Brabham BT52

Brabham BT52

by Luca Dal Monte

It is probably one of the most beautiful cars in the entire history of Formula 1. Not surprisingly, it was born from the pencil of Gordon Murray, a designer who came to Formula 1 from the world of design and for whom aesthetics was always of fundamental importance in the cars he designed.

The BT52 is planned in light of the new regulations that come into force with the 1983 season: out go the side skirts; out goes the ground effect; welcome back flat bottoms. The arrow shape of the car already synthesizes at first glance the overstressed aerodynamic research that guided Murray in the design.

But this particular shape of the car also implies a sort of real bet by Murray who, in search of ever greater traction, shifts almost 70 percent of the total weight of the car towards the rear. Keeping the lightweight nature of the whole in mind, Murray uses carbon fiber for the upper part of the chassis, while relying on aluminum for the lower part.

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Nelson Piquet: It’s the second world title for the Brazilian driver, who during the 1983 season scores victories in the Brazilian, Italian, and European Grand Prix – held at Brands Hatch. He also secures three second places, at Paul Ricard, Monte Carlo, and Silverstone. Two third places and two fourth places complete his extraordinary second climb to the world crown. Piquet has gone on the record saying that, among all the Formula 1 cars he has raced, the BT52 was the easiest one to drive.

Riccardo Patrese: Misfortune characterizes Riccardo’s 1983 season. In the spring, he suffers six consecutive retirements. What hurts the most is the crash at the Acque Minerali chicane in Imola while leading the San Marino Grand Prix with only six laps to go before the chequered flag. He takes his revenge in the second part of the year, winning the South African Grand Prix at Kyalami, which concludes the season.

Our model cars:

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The engine is the 1.5-liter inline-4 turbo built by BMW, the German manufacturer that has been supplying engines to Ecclestone’s team since the previous season.

The BT52 debuts with a victory in the first race of the 1983 season. Using the B version as well, which arrives mid-season, the BT52 wins a total of four races and allows its drivers to step onto the podium six times. The BT52 secures third place in the Constructors’ Championship. But it also allows Piquet to win his second personal Drivers’ World Championship.

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