Classic F1: The Revolutionaries – Brabham

In 1982, Brabham –lead by the genius of Gordon Murray, implemented a strategy that involved a pit stop for fuel during the race.

By running the car lighter at the start, drivers Nelson Piquet and Ricardo Patrese would be able to run much quicker than the rest of the field and build a lead. Using this time advantage the team would refuel the car and change tyres and allow the cars to finish the race with the same pace advantage.

The idea was unprecedented and extremely advanced relative to the technological possibilities of the times. It took several races before the team were able to showcase exactly how the refuelling system would work. Numerous reliability problems forced the cars out of races before their scheduled stops.


Refuelling became a part of F1 before it was banned at the end of 2009.

In the second half of the 1982 season when the Brabham team had began using the strategy, they managed a fourth and fifth place finish at the Swiss Grand Prix. While the results were disappointing, the potential was clear to see.

The following year, Brabham easily won the driver’s championship with Piquet scoring three wins and five other podiums. There was no turning back for formula one.

Simon Ostler

I am currently training to become a Journalist. I write best when my subject is something I enjoy. I have spent time working with CAR Magazine and Parkers.

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