People come and people go in Formula One, just like they do anywhere else. That includes famous names like Brabham and Ecclestone, but the two could be making their way back into the sport.
According to AutoWeek, former F1 driver David Brabham (son of the three-time world champion Jack Brabham) could be mounting an effort to put his family name back on the grid – with a little help from Bernie Ecclestone.
First, a little history. Australian driver Jack Brabham competed in Formula One in the 1950s and 60s, winning three world championships and starting his own team under his own name in 1960. Bernie Ecclestone bought the team in 1971, leveraging his status as a team owner to form the Formula One Constructors Association (along with Frank Williams, Colin Chapman, and Max Mosley, among others). Together Ecclestone and Mosley secured the commercial rights to the series from the FIA (over which Mosley would later become president), putting Bernie in the position he held as F1 supremo until Liberty Media acquired the rights and showed him the door.
Ecclestone sold Brabham in 1988 as he climbed his way up, but the team ultimately collapsed in 1992. Several attempts have been made to revive the name, but with Ecclestone now unencumbered and Jack’s son David on board, this one could actually take off. The effort ostensibly hinges on the billionaire Ecclestone buying the Force India team that’s now in the process of rebranding as its owner Vijya Mallya fights legal battles of his own. He would then relaunch the team together with David under the Brabham banner.
Back in May, former F1 driver turned Sky Sports commentator Martin Brundle reportedly asked Ecclestone about the emerging rumors, to which (according to MSN Sports) Bernie said: “We’ve given it a lot of thought, be ready because we’re going to need a driver. Why not?”
Three months later, David Brabham (himself a former Le Mans winner) was a bit more cagey when speaking with AutoWeek: “Brabham is a brand with over 69 years of racing heritage and it is our intention to see the name back on track,” said David, who recently mounted a crowdfunding effort to revive the team, raising $300,000 from fans but failing to attract sufficient corporate support. “Since Project Brabham was launched, we have received a lot of enquiries from different parties who have expressed an interest in licensing the name and we are evaluating a number of options. We have no further comment.”