Record updated 14-Oct-06
Frederick "Rikky" von Opel is a former racing driver from Liechtenstein. He won the Lombard North British Formula Three Championship in 1972 and participated in 13 Formula One grands prix for Ensign and Brabham.
An heir to the Opel automobile fortune, von Opel began his racing career under the pseudonym Antonio Bronco, but soon reverted to his true name after a successful introduction to Formula Ford in 1970.
He jumped staight into F3 the following year with a Lotus and showed much promise, which was realised in 1972 when, driving the Iberia-sponsored works F3 Ensign, he took the Lombard North Central title and was so impressed with Mo Nunn's little team that he commissioned a Formula 1 car to go Grand Prix racing in 1973.
Inevitably with such an inexperienced pairing, success was thin on the ground and von Opel was damned as a playboy racer, which was unfair as he took the whole project very seriously indeed.
When the oportunity arose to drive a pukka works Brabham at the beginning of the European season in 1974, Rikki grabbed it, reasoning that he could learn much in this established team. After he was unable qualify the car at Dijon for the French GP, von Opel turned his back on the sport, having tried but failed to make the grade, to pursue other interests.