F1 Legends: Jack Brabham
This Australian racer is notable for the fact that he is the only driver who has won a World Championship in his own car.
However, he is also a true great of the sport who kick-started the growth of motor racing in the Commonwealth nations, with; Denny Hulme, Jody Schekter and Alan Jones all following Brabham in becoming champions.
Brabham was born on the 2nd of April, 1926, in the Australian city of Hurtsville, on the outskirts of Sydney. He started off his racing career by taking part in dirt-track racing, which shaped the way he drove when he eventually began competing in F1. His style was to slide his rear end out of the corners, which became known as ‘tail-out’ driving style, this aligned with his aggressive style made him a ferocious opponent.
His first race was at the British Grand Prix in 1955, but he did not compete in a full season until 1958, having sporadically entered as a privateer throughout 1956 and 1957. The season was a case of what might have been, with one fourth placed finish, at Monaco, the highlight, but a series of finishes narrowly outside the points summed up his season. Better luck however, was on its way.
1959 saw Brabham open up his season with a win at Monaco and followed it up with podiums at the Dutch and French races before his second victory of the season at the British Grand Prix at Aintree, to give him a 13 point lead in the Championship.
The wheels started to come off though, and two retirements at the next two rounds closed his lead up to four points going into the last two races. A podium at Monza gave Brabham a five-and-a-half-point lead and his fourth race at the final round secured him his first Championship victory.
The following year started badly however, with Brabham disqualified for being push started. What followed though was, arguably, his finest series of results as a racing driver. Throughout the following five rounds; Netherlands, Belgium, France, Britain and Portugal were all won by the Australian, to hand him back to back titles. To this day he is only one of only nine drivers to ever do this.
Brabham wanted to set up his own team and this took up much of the next five years. This affected his F1 performances, with his best Championship result in this period being seventh in the 1963 season.
By 1966 though, Brabham, the team, was the place to be and with an inspired Brabham behind the wheel, now aged 40, it was a dangerous combination. He took victory at four rounds; France, Britain, Netherlands and Germany to secure his third title, at the time only the second man to have achieved this feat.
He continued to race till the 1970 season, where he won the opening round in South Africa, before retiring at the end of the season, aged 44.
He is undoubtedly a great and could well remain the only driver to win a Championship in his own car.