Banbury, Oxfordshire, UK - Friday 31 October, 2014

Sir Jack Brabham Memorial: A Letter From FIA President, Jean Todt

Regretfully unable to attend the Sir Jack Brabham Memorial on Friday 24 October at Silverstone, FIA President Jean Todt sent this letter to the Brabham family.

My Dear Friends,

I regret that I cannot be with you today at this service in commemoration of Sir Jack, but I very much wished to once again pass on my condolences to Lady Margaret, Geoff, Gary and David and also to offer a few thoughts on Jack’s remarkable life and achievements.

It takes a great deal of determination to pursue a dream half way around the world, and to then make that dream a reality is an even greater challenge, but Jack’s passion for racing and a firm belief in his abilities as a racer, and perhaps more importantly, as an engineer, were sufficient to encompass both.

The results of that resolve were of course spectacular. Consecutive Formula One World Championship titles in 1959 and 1960 at the wheel of Cooper cars and seven grand prix wins across those two seasons, are not only testament to his outstanding talent as a driver but also to his ability to push a team forward, to extract the maximum not only from himself but from those around him and, often through his own labours, from the car underneath him.

And ultimately, it is for this thoroughly rare combination of skills for which Jack will best be remembered.

His conviction that there had to be a better way of building racing cars and the keenness of mind that allowed him and his partner Ron Tauranac to successfully exploit the Formula One regulations in place at the time led to the most remarkable of all of Jack’s achievements, building and racing a car to the world championship title.

It remains a feat unmatched in grand prix racing and I am sure it will continue to be so.

There is, however, a life beyond racing and unlike so many of his contemporaries, Jack was fortunate enough to enjoy a long and fruitful career after his time as a grand prix racer ended.

He proved to be a fine ambassador for motor sport and was of course an inspiration to generations of Australian racing drivers after him.

He also enjoyed a rich and rewarding family life and I would like once again express my condolences to Lady Margaret and to Geoff, Gary and David, whom I know he was enormously proud of.

Sir Jack Brabham was a man of great gifts but loquaciousness was perhaps not one of them and he was known a man of few but always valuable words. In defining the incredible legacy Sir Jack leaves behind I will be similarly succinct: it is truly legendary. And in summing up the man I will simply add: I was enormously proud to know him.

Thank you, and please enjoy the rest of this celebration of the life of a great man.

Jean Todt
FIA President