F1's 70 greatest influencers: the 1960s
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F1's 70 greatest influencers: the 1960s

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In the second of Autosport sister title GP RACING'S seven-part tribute to the pioneers who have shaped the world championship's seven decades, RICHARD WILLIAMS looks at the 1960s: a remarkable era of enormous cultural movements in F1 as well as the wider world...

The last champion of the 1950s also became the first of the new decade, his success symbolising a radical change in the design of racing cars. Jack Brabham was a former flight mechanic with the Royal Australian Air Force and a national champion in midget cars before he moved into road racing.

On arriving in England in 1955 he went to the Cooper works in Surbiton, bought one of its cars, and spent so much time hanging around the garage and making himself useful that by 1957 he had become a member of its grand prix team. Brabham's practical experience was vital to the development of the little Cooper-Climaxes as they evolved into full-blown F1 machines capable of winning the world championship, as they did in 1959 and 1960, capturing not just the drivers' title but the constructors' championship, the first rear-engined cars to do so.

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