The Formula One World Motor Racing Champion, Nikki Lauda, has been trying out the Alfa-Brabham BT45C in Rio De Janeiro as he prepares for the first defence on his title in Argentina next month.
The Formula One World Motor Racing Champion, Nikki Lauda, has been trying out the Alfa-Brabham BT45C in Rio De Janeiro as he prepares for the first defence on his title in Argentina next month. The Austrian's test session in Brazil is the second he has had building up to the Argentine Grand Prix...last time he took the car out was in Italy, and there he broke the track record.
SYNOPSIS: Quitting Ferrari for Brabham, Lauda's big problem has been that the team's new car is not ready yet. So it is this year's version he has been working with.
The BT45C is the most recent in the BT45 series which first appeared on the track in 1975. It is also the first series with an Alfa-Romeo engine. But there have been some problems with the car in South American conditions...and that is why Lauder took the BT45C to Brazil with a collection of radiators, cockpits and 140 sets of tyres to see just what suits South America best. And the car...this one a conversion for Lauda from an earlier model...apparently came out well from the first tests.
Lauda announced in September that he was joining the Brabham team after quitting Ferrari, with whom he had driven for four years, because, he said, they were led by an "amateur". But even so, he still has strong connections with Italy...and one of his sponsors is a major Italian cheese manufacturer. For Lauda, though, matching up to 1978 cars in a '77 version could toughen competition, and he needs early championship points to keep his title.