Your August edition article ‘Remember Me This Way’ has finally prompted me to write about a matter over which I have speculated for many years.
Jack Brabham, it seems tome, is invariably underrated in any of the numerous attempts that have occurred to appraise the relative standings of grand prix drivers of the last century — Motor Sport’s effort included.
Your article very clearly points out that, with a little bit of luck and with very slightly changed circumstances, Brabham would have won the 1970 world championship. Indeed two eleventh hour mishaps, while leading at Monaco and Brands Hatch, were instrumental in him losing the 1970 title. Therefore, it can be said that it was only by the narrowest of margins that Brabham was not a four time world champion.
However, the speculation goes even further. Consider 1967. That year Brabham was runner-up by the narrowest of margins also to his team-mate Denis Hulme. I have always considered that result to be a travesty and, with respect, Huhne to be one of the several ‘ordinary’ drivers who have won the title — certainly not in the class of Brabham. That result was very close and, again, with only very slightly changed circumstances and given the fact that they were team-mates, it is reasonable to state that Brabham should have won the 1967 Formula 1 World Championship.
My point is not ‘what ill..?’ or ‘if only…’, but that it is conceivable that Brabham could have retired at the end of 1970, a five-time world champion. I am not arguing for a moment that Brabham was a Fangio or Moss, but lam saying that the appraisals that continually put him below Gurney, Surtees, Stewart etc are patently unfair and clearly wrong.
It should be noted that this speculation ignores the other amazing fact that, for a lot of this time, Brabham was also achieving the unique, and never to be repeated, accomplishment of driving cars of his own design and manufacture. I wonder if other people have reflected on this matter also.
As an aside, I wonder also why you did not refer to Brabham by his correct title of Sir Jack Brabham. Am I missing something?
I am, Yours etc,
Graeme Tutt, Melbourne, Australia
[Sir Jack had to wait until until 1979 before being awarded his knighthood. Hence in 1970, he was plain Jack Brabham.— DM]