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Retro Formula 1 – Surtees TS19

Our penultimate car caused a bit of a stir at the time with its livery. Read more about its history from John…

“Like Jack Brabham, Graham Hill and Wilson Fittipaldi (see our Copersucar post), John Surtees was another driver who started his own racing team. The Surtees Racing Organisation experienced a modest amount of success in their early days, but by the time the TS19 was launched in 1976 the highlights were behind them.

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The TS19 was not a particularly successful car. It was however a very long serving car; it was present at 37 Grand Prix between 1976 and 1978, making 70 starts. Vittorio Brambilla made the most with 20, but names also on the list include Henri Pescarolo and future champion Alan Jones. The list of non-qualifiers is also quite long and contains one entry from Patrick Tambay. The French Grand Prix of 1977 was his first attempt to qualify for race. It was his only effort with the Surtees team, but he did go on to drive most notably for Ferrari and Renault.

The TS19 was not totally devoid of success however and in the hands of Jones and Brambilla it scored points on six separate occasions, the best results being a brace of fourth place finishes. It also marked Pescarolo’s 50th start in France 1977 and Brambilla’s 50th start at same race a year later.

The main reason the car drew attention though was the livery and more specifically the controversial sponsorship from Durex condoms. It was because of this that the BBC did not film the 1976 pre-season races in Britain and the car subsequently went down in F1 folklore.”

- John Langridge

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John LangridgeJohn Langridge is a racing driver based in Sussex, England. Want to know more? Check out his website at johnlangridge.com

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