Banbury, Oxfordshire, UK - Friday 7 March, 2014
Sir Jack Seals Final F1 Victory, On This Day 1970
On this day 44 years ago, Sir Jack Brabham took one last historic Formula 1 World Championship race victory to seal his 14th career Grand Prix win in the opening 1970 season round, the South African Grand Prix. Beating Denny Hulme and Sir Jackie Stewart by a comfortable margin in his Brabham BT33, today sees Sir Jack become the oldest surviving race winner.
Although remaining a dominant force throughout his final F1 season, six retirements blighted Sir Jack’s chances of scoring a fourth championship crown. He finished an eventual fifth in the Driver standings while Brabham-Ford ranked fourth in the Constructors’ table.
The triple F1 Champion, who remains the only driver to win a world title in a car of his own construction in 1966, retired at the end of the 1970 season with a record of 14 F1 wins, 31 podiums, 13 pole positions and 12 fastest laps across 126 Grand Prix starts from 1955 to 1970.
Signing off from F1 at the age of 44 with two Constructors’ titles for the Brabham marque, Sir Jack sold his team share to Ron Tauranac. Taken over by Bernie Ecclestone in 1972, Brabham won two further World Championships with Nelson Piquet, including the first with a turbo charged car - the Brabham BT52 BMW - in 1983.
Following a consecutive switch of owners after Eccelstone’s sale of the team in 1988, Middlebridge Group Limited gained control in 1990 and the Brabham brand went full circle, as Sir Jack’s youngest son David made his F1 debut. But with the then under-funded outfit struggling to keep pace with its rivals, he was afforded a single season before the team ceased competition in 1992.
Building on Sir Jack’s early pioneering influence, the marque became renowned for its engineering excellence and went on to introduce innovations such as in-race refuelling, hydropneumatic suspension and carbon-carbon brakes, which are still used in F1 today.
Meanwhile, the legacy built by Sir Jack through two golden eras of the sport continues to this day. David continues to compete in the highest sportscar ranks while third generation drivers Matthew and Sam are rapidly carving out their own successful careers, demonstrating the family’s DNA of delivering a calm and thoughtful approach, unfaltering focus and determination to success on the racetrack.
On yet another historic day for the Brabham family, David commented: “It is amazing to think it is 44 years since my father won his last Grand Prix in South Africa, one of the few races I went to as a child. Jack’s pioneering spirit and inspirational ways helped to build the foundations of what Grand Prix racing is today.
“If Jack had not gone off from the lead at the last corner in Monaco, or run out of fuel on the last lap while leading the British Grand Prix, he could have been very close to a fourth World Championship. We as a family are extremely proud of his achievements, which not only inspired a generation, but also inspired his children and grandchildren to achieve their own success.”
Image © LAT Photographic www.latphoto.co.uk