THE Brabham name is poised to make its return to motorsport.
David Brabham, the son of three-times Grand Prix driver’s championship title winner Sir Jack Brabham, has overnight launched Brabham Automotive, a potential F1 team owner that will also spawn its own car brand.
The timing is right; F1 teams are only just starting to reveal their cars ahead of 2018 pre-season testing, which starts next week. One of the teams that is yet to say when it will reveal its contender for the 2018 season is the financially strapped, Mercedes-powered Force India, the one that could soon wear the Brabham name if last year’s speculation of a team buyout proves correct.
David Brabham was quoted in the media last year as saying he was keen to get the Brabham name back on the race track. However, it’s believed Brabham Automotive’s strategy will mirror that of McLaren, which established itself on the F1 circuit before spawning a road car division.
The Brabham push is believed to have the backing of a group of US investors keen to help the sport establish a foothold in the US, a potential audience the sport’s new owners, Liberty Media, appear keen to tap. The bid was also linked to former F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone, who was spectacularly ousted from his role with the sport as part of Liberty’s takeover.
Force India flagged last month that a name change ahead of the new season remained a possibility. “If it happens it would be announced ahead of the launch/testing or at the launch,” an unnamed source told the Daily Mail.
Force India’s troubled co-owner, Vijay Mallya, flagged last month that the team was potentially tapped out in terms of its ability to attract advertising support after creating it in 2008 with the aim of one day attracting the sport to a venue in India.
The team was reportedly for sale for as much as £250 million ($A440 million), but rumours suggest the team may have taken a price as low as £150 million.
Sir Jack Brabham was Formula One World Champion in 1959, 1960, and 1966. He also built the cars he raced in, winning one championship in a car that also bore his name.
He died in 2014.
Force India, meanwhile, ended the 2017 F1 season in fourth place.