John Cooper

John Cooper was the man who revolutionised F1 by being the first to put the engine behind the driver in a F1 car.  This radical move meant that his small British team with a less powerful engine could beat the bigger engine Ferraris and Alfa Romeos. As a result of his revolution in motor-sport, Britain became the home of an international thriving racing industry.  His legacy is also the Cooper name on Mini production cars that are still built in Britain though owned and marketed by BMW.

Jack Brabham was the first to race a rear-engined car in F1 taking sixth place at the 1957 Monaco Grand Prix in a works Cooper. The following year Stirling Moss won the 1958 Argentine Grand Prix in Rob Walker’s privately entered Cooper and Maurice Trintignant repeated the feat at the next race in Monaco. In 1959 Jack Brabham and the Cooper works team became the first to win the F1 World Championship in a rear-engined car a feat repeated the following year. Since then every World Champion has sat in front of his engine. 

It was not just in F1; in 1960 in the USA, Cooper’s funny little car from Europe was mocked when Jack Brabham arrived to take part in the Indianapolis 500.  When he finished 9th the Americans realised that the days of their front-engined race cars were numbered.

Question: Who was the first driver to win a Grand Prix in a rear-engined F1 car? 

Answer: Stirling Moss 

Question: Who was the first driver to be a F1 World Champion in a rear-engined car that was built by Cooper? 

Answer: Jack Brabham