Hector Rebaque

Hector Rebaque

5/2/1956

The last true gentleman driver, Héctor Alonso Rebaque entered F1 a bit too early. He participated in 58 Grand Pirx. Scored 13 points. He also ran his own F1 team for a short while, even going as far as to commission his own chassis.

Perhaps the last of the gentleman drivers in F1, Héctor Alonso Rebaque studied architecture before getting involved in real estate development. His father was an architect who used to race so it was not a suprise when Héctor came to Britain in 1974 at the age of 18 to drive in Formula Atlantic for Fred Opert. The next year he moved up to Formula 2 still with Fred Opert, driving a Chevron B29 and finishing fourth at Thruxton in only his second race. The rest of the season was dissapointing so in 1976 he moved back to North America to contest the Canadian Atlantic series.

Entering F1 a bit too early he made the leap into Formula One with Hesketh in 1977, first as the third driver in the No.39 car later taken over by Ian Ashley, then replacing Harald Ertl. In 6 attempts, he qualified only once, for the German Grand Prix at Hockenheim before retiring from the race with engine problems.

Determined to stay in F1, he set up his own team the following season. He bought the ex-Andretti Lotus 78 but during the first half of the season he only qualified four times. In the Brazilian GP he retired due to fatigue but, as the season wore on, his performance and stamina improved and at Hockenheim he qualified his Team Rebaque Lotus inside the top 20 and came home in sixth place to score a point. He qualified 18th in Austria, but then failed to qualify at Monza and Watkins Glen.

In 1979, Rebaque did deal with Colin Chapman to race the championship winning Lotus 79. He started the season in the Lotus while at the same time building his own Cosworth 'Kit Car'. The Rebaque-Cosworth HR100 was designed and built at Penske's British base in Poole under the watchful eye of John Barnard. His season turned out to be even more dissapointing than 1978. They contested three Grand Prix, only qualifying once, in Canada, where in the race they retired with technical problems. At the end of the year the team quit F1 and Hector sold his old Lotus 78 to Emilio deVillota.

Midway through the 1980 season, he replaced Ricardo Zunino at Brabham, taking a single points finish at Montreal.

He stayed at Brabham in 1981. In Brazil, he spun out of the race and though he went on to score several points finishes, his performance was nowhere near that of his team mate, Nelson Piquet, who won the drivers' championship.

Rebaque was dropped by Brabham in 1982 as Parmalat, their sponsor, wanted an Italian. Thus Riccardo Patrese joined the team. Jackie Oliver offered him a seat at Arrows but Héctor decided to try his luck in America driving for Forsythe Racing replacing Danny Sullivan in the CART Indy Car series. At the Indianapolis 500 he finished 13th after a pit fire on lap 151. At Road America he won his first and only CART race, the first one to be held at that venue, but then he suffered a huge crash on the Michigan Superspeedway and, though he saw out the season, he decided that he had had enough and retired at the tender age of 29.

He made a rare appearance at a CART event in 2002, at Elkhart Lake, to mark the 20th anniversary of his only CART win.

Now a businessman and involved in architecture.

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