Brabham BT52 BMW. Chassis BT52-1, 2013 Goodwood Festival of Speed

Brabham BT52 BMW. Chassis BT52-1, 2013 Goodwood Festival of Speed by Wouter Melissen -

The Brabham BT52 was a Formula One car designed for the Brabham team by longtime Brabham designer Gordon Murray for the 1983 F1 season. The car ran on Michelin tyres. Its drivers were 1981 World Champion Nelson Piquet and Riccardo Patrese.

After the ground effect cars were banned at the end of the previous season, the FIA mandated that all F1 cars be designed with flat undersides for safety reasons. The previously crucial sidepods were now generating lift rather than suction and so the BT52 had short, angular sidepods to keep lift at a minimum. The car featured a distinctive dart-shaped profile and oversized rear wing in an effort to claw back as much downforce as possible. The monocoque was built from aluminium and carbon fibre composite to keep weight as low as possible. The car was powered by the massively powerful BMW M12/13 turbocharged engine which in 1983 produced about 850 bhp (630 kW) in qualifying trim, detuned to around 600 bhp (450 kW) for the races proper. The 1983 season saw refuelling stops reintroduced into F1 after successful experiments in 1982. The BT52's fuel system was designed with this in mind, and had a small fuel tank positioned high up behind the driver.

The car was easy to drive and Piquet used it to good effect that season. Fighting with Alain Prost in the Renault and René Arnoux of Ferrari, it seemed he would lose out on the title after a run of mid season bad luck. But after Germany company Wintershall developed a special batch of fuel and further development to the car was done, he became the first driver to win the world championship with a turbo engine after winning three races and scoring consistently. Brabham finished third in the constructors' championship.

The BT52 was updated after the Canadian Grand Prix to the BT52B and proceeded to win three of the remaining seven races of the season. The car was replaced for the 1984 Formula One season by the Brabham BT53.

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Brabham vehicles

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