For the past 65 years, Formula One motor racing teams have relentlessly chased the dream of perfection that concludes with them winning a World Championship. In the early years of the modern Grand Prix series it was the Italian Alfa Romeo, Maserati and Ferrari teams—with occasional intrusions by the German Mercedes team—that took the top honors. Spawned and led by the enigmatic Enzo Ferrari, until his death in 1988, Scuderia Ferrari has stood the test of time competing in all World Championship seasons since 1950, the inaugural year. Over those years, the much-revered Italian team has seen the very highest of successes and the nadir of abject failure, but still it strives and is adored by the zealous tifosi. In Ferrari’s instance, they haven’t depended upon others to produce their racing cars. For better or worse, the racing cars they’ve competed with have been manufactured and produced “in house,” winning their first World Championship Grand Prix at Silverstone, in 1951, when Froilan Gonzalez was first across the line. Since that day, Ferrari drivers have visited the top step of the F1 World Championship podium 224 times (as of the end of 2015 season).
Following the cessation of hostilities in WWII, Britain had a thirst to become a major player in the world of motor racing. This ambition was driven by Raymond Mays—racing driver, entrepreneur and former co-founder of English Racing Automobiles (ERA). Success would reflect favorably on the British car and engineering industries and bring prosperity to a war-torn nation. Manufacturers associated in the production of automobiles were invited to contribute to this new co-operative project, in the case of British Racing Motors (BRM), by the supply of goods and/or hard cash. Monies were put into a trust fund to finance the venture. Organized by a committee, progress and results were both slow and poor, so disillusioned support waned, leaving a shortfall of both components and finance. One of those supporters, Alfred Owen of the Rubery Owen Group of companies, eventually threw a lifeline to the ailing enterprise under the banner of a new company, the Owen Racing Organisation, which would become the financial kingpin of the BRM marque for most of its existence. The dreams and aspirations of the new team were analogous to those of Ferrari, in that ultimately they wanted to become sole manufacturers and producers of their own chassis, engine and gearbox. Alfred Owen’s business plan to recover some of his group’s investment, both cash and in kind, was for BRM eventually to sell complete cars and/or parts. History shows—for a variety of reasons—success for BRM was sporadic and sadly, in the main, disappointment became their only friend. Today, nearly 40 years after the demise of the BRM team, the legacy and romance of their ambitions and achievements are still revered far and wide, and most especially in their green and pleasant English hometown of Bourne, in Lincolnshire.
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