Next up in the series of retro F1 posts it’s the turn of the Copersucar F5A…
“The Fittipaldi F5A has the rare distinction of being raced by only one driver; Emerson Fittipaldi. In a move that shocked the Motor Racing world at the time, Emerson left the McLaren team with which he had experienced so much success. For the 1976 season and joined the one year old Fittipaldi Automotive team run by his brother Wilson. The title sponsor of the car was the Copersucar company and this is what the all-Brazilian team came to be known as.
The F5A was the most successful car produced by Fittipaldi Automotive; it was raced in the 1978 season and for half of the 1979. In reality it was a modified version of the unsuccessful F5 from 1977, but the F5A was updated to include the must-have Ground Effect technology which we spoke about in our piece about the Lotus 79.
Emerson notched up his 100th Grand Prix start at the first race of 1978 in Argentina and then in the second race of the season he scored Fittipaldi Automotive’s best ever result with a 2nd place, in – of all places – Brazil. This was to be Emerson’s second to last podium before retiring from Formula 1.
The F5A went on to score points on five more occasions in 1978 and secured Fittipaldi Automotive’s best Constructors Championship result of 7th place. It was raced eight times in 1979 before ultimately being replaced by the F6A. The team only scored one point that entire year and it was with the F5A at the first race in Argentina.
Fittipaldi Automotive carried on until the end of 1982, while Emerson himself had retired from F1 in 1980. The team did see more success, in the shape of the young Keke Rosberg who scored his first podium results with the team. The F5A however was the most striking and colourful of the team’s designs and for that it fully deserves its place on this blog.”
- John Langridge
John Langridge is a racing driver based in Sussex, England. Want to know more? Check out his website at johnlangridge.com