CONSTRUCTORS: FITTIPALDI AUTOMOTIVE
Name: Fittipaldi Automotive
Work began to build Brazil's first Formula 1 car in October 1973 when designer Richard Divila, a long-time collaborator of the Fittipaldi Brothers, began to layout the design of the Copersucar F1 car. This was named after the team's principal sponsor. It was a conventional car built with help from Brazilian aerospace company Embraer. The FD01 was launched in the autumn of 1974 and raced in various forms in 1975 by Wilson Fittipaldi but without much success. At the end of the year Emerson Fittipaldi dropped a bombshell on F1 when he announced that he was quitting McLaren to drive alongside his brother.
The FD04 was a better car than the 1975 models and Emerson was able to score three sixth places. Ingo Hoffman drove a second car on occasion but without any success. The FD04 continued to run in 1977 and Emerson finished fourth in the first two races of the season in Argentina and Brazil and fifth at Long Beach. The new F5 appeared in mid-season, the work of Dave Baldwin, although the British designer left before the car was raced, and so its development was given over to Giacomo Caliri's FLY Studio, and in 1978 Emerson scored a series of good finishes - including second in Brazil - and the team finished seventh in the Constructors' Championship.
For 1979 Fittipaldi hired designer Ralph Bellamy but his F6 chassis was not a success because of the arrival of ground-effect technology. At the end of the year Copersucar sponsorship finally dried up and in an effort to improve the situation Fittipaldi merged with Wolf and expanded to two cars with Wolf's Keke Rosberg joining Emerson in the F7 - a reworked version of the last Wolf. This proved to be quite effective with Rosberg finishing third in Argentina and Fittipaldi third at Long Beach.
Wolf's designer Harvey Postlethwaite began work on a new F8 chassis and sponsorship was found from Skol Brasil. The new car debuted at the British GP and Rosberg finished fifth in the Italian GP at Imola. Fittipaldi was by then being regularly overshadowed by the Finn and was considering retirement. The team finished seventh in the Constructor's Championship that year but over the winter Rosberg left to join Williams and Fittipaldi announced that he was finished with driving. The team hired Brazilian youngster Chico Serra but there was only money for one car. It struggled on in 1982 after Skol withdrew but closed at the end of 1982.