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Vittorio Brambilla

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Brambilla.jpg
Vittorio Brambilla
Nationality: 3dflagsdotcom italy2bs.gif Italian
Years: 1974 - 1980
Team(s): March, Surtees and Alfa Romeo
Races: 79
Championships: 0
Wins: 1
Podiums: 1
Poles: 1
Fastest laps: 1
First race: 1974 South African Grand Prix
First win: 1975 Austrian Grand Prix
Last win: 1975 Austrian Grand Prix
Last race: 1980 Italian Grand Prix


Vittorio Brambilla (November 11 1937 - May 26 2001) was a Formula One driver from Italy who raced for the March, Surtees and Alfa Romeo teams. His nickname was "The Monza Gorilla".

Career

Born in Monza, Brambilla began racing motorcycles in 1957 and won the Italian national 175 cc title in 1958. Before becoming a mechanic he also raced go-karts.

Formula Three, Formula Two, Sports cars

He returned to racing in 1968, in Formula 3 and won the Italian championship in 1972; by the time he was already racing Formula 2, where he won several races and bought his way into Formula 1. Brambilla was 2nd to Jacky Ickx in a 1970 2-heat Formula Two race at the Salzburg Ring in Salzburg, Austria. He drove a March BMW to 4th place in Hockenheim, in a 1973 Formula Two race. There were two 10-lap heats covering 168.7mi. Brambilla won the City of Enna Cup, the 5th 1973 event in the European automaker's championship for 2,000 cc cars. He averaged 121 miles per hour (195 km/h) over 180mi. He drove an Abarth-Osella. Brambilla captured the pole for the Monza 4-hour auto race in a BMW 3.5 CSL.

Formula One, March 1974 – 1976

Brambilla driving a March 761 at the 1976 German Grand Prix.

In his first year of Formula One, Brambilla was as quick as his teammate Stuck, but was a bit accident-prone. In the Swedish GP he ran in fifth until an engine problem. Brambilla finished tied for 18th, last, in the 1974 Formula One World Championship standings. He amazed many at the 1975 Belgian GP, where he led; and at the 1975 Swedish Grand Prix, where he secured pole position. But his great day came at the Österreichring in 1975, when he won a wet Austrian Grand Prix. He is best remembered for spinning off and wrecking the nose of his car as he took the chequered flag and completing his slowing down lap with the front of the car destroyed and waving madly to the crowd. As the race was shortened, he only received 4.5 points instead of 9 for the win. In fact, the chequered flag was flown in error for the red. The race was halted on the 29th lap, with 60% of the race completed. He drove a March. Brambilla crashed his March through a new curve at Watkins Glen during qualifying for the 1975 United States Grand Prix. He backed into a guard rail afterward but was unhurt. The session ended at that point with Niki Lauda leading. Before his accident Brambilla was second fastest with a lap of 118.21mi/h. During 1976 he suffered several accidents and mechanical retirements, collecting only one point, while his teammate Ronnie Peterson won the 1976 Italian Grand Prix. He qualified his March in 8th position for the 1976 United States Grand Prix West. In the race Brambilla was tapped from behind by Carlos Reutemann before they reached the first turn. Brambilla skidded off the course and was stationary, sitting near the intersection of Ocean Boulevard and Linden Avenue. He lost the right rear wheel on his March on the 35th lap of the 1976 United States Grand Prix after holding fifth place for a time.


Surtees 1977 – 1978

Brambilla driving for Surtees at the 1978 British Grand Prix.

In 1977, Brambilla moved to the Surtees team, where he scored six points. At the same time he also drove for the Alfa Romeo sports car team, achieving the World Championship for the team. Brambilla posted a time of 1:59:01.41 in qualifying his Surtees 8th for the 1977 Monaco Grand Prix.

He was known for his 'Punch and Crunch' routine, in which, he would greet the unfortunate victim with an extremely strong handshake. He enjoyed watching the recipient wince whilst they were shaking hands. He would then follow this up with a rabbit punch to the back of one's neck.

Brambilla continued with Surtees in 1978. At the 1978 United States Grand Prix West he placed 17th in qualifying, with a time of 1:23.212. His #19 Beta Surtees TS 19 finished 14th after experiencing engine failure on lap 50.

In a multiple pileup at Monza in the 1978 Italian Grand Prix, in which Ronnie Peterson died, Brambilla suffered serious head injuries. Brambilla was hit by a flying wheel and returned to race in the 1979 Italian Grand Prix. In reaction to that race, it was announced in October 1978 that the Italian Grand Prix would moved to the Autodromo Dino Ferrari circuit in Imola for the next three years although this did not actually happen and the 1979 Italian Grand Prix was at Monza again.


Alfa Romeo 1979 – 1980

Brambilla drove briefly for the Alfa Romeo Formula One team in 1979 and 1980. On the first day of qualifying for the 1979 United States Grand Prix Brambilla was timed at 83.87 miles per hour (134.98 km/h). Heavy rain caused a slick track and slower times. In December 1979 Alfa Romeo revealed its Formula One race car for the 1980 season. The company named Patrick Depailler, Brambilla, and Bruno Giacomelli as its drivers. The racer was nearly identical to one driven by Giacomelli in the 1979 Italian Grand Prix. It was a wing car design with a V-12 engine that generated more than 520hp. Alfa Romeo announced that it was working on a 1,500 cubic centimeter turbocharged engine which was to begin track testing in a Formula One car in the summer of 1980.


Death

He died at Lesmo, near Milan, of a heart attack at the age of 63 while gardening at his home. He reportedly collapsed while mowing the lawn. [1], [2]


Complete Formula One Results

(Races in bold indicate pole position)

Year Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 Team WDC Points
1974 March ARG
BRA
RSA
10
ESP
DNS
BEL
9
MON
Ret
SWE
10
DUT
10
FRA
11
GBR
Ret
GER
13
AUT
6
ITA
Ret
CAN
DNS
USA
Ret
March 18th 1
1975 March ARG
9
BRA
Ret
RSA
Ret
ESP
5*
MON
Ret
BEL
Ret
SWE
Ret
DUT
Ret
FRA
Ret
GBR
6
GER
Ret
AUT
1*
ITA
Ret
USA
7
March 11th 6.5
1976 March BRA
Ret
RSA
8
USAW
Ret
ESP
Ret
BEL
Ret
MON
Ret
SWE
10
FRA
Ret
GBR
Ret
GER
Ret
AUT
Ret
DUT
6
ITA
7
CAN
14
USA
Ret
JPN
Ret
March 19th 1
1977 Surtees ARG
7
BRA
Ret
SAF
7
USAW
Ret
ESP
Ret
MON
8
BEL
4
SWE
Ret
FRA
13
GBR
8
GER
5
AUT
15
DUT
12
ITA
Ret
USA
19
CAN
6
JPN
8
Surtees 16th 6
1978 Surtees ARG
18
BRA
DNQ
SAF
12
USAW
Ret
MON
DNQ
BEL
13
ESP
7
SWE
Ret
FRA
17
GBR
9
GER
Ret
AUT
6
DUT
DSQ
ITA
Ret
USA
Inj
CAN
Inj
Surtees 19th 1
1979 Alfa Romeo ARG
BRA
SAF
USAW
ESP
BEL
MON
FRA
GBR
GER
AUT
DUT
ITA
12
CAN
Ret
USA
DNQ
Alfa Romeo - 0
1980 Alfa Romeo ARG
BRA
SAF
USAW
BEL
MON
FRA
GBR
GER
AUT
DUT
Ret
ITA
Ret
CAN
USA
Alfa Romeo - 0

* Half points awarded for shortened race


Alfa Romeo Formula One
Alfa Romeo SpA (1950-1951): 158, 159, 159A, 159B | Giuseppe Farina, Juan Manuel Fangio

Autodelta (1979): 177 | 179, 179B, 179C, 179D | Bruno Giacomelli, Vittorio Brambilla

Marlboro Team Alfa Romeo (1980-1983): 179, 179B, 179C, 179D | 182, 182B | 183T, 183TB | Andrea de Cesaris, Mario Andretti, Bruno Giacomelli, Mauro Baldi

Benetton Team Alfa Romeo (1984-1985): 184T, 184TB | 185T, 185TB | Riccardo Patrese, Eddie Cheever

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Alfa Romeo engine: Brabham BT45/BT45B/BT45C | Brabham BT46/BT46B | Brabham BT48 | McLaren M7D | McLaren M14D | Cooper T53
| De Tomaso F1 | LDS Mk1/Mk2 | March 711 | Osella FA1E | Osella FA1F | Osella FA1G | Osella FA1H | Osella FA1I