Sir John Arthur Brabham 'Jack'
|Jack Brabham: 1956 Formula One Season|
|by Jeremy McMullen|
| Jack Brabham would arrive in England in 1955 and would become like that younger brother that was just always hanging around. Those whose company he longed to keep were the people at the Cooper Car Company. However, he would quickly be accepted into the clique as a result of his prowess behind the wheel and a welding torch. The pay was non-existent, but it would help to launch his storied career.|
Brabham left his native Australia and began taking part in a number of events in New Zealand. By the mid-1950s New Zealand would be a popular stopping point for drivers while the European racing season was in its winter break. Competing against some of the best drivers in the world, Brabham quickly showed his abilities and this would eventually lead to him relocating to England with the goal of beginning his Formula One career.
Arriving in England in early 1955, Brabham would make his debut at the Easter Monday races held at Goodwood and would attract the attention of the motor racing community straight-away.
Following the debut, Brabham still needed something steady. Willing to get his hands dirty and exercise his talents as a man possessing an engineering mind, he would just begin showing up at the Cooper Car Company and would start working with the team. There was never anything official, he was just doing it to open the doors of opportunity.
One of those doors of opportunity would be the T40. Brabham believed in the Cooper Bob-tail as a Formula One car. He, and a group of engineers, would set about creating a Formula One version of the car and soon Brabham would make his Formula One debut at the British Grand Prix held at Aintree.
The car was still being finished as the team arrived at the circuit for the race and teething problems would cause problems throughout practice and the race. Still, Brabham would demonstrate the future of motor racing that day, as well as, gave him the confidence that he could really make it in Formula One.
The confidence would really come toward the end of the 1955 season when improvements to the T40 enabled it to earn some very good results in non-championship races in England. Brabham would then take the car with him back to the southern hemisphere. Down under, the car would be quite successful and would enable Brabham to sell the car for a decent price. This was his pay for his service with Cooper.
The selling of the T40 also presented Brabham with an opportunity. Instead of begging his way into a ride or having to work his way into a seat, the money from the sale made it possible for the Aussie to purchase one of the most competitive grand prix cars of the time—a Maserati 250F.
Maserati 250F, chassis number 2509, would be originally delivered to the Owen Racing Organization in 1954. Chassis 2504 would become 2509 following Ron Flockhart's rather embarrassing crash in the British Grand Prix with Prince Bira's Maserati. To make things right the Owen Racing team would swap cars with Bira and 2504 would become 2509.
The damaged car would be repaired and, the following season, would be used by the team extensively as the team built its own chassis. The car would end up being something of a rolling test-bed as the team would replace many of the components that they either didn't like or that would fail over time.
The heavily-modified car would be raced by Ken Wharton, Peter Collins and Mike Hawthorn. In fact, the car would be raced by Mike Hawthorn in the 1956 Argentine Grand Prix and would go on to a fine 3rd place finish. However, upon returning to Europe following the race the Owen Racing Organization would be fully committed to its BRM 25, and therefore, would have little use for the 250F. This made the car available for sale and Brabham would take that as a sign and would snatch the car right up.
Brabham would return to England and would not purchase or take delivery of the Maserati until the Owen Racing team arrived back from Argentina. Therefore, Brabham would be a little rushed to get the car ready for the first Formula One event of the season in Europe, the 4th Glover Trophy race held as part of the Easter Monday races at Goodwood.
Brabham would be intent on getting the car ready in time for the race and would have an entry in the event, as well as, in the Formula Libre Handicap. However, despite his best efforts, the car would not be ready in time and Brabham would not even arrive. Therefore, Brabham's first entry in a race under his own name would have to be delayed a little bit.
On the 21st of April, Jack Brabham and his Maserati 250F would be seen being prepped for the 11th BARC Aintree ‘200'. Finally, the Maserati was ready and he would travel with the car to Aintree to make his debut under his own name.
It would be rather fitting the location for the debut of Brabham under his own team name. It had been at Aintree the previous year that Brabham made his Formula One debut driving for Cooper Car Company. And though it wasn't the British Grand Prix, the BARC Aintree 200 would still be a great test for Brabham with the new car.
The debut would not take place at some street or purpose-built circuit near Aintree but would take place at the same Aintree Racecourse where the famed Grand National had been held for well over one hundred years. Flat a wide open, the 3.0 mile motor racing circuit would be relatively featureless, but the permanent grandstands made it a ready-to-go venue that would be quite popular.
The BARC Aintree event would be somewhat hindered by the fact the British Grand Prix would not be held at the circuit in 1956. Therefore, the entry list would be void of a lot of foreign entries, and therefore, would not represent the best Formula One racing had to offer. Still, there were a number of privateer teams and small British manufacturers that were more than capable that would make their way to the race.
One team, in particular, that would be missing from what the entry form had listed would be the Vandervell Products team. The Vanwalls were beginning to really come online and would have presented a very serious challenge to the rest of the teams and drivers in the field, like Brabham.
Brabham would jump into his Maserati and would head out onto the 3.0 mile circuit for practice. He would not be too happy with the car and it would be abundantly clear in practice. Archie Scott-Brown would set the fastest lap and would take the pole with a lap time of 2:03.8. Mike Hawthorn would be behind the wheel of the BRM 25 and would be just a little over two seconds slower than Scott-Brown around the circuit, but, would still manage to take the 2nd spot on the front row. The final position on the front row would go to Desmond Titterington in another Connaught B-Type.
While the front row would range in times between 2:03.8 and 2:06.2, Brabham would be struggling just to try and get under the 18 second mark. In the end, his best effort would come to a lap of 2:18.2. This would position Brabham all the way down on the fourth row of the grid in the 10th position overall.
As the cars headed out to line up on the grid it certainly didn't seem as though Brabham was too far back from Scott-Brown on pole. But while the physical distance between the two on the grid wasn't all that far apart, it was clear, given the times, that Brabham was not happy with the Maserati.
The engines would come to life and the 67 lap race would be underway. It wouldn't take too long before the fragile grand prix cars began to break around the circuit. The first casualty would be Hawthorn. Brake problems after just 4 laps would bring his race to an end. Reg Parnell and Roy Salvadori would be the next to fall prey to trouble. They would last just 5 laps before exiting.
Though he started much further down in the field and was not at all happy with the Maserati, Brabham would demonstrate a great ability to get on with what he had. He would stay out of trouble throughout the early going and would be steadily making his way up the running order.
The attrition kept coming and would change the outlook of the race dramatically. Scott-Brown had set the pole time and looked strong behind the wheel of the B-Type Connaught. However, his race would come to an end after 13 laps as a result of an engine failure. This seemed to throw everything up in the air and it would be Stirling Moss and Tony Brooks that would capitalize the most.
Brabham would continue to make his way up the running order, especially when Bob Gerard and Bruce Halford departed the scene. Bruce Halford would lose control coming around Waterway and would end up backing his Maserati into the concrete wall right up against the outside edge of the circuit.
Moss would be out front but he would not be the fastest. That honor would end up going to Tony Brooks in the BRM 25. Brooks had proven himself in the non-championship race in Syracuse, Sicily at the end of the 1955 season. In that race he took the surprise victory with the Connaught B-Type.
He would be fastest this day but would be unable to catch Moss who would be consistently quickest throughout the whole of the 67 lap race. Moss' pace would be such over the course of the race that Brabham had the opportunity to pass along his greetings more than once, but, Brabham was still in the race, which is more than could be said for either of the front row starters.
Averaging a little more than 82 mph, Moss would storm his way to the victory to follow up his first World Championship victory at the very same circuit the season before. Tony Brooks would complete his race a lap down to Moss but still in 2nd place. But perhaps the biggest surprise would be Jack Brabham. Despite being well off the pace and more than 3 laps down in the end, he would still manage to come through to finish in 3rd!
It would be an impressive performance for Brabham. Despite his struggles he would still be tenacious and would never give up over the course of the race. This careful drive and determination would be rightly rewarded and would seem to be a bright starting point for Brabham's 1956 season.
Following Brabham's rather lucky result at Aintree he would quickly shift his thoughts toward the next race of the season, and therefore, would have little time to revel in the result. There would be just two weeks before the next non-championship Formula One race on the calendar. And this next race would be important for it would be the 8th edition of the BRDC International Trophy race, which took place at the 2.9 mile Silverstone circuit.
The International Trophy race was set to take place on the 5th of May and would be a rather important race as the British Grand Prix would return to Silverstone for 1956. But the race wouldn't just be important as it would give Brabham and others important track time at Silverstone before the British Grand Prix. No, the race would also attract some of the other top teams in Formula One, like Scuderia Ferrari, and therefore, meant the race would give teams an important look at their pace in comparison to their competition.
Silverstone had become the home of British motor racing following the Second World War. A former bomber training base, Silverstone would first hold an impromptu event in 1947. However, the British Grand Prix would come to Silverstone the very next year and would remain there until 1955. The International Trophy race would be first introduced at Silverstone the year after the British Grand Prix made its visit to the bomber base-turned motor racing circuit. However, the International Trophy race would introduce something very significant to the world when it first race at Silverstone in 1949. Up until that year, circuit layouts had made use of the runways, as well as, the perimeter road. This would all change in 1949, and almost forever. In 1949, the familiar Silverstone layout would first be used and would continue to be used until the 21st century when the old runways found their way back into the circuit's design.
The International Trophy race wasn't without change, however. From the moment it was first introduced, the race consisted of heat races and a final. However, this would change following the 1954 running of the race. From 1955 onwards the format of the race would change to a more conventional distance-oriented event. Therefore, instead of heat races and a final, there would be just one race covering so many laps, or miles.
As it would serve as host to the British Grand Prix in 1956, Silverstone, and the International Trophy race, would attract foreign entries. However, because the Gran Premio di Napoli was set for the following day, the entry list wouldn't include as many foreign entries as may have been expected. Still, Scuderia Ferrari would be present with a couple of entries. Driving one of those cars would be the reigning World Champion Juan Manuel Fangio. The second Ferrari entry would be for talented Brit, Peter Collins.
Heading into practice, the updated Vanwalls were not quite finished. However, they would be quickly completed and sent out. The result would be that Stirling Moss would post the fastest lap time around the 2.9 mile circuit and would take the pole over his Vandervell teammate Harry Schell. It would be an incredible showing for the two Vanwalls. Juan Manuel Fangio would end up in the 3rd position on the front row after posting a time around a second slower than Moss. Mike Hawthorn would take the final position along the front row in the BRM 25.
Despite being behind the wheel of one of the most potent challengers in Formula One at the time Brabham's dislike of the car was only growing as he would only manage to post a lap time of 2:00 around the circuit. This would be some 18 seconds slower than Moss' time and would lead to Brabham being listed down on the fourth row of the grid in the 14th position.
At the start of the race, Moss would get off the line poorly and would be dropped to 3rd just before the first corner. Fangio would be out front with Mike Hawthorn right there with him. Further back in the field, Brabham would find himself amongst a gaggle of cars weaving and maneuvering for position before the first turn.
Reg Parnell, the 1951 winner of the race, would be the first out of the 60 lap event when his gearbox failed prior to completing a single lap. Mike Hawthorn's race would last just 13 laps before he too would be out with magneto problems.
Throughout those first 13 laps of the race Moss would be pushing hard to recover from his poor start. He would be quickly on the pace and would be lapping the circuit within a second of his pole time. This would help him to recover rather quickly and get by Fangio for the lead. Once in the lead, Moss began to draw away from the rest of the field at a rather steady pace.
Brabham, meanwhile, would be struggling further back in the pack and would practically be forgotten about amongst the other tail-end runners.
Out front, Moss would continue to pull away from the field with his consistent fast laps. The lead would only grow when Fangio departed the race with clutch failure after 20 laps. He would then take over Peter Collins' Lancia-Ferrari and would only last about 7 laps longer before clutch problems arose in that Lancia as well.
Moss continued to extend his lead until there was something of a worrying moment when smoke began to appear in the cockpit of the car. He would back off slightly and found the smoke went away. The only question was whether or not his pace after backing off was going to be fast enough for him to hold onto the lead.
It would be around this moment in the race that things would get a little confusing for Brabham. He would still be in the race until around the 37th lap of the race. He would end up disqualified in the end but it is something of a mystery according to known sources what exactly happened.
The reduction in pace would do little to bring the outcome of the race into question. Unlike Brabham, Moss would be closely followed and would have a clear advantage over the rest of the field, which now came down to the two Connaughts of Scott-Brown and Titterington.
In spite of the smoke, Moss would win the race going away. In 1954, Fangio would turn the first lap around Silverstone averaging more than 100 mph. As Moss crossed the line to take the victory he would do so having maintained more than a 100 mph average. As a result of the pace, Moss would win the race by more than a lap over Scott-Brown. There would be a difference of more than 3 laps between himself and Titterington finishing in the 3rd position.
The International Trophy race would be mysterious in more than one way for Brabham. He had a very competitive car, but he just could not come to grips with it, and therefore, get the best out of it. He was growing ever-more frustrated with the car. In fact, he was growing to hate what he had purchased. Still, it was his mount and his means of furthering his Formula One career. Therefore, he would stick with the car and try to make the best of the situation.
It would be a difficult situation for Brabham. He had a car he was growing to hate even more, and yet, it was his only car, his only opportunity, to take part in Formula One races. It would be very frustrating and certainly didn't inspire him any. It wouldn't have been outside the realm of possibilities that he would miss taking part in races because he just didn't like the car, and therefore, knew he wouldn't get the absolute best from the car. This certainly would seem a plausible explanation for the events surrounding the next race on his calendar.
Despite Brabham's frustrations with the Maserati, he had taken the car and survived the Aintree 200 to finish a rather surprising 3rd. The schedule would see Aintree hold yet another non-championship race on the 3.0 mile circuit on the 24th of June. Brabham would have an entry for the race and it would be for him and his Maserati. However, despite having an entry for the race, he would not fulfill it by showing up.
By this point in time during the 1956 season Brabham had returned to drive for Cooper in sportscar and Formula 2 events. After failing to finish the Daily Express Silverstone sportscar race behind the wheel of the Cooper T39, he would go on a string of strong results that would include a 3rd place finish at Goodwood and then a 5th at Goodwood in another race. It seemed clear this heart was being tugged back toward Cooper. And the fact he would not arrive with his own Maserati but would drive for the Cooper team in the Aintree 100 sportscar race in a T39 only added weight to the suggestion that Brabham was growing weary of his Maserati and being on his own—at least at this point in his racing career. By the way, he would finish the race 4th with the T39.
There was just one problem Brabham had, at least for 1956. Cooper Car Company did not have a factory Formula One entry that year. Therefore, Brabham had to look at things realistically. If he wanted to take part in Formula One events he needed to go on entering them under his own name. However, if he wanted to take part in sportscar or Formula 2 events, he could come and offer his services to Cooper. This is exactly what he would do come the weekend of the 14th of July.
Brabham would not take part in the non-championship Formula One race at Aintree at the end of June although he had an entry in the race. However, he would take part in the activities as he would drive a Cooper T39 for the Cooper Car Company. It was certainly clear the costs of entering his own car, especially one that he was growing more and more dissatisfied with, was draining Brabham and luring him back to Cooper. Had he more success, and actually liked driving the Maserati, Brabham may have entered more events with the car. Instead, it certainly seemed abundantly clear he was looking to help his career and dump the car for a better offer.
As the calendar turned to July, the best offer out on the table for Brabham came by way of Cooper and driving their T39 in Formula 2 events. If he desired to take part in Formula One races he would still be relegated to entering his own Maserati. And so, with the British Grand Prix approaching on the 14th of July, Brabham would both come with a car and would meet up with another.
Being that it was the major grand prix of the season in England it was not at all surprising that there would be a number of supporting races fit into the schedule leading up to the running of the British Grand Prix. One of those events would be the 1st RAC British Grand Prix Formula 2 race.
While British manufacturers were still a little ways behind the Italian manufacturers when it came to single-seater grand prix Formula One cars, they would lead the way with the smaller Formula 2 field. The British Grand Prix Formula 2 race would be practically nothing but Lotus-Climax and Cooper-Climax entries. One of those would be a T39 entered by Cooper Car Company for Jack Brabham.
It was clear that Brabham enjoyed the opportunity with Cooper. He would start the 25 lap race from 9th on the grid and would go on to finish the race in 6th place just a single lap down. Although not one of the very best performances of his career in Formula 2, Brabham was able to extract more than enough from the Cooper in order to be competitive. This would be something he really only dreamt about with the Maserati.
But Brabham would have to make do with the equipment he had, and that was a Maserati 250F. And if he could get the car hooked up to his liking he knew he had a car capable of doing more than just competing. The British Grand Prix, the sixth round of the Formula One World Championship, would be his opportunity to prove himself and bolster his Formula One career.
The last time the British Grand Prix had been held at Silverstone Juan Manuel Fangio would take the Mercedes W196 and would set a track record being the first to average 100 mph around the 2.9 mile circuit. But while many believed the race would turn into a clinic with Fangio showing everyone else how it was done, the Argentinean World Champion would absolutely struggle with the visibility out of the car and would end up the day with a rather sedated performance and one terribly battered race car.
Now, after the debut at Aintree the year before, the British Grand Prix would be back at Silverstone. Gone was Mercedes. This absence certainly had to foster the notion that the racing would be much closer. This would be quite true, at least during practice.
Though Juan Manuel Fangio would be behind the wheel of the Lancia-Ferrari, it would be Stirling Moss that would post the fastest time in practice. His time of 1:41.0 would be achieved at an average speed of 104 mph and would lead to the Brit edging out Fangio for the pole by a mere three-tenths of a second. Mike Hawthorn would make it three different manufacturers across the front row when he qualified his BRM in 3rd place with a time just 2 seconds slower than Moss. Peter Collins would complete the four-wide front row being just mere hundredths of a second slower than Hawthorn.
Unfortunately for Brabham, the International Trophy race held at Silverstone would do little to help him in terms of extracting more power and performance from the Maserati. His lap times around the circuit would not even be close to those of the front-runners. His best effort around the Silverstone circuit would be a rather slow 2:01.0. This would be 20 seconds slower than Moss' effort and meant Brabham would start the race from the eighth row of the grid in the 28th position—dead-last.
Weather conditions at Silverstone over the last couple of British Grand Prix had not been all that great. And, as the cars were rolled out to their perspective starting positions on the 14th of July, it seemed as though there would be a repeat. The skies were overcast and seemed rather ominous, but there was also a very clear chance that it could remain dry throughout the whole of the 101 lap race.
There would be 295 miles ahead of the drivers and cars as they roared away from the line toward the fast right-hander at Copse. Off the line, Moss would be slow and would be swallowed up by nearly half of the field before he got his Maserati rolling at speed. Hawthorn and Tony Brooks would not get poor starts and these two would explode into the lead of the race with Fangio following along behind.
Brabham, however, would not have a start like what Moss suffered. He would be off the line quite well and would be strong through the first lap of the race. It seemed as though he had gotten the Maserati sorted and was ready to really challenge.
At the end of the first lap it would be BRM teammates running 1st and 2nd with Hawthorn having the leg up on Brooks. Fangio was well settled into the 3rd spot while Harry Schell was looking strong in 4th place. Jack Brabham would make a great start and would complete the first lap up in 21st place.
Up at the front, things would hold steady for a few laps. Toward the rear, however, drivers would not be seen holding station. One of those on his way forward was Brabham. By the end of the 2nd lap he had improved his position by one more and was beginning to chase after Cesare Perdisa for his position as well.
Jose Froilan Gonzalez would be the first out of the race. The two-time winner of the race would not even last a single lap as his driveshaft broke on his Vanwall. Ron Flockhart would be another out of the race early on when the engine in his BRM 25 failed after just 2 laps. Unfortunately, just 4 laps would be the distance Brabham would travel before the engine in the Maserati would let go bringing about another retirement. If Brabham disliked the Maserati coming into the race he had to have been about ready to throw the car into the sea following the early retirement. It was to be a very long race and the car proved too fragile to even make it quarter of the distance.
Not long after Brabham departed the scene, Fangio would overtake Brooks to take over 2nd place. Roy Salvadori would be also putting in an impressive performance. However, he would not put together the lap times like Stirling Moss. Nearly forgotten because of his poor start, Moss would gather himself and his Maserati and would begin to put together some truly inspiring lap times. This would help him to make up positions at the rate of at least one per lap. By the quarter distance mark, he would be in the lead of the race with Roy Salvadori following along in 2nd place.
After leading the way through the first 15 laps of the race, Hawthorn would fade until disappearing from the running altogether after 24 laps. Brooks would remain around the top five but would be unable to make any headway against Fangio in 3rd place.
More than 30 laps would go by with Moss leading the way over Salvadori and Fangio. Brooks would make a dramatic exit from the race when he crashed his BRM and it burst into flames. His 4th place position would be taken over by Peter Collins. So it would be two Maseratis leading the way over two Lancia-Ferraris.
Just past halfway, Salvadori's Maserati would falter and Fangio would move into 2nd place behind Moss. Collins would make it two Ferraris in the top three by holding onto the 3rd place position.
It would be one of the most dominant performances of Moss' career, but once Fangio took over 2nd place from Salvadori the gap between the two drivers began to quickly disappear. There was still half the race to go. It certainly seemed as though Moss would lose the lead unless he had been holding something back.
There would be nothing Moss could do. Fangio would catch and pass Moss for the lead of the race. Moss would hold onto the 2nd place position causing some to recall the days when the two were teammates at Mercedes.
Only 7 laps remained in the race and Moss remained in 2nd place. However, he would not be able to stay there as gearbox trouble would rob him of the hard-fought position. Collins would take over 2nd place giving Ferrari and one-two in the running order. Despite setting the fastest lap of the race, Moss would see his race come to an end nearly in sight of the checkered flag.
Fangio would be out in front and in a very comfortable position having more than enough in hand over Collins. In just under three hours, Fangio would come through to take the victory. Peter Collins would come across the line a little more than a lap behind in 2nd place. This would be an impressive performance by Collins considering he had been left stranded after 64 laps with oil pressure problems. He would take over Alfonso de Portago's Lancia and would be impressive in the final stages of the race in order to save his championship chances. Completing the podium would be Jean Behra. He would finish 2 laps down but would also keep his championship hopes alive.
Coming into the race, Collins held onto a rather narrow lead over Moss and Behra. Following the conclusion of the race, Collins had Fangio within a point and Behra still within striking distance. Brabham, on the other hand, wasn't even close to striking distance with his Maserati. He just could not come to grips with the car in order to be amongst the front-runners. Therefore, the World Championship was one of the last things on his mind, at least for 1956. The main thing on his mind was at least getting one more good result before the end of the season.
Just 8 days after the bitter British Grand Prix, Brabham would arrive at Snetterton to take part in the 1st Vanwall Trophy race. Seeing that this race took place in between the British and German grand prix it was not at all surprising that many of the top teams and drivers would not be present for the race. However, a field of just 6 cars would still be disappointing. For Brabham, it would present perhaps the best opportunity he would have under the present conditions.
The Vanwall Trophy race would also give Brabham a good picture as to whether he could improve with the Maserati or not. Snetterton actually began life as RAF Snetterton-Heath and would become home to the United States Army Air Force's 96th Heavy Bombardment Group during the Second World War. Being a former bomber base the set up of the circuit would be similar to Silverstone in that the circuit would consist of 2.70 miles of perimeter road and would be relatively flat and featureless.
If Brabham could take a victory here, or, finish with a very strong result, there would be a good chance he could continue to work with the chassis and turn it into something that he could use to better his Formula One career.
As the cars began to click off lap times around the 2.70 mile circuit it would become abundantly clear that such progress was not being made. Archie Scott-Brown would be quite quick in the Connaught B-Type, but it would be Roy Salvadori that would turn the fastest lap, and therefore, took the pole for the short 15 lap race. Salvadori would start on pole while Scott-Brown would be in 2nd place. The rest of the four-wide front row would include Horace Gould in 3rd place and Jack Brabham in 4th.
Brabham had made it onto the front row of the grid but it would be of very little consolation considering that the two remaining cars in the field were basically Formula 2 cars. Therefore, it was clear Brabham and the Maserati were still well off the pace.
Although it was clear Brabham was still off the pace, he would still be going into the 15 lap race from the front row. He had an opportunity. If he could get out front and set the pace he had the potential of taking the victory. There would be a lot of 'ifs' involved, but it could happen.
Right from the start of the race, however, it would be clear that Brabham would need a lot of help to come away with a victory. He would not be out front, and therefore, would not be able to keep up with the pace of the others.
Archie Scott-Brown would be immediately on the pace and would go on to set what would be the fastest lap of the race with an average speed of near 96 mph. Brabham just could not keep up with this and would only fall further back.
The only hope Brabham really would have would be in attrition. Six laps into the race Brabham would be helped out, but only just a little. Scott-Brown would turn the fastest lap of the race but would then fall prey to oil pipe troubles, and therefore, would be knocked out of the running. Unfortunately for Brabham, there would be others in the field more than capable of picking up the slack.
Salvadori had shown his talents throughout the year and would again prove himself this day. He had started the race from the pole and would be out front in the later-stages of the race. Out front, Salvadori would drive a determined race and would leave the rest of the field behind. Chased by Horace Gould, Salvadori would only go faster, and this spelled disaster for Brabham.
Despite also being in a Maserati just like Salvadori, Brabham would still be paid a visit by Salvadori over the course of the race. This would be bitterly disappointing for the Aussie despite the fact he was still in the race.
Salvadori would win the race going away. Averaging a little more than 92 mph, Salvadori would cruise to victory beating Horace Gould by a minute and 8 seconds. Brabham would actually make it to the end of an event, but it would be little cause for celebration. The final Formula One car to finish the race, Brabham would come across the line in 3rd place a little more than a lap behind Salvadori.
Never would a 3rd place finish be so demoralizing and bitterly disappointing. Two other Maserati 250Fs would finish ahead of Brabham but he would never be close to either one of them. The hatred for the car had reached its zenith and a 3rd place in a six car field was surely all of the evidence Brabham would need.
Following the disappointing 3rd place result at Snetterton, Brabham would entirely switch his focus back to Formula 2 and driving for Cooper. It was clear the patience for the Maserati had worn out. Brabham would shelve the car for the remainder of the season and, instead, would take part in more than one Formula 2 race.
The difference would be like night and day. On the 6th of August, Brabham would take part in the 1st Bank Holiday Formula 2 race and would finish in 4th place but would be less than 15 seconds behind the winner, Roy Salvadori. This result would be followed up with another 4th place result at the 2nd Sussex Trophy race held at Goodwood. Once again, Brabham would be less than 20 seconds behind the winner, who happened to be Roy Salvadori once again.
Brabham would be at the wheel of a Cooper-Climax T41 for the International Gold Cup race held at Oulton Park. The race would start out strongly for Brabham with him starting from 3rd place on the grid, Starting alongside Cooper teammate Roy Salvadori from the front row, it seemed Brabham would be in a strong position for a victory. Unfortunately, troubles during the race would lead to him not being classified in the end.
At the 2nd BRSCC Formula 2 race held at Brands Hatch on the 14th of October Brabham would again suffer from unreliability and would be forced out of the race after 9 laps due to engine failure.
It would seem as though he had been experiencing the same results in Formula 2 as he had been in Formula One with the Maserati, but this just was not the case upon a close inspection. In the Formula One races Brabham just could never come to grips with the 250F. In the Formula 2 events, Brabham may have struggled toward the end of the season and would suffer failures to finish. But the one thing he didn't suffer was getting up to speed in the Coopers. Whether it was the T39 or the T41, Brabham would start toward the front of the grid while he would usually be found at the back of it in the Formula One races. So clearly, he and the Maserati were not the perfect match.
Recognizing this fact, following the final race of the European season, Brabham would pack up the Maserati and would head back to New Zealand for the winter. While there he would sell the Maserati. He would determine to return to Cooper for the 1957 season.'1956 Non-World Championship Grands Prix', (http://www.silhouet.com/motorsport/archive/f1/nc/1956/1956.html). 1956 Non-World Championship Grands Prix. http://www.silhouet.com/motorsport/archive/f1/nc/1956/1956.html. Retrieved 12 February 2013.
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Fangio Wins Silverstone Grand Prix 1956. Video. (1956). Retrieved 12 February 2013 from http://www.britishpathe.com/video/fangio-wins-silverstone-grand-prix
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Jack Brabham: 1956 Formula One Season
Jack Brabham would arrive in England in 1955 and would become like that younger brother that was just always hanging around. Those whose company he longed to keep were the people at the Cooper Car Com.....