory, which is still used for motorsport purposes today - it is owned by Trevor Carlin, and houses the Carlin DPR GP2 team.

Motor Racing Developments

Brabhams were bought by other teams for use in F1 (Piers Courage, 1969)
Brabhams were bought by other teams for use in F1 ( Piers Courage, 1969)

The company that Jack Brabham and Ron Tauranac set up in 1961 to design and build customer formula racing cars was called Motor Racing Developments (MRD). Initially Brabham and Tauranac each held 50 percent of the shares.

From 1963 to 1965, MRD was not directly involved in Formula One, where the works entry was run by a separate company, Jack Brabham's Brabham Racing Organisation. Like other customers, BRO bought its cars from MRD, initially at £3,000 per car, although it did not pay for development parts. MRD often ran works cars in other formulae. During this period the cars in all formulae were usually known as "Repco Brabhams", not because of the Repco engines used between 1966 and 1968, but because of a smaller-scale sponsorship deal through which the Australian company had been providing parts to Jack Brabham since his Cooper days.

Tauranac was not happy with his distance from the Formula One operation and suggested that he was no longer interested in producing cars for Formula One under this arrangement. Brabham investigated other chassis suppliers for BRO, however the two reached an agreement and from 1966 MRD was much more closely involved in this category. After Jack Brabham sold his shares in MRD to Ron Tauranac at the end of 1969, the works Formula One team was MRD, although the name on the official entry list sometimes varied in line with sponsorship deals. At the end of 1971 MRD was sold to Bernie Ecclestone, who retained the Brabham ‘brand’, as did subsequent owners.

Under Brabham and Tauranac in the mid-1960s, MRD was the largest manufacturer of single-seat racing cars in the world, and by 1970 had built over 500 cars. Brabhams were used by many teams in Formula One, most successfully by Frank Williams Racing Cars and the Rob Walker Racing Team. The 1965 British Grand Prix saw seven Brabhams compete, only two of them from the works team, and there were usually four or five at championship Grands Prix throughout that season. The firm built scores of cars for the lower formulae each year, peaking with 89 cars in 1966. Brabham had the reputation of providing customers with cars of a standard equal to those used by the works team, which worked ‘ out of the box’. The company provided a high degree of support to its customers - including Jack Brabham helping customers set up their cars. Although the production of customer cars continued briefly under Bernie Ecclestone’s ownership, Ecclestone believed the company needed to focus on Formula One to succeed. The last production customer Brabhams were the Formula Two BT40 and Formula Three BT41 of 1973, although Ecclestone sold ex-works Formula One BT44Bs to RAM Racing as late as 1976.

Racing history - other formulae

The Brabham BT18-Honda completely dominated Formula Two in 1966
The Brabham BT18-Honda completely dominated Formula Two in 1966
Many top drivers used Brabham F3 cars in their early careers. (James Hunt, 1969)
Many top drivers used Brabham F3 cars in their early careers. ( James Hunt, 1969)


Brabham cars competed at the Indianapolis 500 from the mid 1960s to the early 1970s. After an abortive project in 1962, MRD was commissioned in 1964 to build an Indycar chassis powered by an American Offenhauser engine. The resultant BT12 chassis was raced by Jack Brabham as the Zink-Urschel Trackburner at the 1964 event and retired on lap 77 with a fuel tank problem. The car was entered again in 1965 and 1966, taking a third place for Jim McElreath on the latter occasion, although MRD was not involved. From 1968 to 1970 Brabham returned to Indianapolis, at first with a 4.2 litre version of the Repco V8 the team used in Formula One, before reverting to the Offenhauser engine for 1970. MRD's best finish was a fifth place for Peter Revson in 1969. The Brabham-Offenhauser combination was used until 1972. Although not successful at Indianapolis, McElreath won four USAC races over 1965 and 1966 in the BT12. The Dean Van Lines Special in which Mario Andretti won the 1965 United States Automobile Club (USAC) national championship was a direct copy of this car, by Andretti's crew Clint Brawner. Revson won a USAC race in 1969, using the Repco engine.

Formula Two

In the 1960s and early 1970s, Formula One drivers often competed in Formula Two as well. In 1966 MRD produced the BT18 for the lower category, with a Honda engine acting as a stressed component. The car was extremely successful, winning 11 consecutive Formula Two races in the hands of the Formula One pairing of Brabham and Hulme. Cars were entered by MRD and not by the Brabham Racing Organisation, avoiding a direct conflict with Repco, their Formula One engine supplier.

Formula Three

The first Formula Three Brabham was the BT9 in 1964, but it was not until 1965 that the marque really took off in the category. The BT15 was a highly successful design, 58 of which were sold, winning championships in the UK, Italy, Sweden and Denmark. The cars very much followed the design route of their Formula One and Formula Two cousins, combining spaceframe chassis and outboard suspension. Indeed, in the mid 1960s Formulas Three and Two both used 1 litre production-derived engines and the chassis were often very closely related. Further developments of the same concept, featuring the addition of wings, were highly competitive up until 1971. 1972's BT38C was Brabham's first production monocoque and the first not designed by Tauranac. It was less popular and successful than its predecessors. The angular BT41 was the final Formula Three Brabham.

Formula Junior

The first Brabham chassis was the prototype MRD designed for Formula Junior, which at that time provided an entry level of racing. Retrospectively labelled the BT1 the car proved immediately competitive in the hands of Australian amateur racer Gavin Youl. The BT2-series were productionised versions of this prototype. Brabham continued to produce cars for this category until it ended in 1963.


Tauranac did not enjoy designing sportscars and could only spare a small amount of his time from MRD's very successful single-seater business. Only 14 sportscars were built between 1961 and 1972, out of a total production of almost 600 chassis. The BT8A was the only one built in any numbers, and was quite successful in national level racing in the UK in 1964 and 1965. The design was "stretched" in 1966 to become the one-off BT17, originally fitted with the 4.3 litre version of the Repco engine for Can-Am racing. It was rapidly abandoned by MRD with engine reliability problems.

Technical innovation

The 1978 BT46B ‘Fan car’ won its only race before being banned.
The 1978 BT46B ‘Fan car’ won its only race before being banned.

Brabham was often considered a conservative team in the Brabham-Tauranac era of the 1960s. The team won the 1966 and 1967 championships with traditional spaceframe cars six years after Lotus introduced monocoque chassis to Formula One. Designer Tauranac insists that the spaceframe chassis was far easier to repair and while willing and able to innovate - the BT1 was the first racing car to feature an adjustable anti-roll bar, for example - would only do so for good reason.

Early Brabhams went well on fast tracks; a fact Tauranac attributes in part to MRD’s pioneering use of wind tunnel testing to hone their aerodynamics. As early as 1963, tests in the Motor Industry Research Association tunnel taught the team to keep the nose of the car as close to the track as possible, to minimise aerodynamic lift. Brabham was one of the first teams to use trim tabs at the front of the car to control lift. They appeared as early as 1962 on the Formula Junior car and at the 1968 Belgian Grand Prix Brabham were the first, alongside Ferrari, to introduce full width rear wings for downforce, which increases grip.

The team's most fertile period of technical innovation came in the 1970s and 1980s when Gordon Murray became technical director. During 1976, the team introduced carbon-carbon brakes to Formula One, which promised reduced unsprung weight and better stopping performance. The initial versions used reinforced carbon-carbon composite pads and a steel disc faced with carbon pucks. The technology was not reliable at first. In 1976 Carlos Pace crashed at 180 mph at the Österreichring circuit after heat buildup in the brakes boiled the brake fluid, leaving him with no way of stopping the car. By 1979 Brabham had developed an effective carbon-carbon braking system, combining structural carbon discs with carbon brake pads.

The Brabham BT46B of 1978, also known as the 'Fan car', generated an immense level of downforce by means of a fan, claimed to assist engine cooling, which sucked air from beneath the car. The car only raced once in the Formula One World Championship, Niki Lauda winning the 1978 Swedish Grand Prix, before a loophole in the regulations was closed by the FIA.

Murray started using lightweight carbon fibre composite panels to stiffen Brabham's aluminium alloy monocoques from 1979. He was reluctant to built the entire chassis from composite materials until he completely understood how they worked, an understanding achieved in part through an instrumented crash test of a BT49 chassis. The team did not follow McLaren's 1981 MP4/1 with their own fully composite chassis until the 'lowline' BT55 in 1986, the last team to do so.

For the 1981 season FISA introduced a 6 cm minimum ride height for the cars, intended to slow them in corners by limiting the downforce created by aerodynamic ground effect. Gordon Murray devised a hydropneumatic suspension system for the BT49C, which allowed the car to settle to a much lower ride height at speed. Brabham were accused of cheating by other teams, although Murray believes that the system was legal. No action was taken against the team and others soon produced systems with similar effects. See Brabham BT49.

At the 1982 British Grand Prix Brabham reintroduced the idea of re-fuelling and changing the car's tyres during the race, to allow their drivers to sprint away at the start of races on a light fuel load and soft tyres. In tests at Donington Park the week before the race the pit crew were reported to "have refuelled and re-tyred the car in only 14 seconds" The team made good use of the tactic in 1982 and 1983. Refuelling was banned for 1984, reappearing in 1994, but tyre changes have remained part of Formula One.


The fan car and hydropneumatic suspension exploited loopholes in the sporting regulations. In the early 1980s Brabham was accused of going further and breaking the regulations. During 1981, Piquet's first championship year, rumours circulated of illegal underweight Brabham chassis. Driver Jacques Lafitte claimed that the cars were fitted with heavily ballasted bodywork before being weighed at scrutineering. The accusation was denied by Brabham's management. No formal protest was made against the team and no action was taken against them by the sporting authorities.

Ecclestone's position as president of the Formula One Constructors Association (FOCA) left his team open to accusations of having advance warning of rule changes. Ecclestone denies the team benefitted in this way and Murray has noted that, contrary to this view, at the end of 1982 the team had to abandon their new BT51 car, built on the basis that ground effect would be permitted in 1983. When ground effect was then banned for the 1983 season by the FIA, Brabham had to design and build a second, entirely different, car (BT52) in only three months. At the end of the 1983 season, Renault and Ferrari, both beaten to the drivers' championship by Piquet, protested that the Research Octane Number (RON) of the team's fuel was above the legal limit of 102. FISA declared that a figure of up to 102.9 was permitted under the rules, and that Brabham had not exceeded this limit.

Championship results

Results achieved by the 'works' Brabham team. Bold results indicate a championship win.

Season Entrant Car Tyres Engine Drivers Constructors Championship
1962 Brabham Racing Organisation Lotus 21
Brabham BT3
Dunlop Coventry-Climax Jack Brabham 7th (9 points)
1963 Brabham Racing Organisation Brabham BT3
Brabham BT7
Lotus 25
Dunlop Coventry-Climax Jack Brabham
Dan Gurney
3rd (28 points)
1964 Brabham Racing Organisation Brabham BT7
Brabham BT11
Dunlop Coventry-Climax Jack Brabham
Dan Gurney
4th (33 points)
1965 Brabham Racing Organisation Brabham BT7
Brabham BT11
Coventry-Climax Jack Brabham
Dan Gurney
Denny Hulme
Giancarlo Baghetti
3rd (27 pts)
1966 Brabham Racing Organisation Brabham BT19
Brabham BT20
Brabham BT22
Goodyear Repco Jack Brabham
Denny Hulme
Champion (42 pts)
1967 Brabham Racing Organisation Brabham BT19
Brabham BT20
Brabham BT24
Goodyear Repco Jack Brabham
Denny Hulme
Champion (37 pts)
1968 Brabham Racing Organisation Brabham BT24
Brabham BT26
Goodyear Repco Jack Brabham
Jochen Rindt
Dan Gurney
8th (10 pts)
1969 Motor Racing Developments Brabham BT26/A Goodyear Cosworth DFV Jack Brabham
Jacky Ickx
2nd (51 pts)
1970 Motor Racing Developments Brabham BT33 Goodyear Cosworth DFV Jack Brabham
Rolf Stommelen
4th (35 pts)
1971 Motor Racing Developments Brabham BT33
Brabham BT34
Goodyear Cosworth DFV Graham Hill
Tim Schenken
Dave Charlton
9th (5 pts)
1972 Motor Racing Developments Brabham BT33
Brabham BT34
Brabham BT37
Goodyear Cosworth DFV Graham Hill
Carlos Reutemann
Wilson Fittipaldi
9th (7 pts)
1973 Motor Racing Developments
Ceramica Pagnossin Team MRD
Brabham BT37
Brabham BT42
Goodyear Cosworth DFV Carlos Reutemann
Wilson Fittipaldi
Andrea de Adamich
Rolf Stommelen
John Watson
4th (49 pts)
1974 Motor Racing Developments Brabham BT42
Brabham BT44
Goodyear Cosworth DFV Carlos Reutemann
Carlos Pace
Rikky von Opel
Richard Robarts
Teddy Pilette
5th (35 pts)
1975 Martini Racing Brabham BT44B Goodyear Cosworth DFV Carlos Reutemann
Carlos Pace
2nd (54 pts)
1976 Martini Racing Brabham BT45 Goodyear Alfa Romeo Carlos Reutemann
Carlos Pace
Rolf Stommelen
Larry Perkins
9th (9 pts)
1977 Martini Racing Brabham BT45/B Goodyear Alfa Romeo Carlos Pace
John Watson
Hans Stuck
Giorgio Francia
5th (27 pts)
1978 Parmalat Racing Team Brabham BT45C
Brabham BT46/B/C
Goodyear Alfa Romeo Niki Lauda
John Watson
Nelson Piquet
3rd (53 pts)
1979 Parmalat Racing Team Brabham BT46
Brabham BT48
Brabham BT49
Goodyear Alfa Romeo
Cosworth DFV
Niki Lauda
Nelson Piquet
Ricardo Zuniño
8th (6 pts)
1980 Parmalat Racing Team Brabham BT49/B Michelin Cosworth DFV Nelson Piquet
Ricardo Zuniño
Hector Rebaque
3rd (55 pts)
1981 Parmalat Racing Team Brabham BT49/B/C Goodyear Cosworth DFV Nelson Piquet
Hector Rebaque
Ricardo Zuniño
2nd (61 pts)
1982 Parmalat Racing Team Brabham BT49D
Brabham BT50
Goodyear Cosworth DFV
Nelson Piquet
Riccardo Patrese
2nd (76 pts)
1983 Fila Sport Brabham BT52/B Michelin BMW Nelson Piquet
Riccardo Patrese
3rd (72 pts)
1984 MRD International Brabham BT53 Michelin BMW Nelson Piquet
Teo Fabi
Corrado Fabi
Manfred Winkelhock
4th (38 pts)
1985 Motor Racing Developments Ltd Brabham BT54 Pirelli BMW Nelson Piquet
Marc Surer
François Hesnault
5th (26 pts)
1986 Motor Racing Developments Ltd Brabham BT54
Brabham BT55
Pirelli BMW Elio de Angelis
Ricardo Patrese
Derek Warwick
9th (2 pts)
1987 Motor Racing Developments Ltd Brabham BT56 Goodyear BMW Ricardo Patrese
Andrea de Cesaris
Stefano Modena
8th(10 pts)
1989 Motor Racing Developments Brabham BT58 Pirelli Judd Martin Brundle
Stefano Modena
9th (8 pts)
1990 Motor Racing Developments Brabham BT58
Brabham BT59
Pirelli Judd Stefano Modena
David Brabham
Gregor Foitek
10th (2 pts)
1991 Motor Racing Developments Ltd Brabham BT59Y
Brabham BT60Y
Pirelli Yamaha Martin Brundle
Mark Blundell
9th (3 pts)
1992 Motor Racing Developments Ltd Brabham BT60B Goodyear Judd Eric van de Poele
Giovanna Amati
Damon Hill
NC (0 pts)
Preceded by:
Formula One Constructors' Champion
1966- 1967
Succeeded by:
Motor Racing Developments

Formula One: BT3 | BT7 | BT19 | BT20 | BT23 | BT24 | BT26 | BT33 | BT34 | BT37 | BT39 | BT42 | BT44/B | BT45 | BT46/B/C | BT48 | BT49/C/D | BT50 | BT51 | BT52 | BT53 | BT54 | BT55 | BT56 | BT58 | BT59/Y | BT60

Indianapolis 500/USAC: BT12 | BT25 | BT32

Formula Two: BT10 | BT11/A | BT16 | BT18 | BT23 | BT23C | BT30 | BT36 | BT38 | BT40 |

Formula Atlantic: BT23F/G | BT29 | BT35A/B | BT38B | BT40

Formula Three: BT9 | BT15 | BT16A | BT18A | BT21 | BT21B | BT21X | BT28 | BT35C | BT38C | BT41

Formula Junior: BT1 | BT2 | BT6

Other single seaters: BT4 | BT7A | BT14 | BT18B | BT21A | BT21C | BT22 | BT23A | BT23B | BT23D | BT23E | BT30X | BT31 | BT35X | BT36X | BT43

Sportscars: BT5 | BT8A | BT17

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