Nelson Piquet’s titles for Brabham in 1981 and 1983 were tainted with accusations of rule-bending by team boss Bernie Ecclestone – running underweight, using illegal fuel among others.
But Piquet had demonstrated his driving class before then, chasing Alan Jones for the 1980 title until the penultimate round when Piquet’s engine died. He stayed loyal to Brabham for years where he enjoyed great popularity with his mechanics.
He left when the team slumped in 1985 and signed a big-money deal with Williams-Honda, where he was angered to be regularly beaten by Nigel Mansell.
The pattern continued in 1987 but Piquet, aided by better reliability than his team mate enjoyed, took the title. He also took the prized Honda engines away with him to Lotus in 1988, but the team had lurched into decline and he left after two years having failed to win a race with them.
He ended his career with two seasons at Benetton where he won three more races. He took great delight in snatching a final victory from Mansell in the 1991 Canadian Grand Prix, when the Williams driver retired on the final lap.