Three-time World Champion Sir Jack Brabham passes away, age 88

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Three-time Formula One World Champion Sir Jack Brabham has passed away at the age of 88. An official notice was passed on the Brabham family’s official website. Brabham was perhaps one of Australia’s greatest ever racing drivers.

Son David Brabham said in a statement, “It’s a very sad day for all of us. My father passed away peacefully at home at the age of 88 this morning. He lived an incredible life, achieving more than anyone would ever dream of and he will continue to live on through the astounding legacy he leaves behind.”

Known as “Black Jack,” before his racing career, Sir Jack plied his trade as a former mechanic in the Royal Australian Air Force.

Over a 15-year career in Grand Prix racing, Brabham is the only driver to have won the World Championship in a car of his own creation – the Brabham BT19 Repco in 1966, developed in partnership with countryman Ron Tauranac. He also won World Drivers Championships in 1959 and 1960, with the legendary Cooper Climax. The Brabham team won the 1966 and 1967 Constructor’s Championships, as well.

He won 14 Grands Prix, captured 13 pole positions and set 12 fastest race laps from his 128 race starts, in a career that lasted until 1970. He won his final race – the 1970 South African Grand Prix – that year, before selling his team to Bernie Ecclestone.

Brabham was also the patriarch of Australia’s iconic racing family.

Sons Geoff, Gary and David have enjoyed successful careers of their own – primarily in sports car racing – and both Gary and David made it to F1.

Geoff made his name via Nissan’s prototype program in the IMSA GTP Championship, where he won four championships. He also made 10 Indianapolis 500 starts, with two top-five finishes. David’s career has seen a wealth of sports car success, including an overall win at the 2009 24 Hours of Le Mans, driving for Peugeot.

Now the latest generation of racing Brabhams is on the rise. Grandson Sam Brabham is racing in Formula Ford; Matthew or “Matty,” who is Geoff’s son, has stormed through the Mazda Road to Indy by winning championships in USF2000 and Pro Mazda the last two seasons. He took his first Indy Lights win last weekend at Indianapolis.

We express our thoughts and condolences to the entire Brabham family. Sir Jack is survived by Lady Margaret, his three sons and their respective families.

Hamilton: Abu Dhabi ‘the last race with good-looking cars’ in F1

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Lewis Hamilton believes that this weekend’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix will be remembered as the last race with good-looking Formula 1 cars ahead of the introduction of the ‘Halo’ cockpit protection for next year.

Officials from the FIA and F1 Strategy Group confirmed earlier this year that the Halo would be fitted to all cars from the 2018 season in a bid to improve safety standards, with the deaths of Justin Wilson and Jules Bianchi putting head protection high on the agenda for the series’ chiefs.

Hamilton has long made his opposition to the Halo clear, believing it will ruin the look of F1 cars, and echoed his thoughts ahead of the final Halo-less race in Abu Dhabi this weekend.

“It’s the last year of looking good I think in the cars. It’s the last race where the cars will look good,” Hamilton said.

“I think next year, it’s all downhill from there in terms of how they look.

“But safety will go up at least, and maybe it could be successful in some way.”

Hamilton’s F1 title rival Sebastian Vettel was less bothered about the change, believing the field will adjust and move on.

“The cars will look different next year. Everything I’ve seen so far looks different, but on the other hand it is something we all get used to,” Vettel said.

“But no doubt the cars look better now, but we’ll get used to it, and we’ll work on the aesthetics so it can be better. It is less of a big deal.”

Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo shared Vettel’s view, saying: “I don’t think it’s gonna be as dramatic as most people make it out to be.”