3. Robert Kubica
After that crash at Montreal in 2007, he came back a year later and won the Candian Grand Prix. He seethed talent beyond the BMW Sauber’s modest frame. Hampered by being a tall lad while the designers designed the car around the short lad Heidfeld (a similar complaint Webber voiced in 2005), Kubica constantly competed in lesser material. When BMW when south in 2009, going the wrong way in car design, Robert still managed to get a podium in Brazil before joining an up-start Renault in 2010. He was their golden boy, he pulled out podiums when it should’ve been impossible, he seethed the talent that had people booking him as a future World Champ. Imagine if he had ended up with McLaren or Ferrari instead? He could’ve won the World Championship that year… But it was rumoured Renault were the only one okay with him going rallying, and even then they weren’t 100% okay with it.
Much like Bellof’s career ending at Sportscars, Robert nearly lost his hand while rallying in the offseason. A short recovery turned into a long recovery, his F1 career considered over.
Alain prost lead Nelson Piquet, seen here at Monaco, by two points before the final grand prix in 1983 at Kyalami and started the weekend well by out qualifying his opponents, Prost as well as third placed man Rene Arnoux for Ferrari (a further six points adrift), who were fifth and fourth whilst Piquet was on the front row.
The pressure was off, however, as first Arnoux and then later Prost both had their cars fail on them with Piquet’s third place more than enough to clinch the title.
The sun sets on the circuit and on BMW’s participation in Formula One. Left without a competitive seat after an abysmal season, Robert would have to look elsewhere to find further success in Formula One.
Abu Dhabi, 2009.
One year after the terrifying accident that he miraculously walked away from, Robert Kubica celebrates victory at Montreal in 2008.
Brabham BT55 car #8 Elio de Angelis | 1986 San Marino GP
Get low! This was another of Gordon Murray’s sleak designs for Brabham a la the sensations BT52 and of course the innovative BT46B fan car. Despite it’s good looks it was too ambitious and ultimately failed due to forcing the tall BMW engine to be placed at an angle causing all sorts of drive train, crank shaft and gearbox issues.
This car look familiar? Well it should, because this would inspire Murray, after moving to McLaren a year later, to design arguably the most dominating Formula One car of all time, the McLaren MP4/4.
However, the beautiful BT55 also has a tragic note to it, when beloved Italian Elio de Angelis lost his life after flipping the car during an organised test session due in no small part to a lack of proper marshalling (fellow driver Alan Jones being the first on the scene - there were none stationed around the track) and no on-site helicopter - one had to be phoned in before he could be air some thirty minutes later. Despite only suffering a broken collar bone and burns to his back, Elio died from smoke inhalation - something that would have been prevented with appropriate marshalling.
what we miss … sleekness
Elio de Angelis, Olivetti Brabam-BMW BT55, 1986 Spanish Grand Prix, Jerez de la Frontera
What a beautiful car.
Unfortunately, it was also this car that took poor Elio’s life after a lack of proper marshalling and no on-site helicopter lead to the death of the Italian during a practice session. Fellow driver and 1980 World Champion Alan Jones was the first man on the scene - even before any of the few track marshals. No driver has died at a Formula One test session since, and it would be eight more years before another fatality felled the sport.
Brabham at the beach. Zandvoort.