Brabham back in F1, a new name for Force India?

David Brabham, Former F1 driver and son of 3 time world F1 champion Jack Brabham is rumoured to be in talks with Bernie Ecclestone, the former owner of the Brabham F1 team, about bringing the historic name back to F1.

The Australian team were founded in 1960 Jack Brabham and later raced under Bernie Ecclestone’s stewardship. Known for it’s innovative engineering solutions in formula one, particularly when Gordon Murray become chief designer. The Fan car, triangular side pods, pit stops for fuel, low profile chassis to name a few.

The Brabham team won two constructors’ and 4 drivers’ titles in the 1960’s and 1980’s. After, the once mighty name faded into obscurity by the late eighties and disappeared altogether after the 1992 Hungarian Grand Prix with Damon Hill at the wheel.

In 2009, a German automotive supply company, Formtech, claimed it controlled the Brabham team name and filed an official entry for the 2010 Formula 1 season.

But the Brabham family hit back, launching legal action to “protect the family name”. Jack Brabham’s son David, a sports car racing specialist who contested 30 Grands Prix in the 1990’s, said: “Right now this is a very sensitive issue. But, yes, there is the possibility to bring the team back”

David Brabham continued: “For now, we have a predicament behind the scenes, involving the rights of the name. It’s 98 percent resolved, and when it is 100 percent we’ll see what we can do.”

In 2014 David Brabham launched an ambitious crowd-funding campaign, Project Brabham, with the aim of competing initially in the FIA WEC before branching out into other forms of motorsport, including Formula E and Formula 1.

David had high ambition for the project claiming that Brabham Racing will initially compete in the 2015 FIA World Endurance Championship, which included the prestigious Le Mans 24 Hours. The ultimate dream is to bring this same model to Formula 1 and potentially other exciting series such as the FIA Formula E Championship.

In the end the project failed to attract the levels of corporate investment required to proceed and has been in limbo since it’s launch in 2014.

Now the rumours appear to be that former owner Ecclestone is in the market to buy Force India with the aim to potentially rename it Brabham. US publication Autoweek asked David Brabham about the rumour, he said, “Brabham is a brand with over 69 years of racing heritage and it is our intention to see the name back on track.

“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.”

Previous attempts to revive the name have ended badly but this time could we see David endorse such a move with Ecclestone? Let us know if you like the idea of the historic Brabham name back in F1.


10 responses to “Brabham back in F1, a new name for Force India?

  1. 69 years of racing heritage? What? Because Dad entered some races?

    Some of these tenuous links are beyond comical…

    As to introducing pit-stops for refuelling – it’s worth bearing in mind that back when F1 first started, refuelling was a prerequisite of the sport. All that Brabham did was reintroduce the practice in 1982

    As to Brabham returning, why not raise the ghosts of Tyrrell? Or Ligier?

    Or…. Lotus?

    Scratch that last one, it’s already been done and badly too.

    Ultimately, without Jack, Brabham is merely a shell.

    • Don’t really agree..
      – Brabham/Murray re-introduced refuelling to be able to run with a lighter car to be quicker. Pure tactical refuelling. In the beginning it was a necessity simply because the fueltanks were not large enough to last a full race.
      Completly different concept, so yes, it was new what they did.
      – Murray and Piquet were just as important for the Brabham legacy as sir Jack himself was, so up to the 80’s not merely a shell to my opinion. Now it would be though, unless Bernie would be owner, and lets say Nelson would run the team. Then it would still have some links to the past.

  2. The Brabham name is one, and it would be a definite +1 if David managed the team and adds flair and personality. If it is just a rename of the team: leave it, no added value.

    I never understood the “Force India” brand. Except for its owner there is no Indian connection, or at least I never perceived one. I liked the Spyker name better: it had significance in the automotive world. That adventure was a thorough disaster, but still.. Changing the name for the purpose of changing the name: no value.

    On the other hand, brands are something magical and I sometimes don’t understand my own reactions to them (although Machiavelli came close to explaining): I never forgave Prost for destroying the only French name in the field with some value/history: Ligier.

    • The original intent behind the name, other than as you mention the owner, was to tap into India’s growing high tech sector and use FI as a platform for them to showcase their technology or get known worldwide through their sponsorship of the team. Didn’t work out that way as I suspect most Indian company’s knew what Mallaya was – a scam artist.

  3. Trying to re-create the past by using a well know name strikes me as nothing more as a marketing scheme – just like the recent reincarnation of Lotus. The name won’t make your car any better / faster.

  4. This sounds like a Genii-Lotus again. I don’t think that Eccleston will buy the team for himself, but helps somebody or an investment company to acquire Force India.
    For the team it is probably a good thing they get a new owner. And I see that you do not want to keep the name Force India.
    The interesting question is, who is putting the money on the table to buy the team?

  5. Brabham is a name that very few of us recognize while the majority could care less if it was called that or Force India.
    Don’t see Bernie Poundstone buying Force India or any other team for that matter. Still memory of hearing the BT55 coming off the Peraltada curve with the shrill of its BMW 4 cylinder turbo gives me goose bumps.

    • A 4 cylinder single turbo BMW engine was never shrill. In fact, the V6 twin turbo charged engines were never shrill – and I saw the cars in 1986 at both Brands Hatch (Tyre testing and the GP) and at Monza for the GP that year.
      Powerful, baritone and ground shaking undoubtedly but never shrill

  6. India has been for sale for some time. It’s currently overpriced, but when the court cases get closer, the price will drop, as Mallya will be needing cash to stay out of jug in India.

    The Little Man will never run another F1 team. Who in their right mind would work for him? His appalling treatment of the designer and team manager at Brabham are well known. The other teams would take every opportunity to kick him in the goolies. He’d soon discover he’s not got any friends in F1, now he’s not holding the purse strings and can’t offer any favours.

    Who gives a toss about a team’s name? The majority of F1 fans have never heard of Brabham and certainly never seen a Brabham car race. Reviving a name from the distant past doesn’t mean the ‘DNA’ of the marque comes with it. Far better to for a team to create their own history, at least they could sell the name on to some rich fool should they ever need the dosh.

  7. If I wanted to bring back a name from the past for a BRITISH then I would put Vanwall and BRM above Brabham. If I were creating an Aussie team it would be different!

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