Martin (frentzen) wrote in formula1,

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A profile of Martin Brundle

Martin Brundle started his racing career in 1971 at the tender age of 12, driving a self-built Ford Anglia grass track car near his West Norfolk home.

Unusually for a future Formula 1 star Martin cut his teeth in saloon cars but he was offered his first single seater opportunity in 1979. One win and several placings in Formula Ford 2000 followed. Out of the blue, Martin wrote a letter to Tom Walkinshaw to drive one of his cars in the BMW Championship at Snetterton. Amazingly, he agreed.

In 1980 he won the championship and Formula Ford 2000 before lack of sponsorship forced Martin back to saloon cars when he partnered the great Sir Stirling Moss in the BP/Audi team in 1981.

Formula 3 followed in 1982 but it was a year later that he really came to prominence taking on the legendary Ayrton Senna in an epic battle for the F3 crown. Martin finally lost in the final laps of the final race. Both were immediately elevated to F1, Martin spending three seasons with Tyrrell. He collected a second at Detroit in 1984.

A move to Jaguar for the world sportscar championships followed in 1988 and he went on to win the title. That, together with a test schedule for the Williams GP team and standing in for an unwell Mansell at the Belgian GP completed an exhausting but excellent year.

Two years with the Brabham Grand Prix team in 1989 and 1991 had some point scoring successes, divided by a further season with Jaguar, the highlight of which was winning the Le Mans 24 hours in 1990.

1992 was Martin's most successful F1 season alongside Michael Schumacher in the Benetton Ford team. He scored points in 11 of the final 12 races, including 5 podiums.

To everyone's surprise he was then replaced by Italian Ricardo Patrese and so moved to the French Ligier team for 1993 finishing seventh in the World Championship, highlighted by a podium finish in the San Marino Grand Prix.

Early 1994 saw some brinkmanship as Brundle gambled on and claimed the Number 8 McLaren seat vacated by Senna. Second and third in Monaco and Australia respectively were the highlights, poor reliability were the very public low points, although again finishing seventh in the World Championship.

A series of strong performances on his return to Ligier for 1995 was highlighted by an excellent podium finish at the demanding Spa Francorchamps circuit in Belgium, behind Schumacher and Hill.

Martin drove for the Benson and Hedges Jordan Peugeot team in 1996. After a spectacular crash in Melbourne the season progressively improved with very competitive top six finishes in five Grands Prix.

In 1997 Martin moved alongside the legendary Murray Walker for the F1 ITV television production in the UK.

Le Mans assaults in 1998 and 1999 for Toyota led to a stunning 3min 29 sec pole position however mechanical problems forced him out of both races. In 2001 Martin led the Bentley team back to Le Mans after 71 years; leading the early stages of the race until mechanical problems retired the car.

Finally, Martin is also involved with the management of David Coulthard's career and is Chairman of the British Racing Drivers' Club.
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