The journey BRM made to the sharp end of the Formula 1 grid was a painful one, littered with humiliating failures, but during the 1960s it struck a rich seam of form before mediocrity crept back in.
With the P261 it conceivably hit its competitive peak, for while this car did not carry any of its drivers to the world championship it came tantalisingly close; it won races in both the 1.5-litre and 3-litre F1 eras; and it enabled a young Jackie Stewart to announce himself on the international stage and win the Tasman series for 2.5-litre cars. The P261's success was also achieved against a typically BRM background of politics and disorganisation behind the scenes.
Engineer Tony Rudd was a key figure in BRM's renaissance. Nicknamed "Moleskin Harry" because of his weather-beaten coat and diffident demeanour, he contributed to the design of several BRMs in the 1950s. He might have remained a peripheral figure but for a revolt instigated by drivers Graham Hill, Dan Gurney and Jo Bonnier in 1960: at an ill-tempered meeting they demanded of team proprietor Sir Alfred Owen that Rudd be elevated to oversee car design and race weekend operations.