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Wilson Fittipaldi

Full Name:
Wilson Fittipaldi jr
25th December 1943 (Age 76)
Sao Paulo
Most recent race (in database):

The son of a well-known journalist of the same name, the elder of talented brothers, the father of another Grand Prix driver and the founder of a Formula 1 team. But Wilson Fittipaldi Jr remains a famous family’s forgotten man.

Early racing career

His grounding in the sport was in Formula Ford and saloons in his native Brazil during the late 1960s. Even then, Wilson Fittipaldi was helping his brother by preparing Emerson’s Formula Super Vee.

Wilson Fittipaldi first raced in Europe during 1966 but that move was not a success. He tried again in 1970 when encouraged by his younger brother’s stellar performances during the previous season. That was in Formula 3 and Wilson Fittipaldi made his own F1 debut in the non-championship 1971 Argentine GP when his Gold Leaf Lotus 49-Ford retired. He spent the rest of 1971 racing a Team Bardahl Lotus 69-Ford in European Formula 2. Fourth on his debut at Hockenheim, he repeated that result at Mantorp Park and Tulln-Langenlebarn.

Formula 1 with Brabham

With the continued backing of Bardahl, Fittipaldi eased into F1 in 1972 with Bernie Ecclestone’s Brabham team when he raced in both GPs and F2. A third place finish in the non-championship Brazilian GP boded well and he was seventh in his first world championship GP at Járama – a race won by Emerson.

His second season with the team again started well but ultimately proved frustrating. The highlight of 1973 came at Monaco after he qualified in the top 10 for the only time in his GP career. He then ran third behind his brother (the first time siblings had run in the top three) before retiring near the finish. He finished sixth in Argentina, fifth in Germany and won a non-championship F2 race at Misano.

Fittipaldi Automotive

Fittipaldi was fifth for Brabham in the 1975 President Medici GP in Brasília and he was now set on establishing his own team – Fittipaldi Automotive. Old friend Richard Divila designed the conventional Fittipaldi FD01-Ford but despite healthy backing from Copersucar, Wilson endured an uncompetitive 1975 campaign.

He retired from driving at the end of the year to concentrate on establishing the team and unveiled a major coup by announcing Emerson Fittipaldi as his new driver for 1976. The combination qualified fifth for their debut at Interlagos and finished second in the Brazilian GP two years later but these were flattering highlights of frustrating underachievement.

Fittipaldi Automotive finally closed its doors in 1982 and Wilson latter guided the career of his son Christian. He even came out of retirement to share victory with him in the annual Brazilian 1000Kms at Interlagos in 1994 – a race founded by his father in 1956.

Championship seasons

Season Name Starts Poles Podiums Wins Position Points
1975 F1 World Championship
Copersucar-Fittipaldi Automotive
11 (2) 0 0 0
0% win rate
1973 F1 World Championship
Motor Racing Developments
15 0 0 0
0% win rate
15th 3
1973 European F2 Championship
Motor Racing Developments
8 0 0 0
0% win rate
13th 6
1972 F1 World Championship
Motor Racing Developments
10 0 0 0
0% win rate
1972 European F2 Trophy
Team Bardahl
9 (3) 0 0 0
0% win rate
12th 10
1972 World Championship of Makes
1 0 0 0 0
1972 John Player British F2 Championship
Team Bardahl
1 (2) 0 0 0
0% win rate
1971 European F2 Trophy
Team Bardahl
9 (2) 0 0 0
0% win rate
6th 16
1966 Temporada F3 Championship
Wilson Fittipaldi
2 (2) 0 0 0
0% win rate