Mario Araujo Cabral


Record updated 17-Dec-09

Formula One and sports car driver from Portugal. He participated in 4 grands prix, debuting on August 23, 1959.

Mario Araujo Cabral
Mário Manuel Veloso de Araujo Cabral was born in Cedofeita, Portugal. Nicknamed Nicha, he was Portugal's outstanding driver of the late fifties and acquitted himself well in his first two Grand Prix outings.

Mario's made his international debut at the second running of the Portuguese GP at Monsanto in 1959. Until Pedro Lamy, Cabral remained the only Portuguese to make it to the grid of an F1 race, with Pedro Chaves failing to do so in all his efforts. As the single Portuguese representative on a top level, Cabral did well, qualifying in front of Hill and Ireland in one of Centro Sud's Cooper-Maseratis. Neither Hill nor Ireland finished but Cabral did, making headlines on the way by blocking championship leader Jack Brabham while being lapped, the outcome of it being that Brabham went off the road into a telegraph pole. Brabham was thrown from his car and landed in the middle of the road but fortunately avoided being hit by the following cars. With regular driver Ian Burgess making his comeback for Monza, nothing else was heard of Mario that year.

He did not race much in 1960 but in November he borrowed on of Scuderia Centro-Sud's Maserati 300S with which he won the Rio de Janeiro Grand Prix for sports cars at the Guanabara Circuit.

In 1961 at the Nurburgring he was up to 10th from 16th on the grid before his gearbox failed. Then in following race, the Pau Grand Prix, he put in probably the best performance of his career finishing fourth behind Jim Clark, Jo Bonnier and Lorenzo Bandini.

In 1962 Cabral's racing career was interrupted by National Service, Mario serving as a paratrooper in Angola. The following year Mario returned, again with Scuderia Centro Sud. With the BRM P57 (the Old Faithful) in the hands of Bandini, and the only remaining 51 assigned to Carlo Abate, Mario was left in charge of a Cooper-Maserati T53.

He managed to return to Formula 1 in 1963 with Centro Sud and made the grid for the 1964 Italian GP in the reworked but no less unsuccessful Derrington-Francis ATS. However he did qualify ahead of double Monaco Grand Prix winner Maurice Trintignant and diced with future winner Peter Revson at the back of the field before retiring with ignition troubles. He had put Hill and Baghetti to shame by racing the modified ATS faster than any of them.

Mario was seriously injured when he crashed in the 1965 F2 Rouen GP, resulting in a three-year absence from the circuits. He returned in 1968 and raced a variety of sports cars including David Piper's Porsche 917, in which he finished second at Vila Real in 1971.

In 1973 he hired a works March for the F2 Estoril GP and performed very creditably to finish eighth on aggregate.

He retired in 1975 but then after 10 years away from racing he returned in 1985 to compete in the Estoril 500km ETCC race with Manuel Reuter. In qualifying he even beat Reuter's times showing that he still had talent.