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With great regret we have to inform Members of the death on 4 October of Fabian Samengo-Turner, who passed away peacefully at home at the age of 92. He had been an Associate Member since 1961.

Fabian, together with his brothers Paul and William who both pre-deceased him, were the pioneers of title sponsorship in Formula 1 as practised by teams such as Red Bull Racing today. Born in Italy, their family moved to Monaco in the 1930s where they witnessed, and were captivated by, the Monaco Grand Prix. After World War 2, the family moved to England which enabled Fabian and his brothers to attend Silverstone’s first Grand Prix in 1948.

As the brothers developed their hire purchase finance business, which traded as Yeoman Credit, they looked for ways of combining their passion for motor racing with their business. Following an introduction effected by Formula Junior competitor and future BRDC Member Peter Pilsworth, they met Ken Gregory who had recently started a team with Alfred Moss, father of Stirling, which was named the British Racing Partnership. Realising that the Formula 1 constructor teams would not be willing to lose their identity, Fabian and his brothers proposed to Ken Gregory that Yeoman Credit should pay the set up and running costs of a Formula 1 team, initially for two cars which grew to three when Tony Brooks became available.

And so, at the end of 1959 the British Racing Partnership became the Yeoman Credit Racing Team and, with funds provided by Fabian and his brothers, acquired four Cooper-Climax T51s whilst also taking on responsibility for running the prototype Lotus-Climax Type 19 for Stirling Moss. Already signed up by BRP for Formula 2, the very talented Chris Bristow was retained as one of the drivers for the 1960 season, initially joined by the seasoned veteran Harry Schell who tragically lost his life during practice for the BRDC Daily Express International Trophy at Silverstone. Olivier Gendebien replaced Harry Schell with Tony Brooks already lined up for a third car. The burgeoning career of Chris Bristow was then snuffed out in a fatal accident at Spa Francorchamps in the Belgian Grand Prix, and he was replaced by Henry Taylor.

Although the Cooper T51s were new cars for 1960, they were no match for the updated works Cooper T53s of Jack Brabham and Bruce McLaren and results for Yeoman Credit were mixed. Le Mans winner Olivier Gendebien was third in the disastrous Belgian Grand Prix and went one better than this by finishing second, to the inevitable Jack Brabham, at Reims in the French Grand Prix. The occasional race victories only came when Stirling Moss was available to drive the Lotus 19 sports-racing car.

At the end of the 1960 season, Fabian and his brother William decided that they would like to have more involvement for their investment in the operation of a team. Discussions took place with Reg Parnell with the result that the contract for Yeoman Credit to fund BRP’s racing was not renewed and a deal was done to take over Reg Parnell’s team which ran Cooper T53s to the new 1.5 litre F1 regulations for 1961 with John Surtees and Roy Salvadori as the principal drivers. Continuing as the Yeoman Credit Racing Team but with a different livery for 1961, the team was re-named Bowmaker Racing Team when in 1962 it took on the responsibility of running Lola Mk 4s, in effect becoming a constructor in its own right. John Surtees in particular put in some strong performances during the year, finishing second in the British and German Grands Prix, but the only race win came in the non-championship Mallory Park 1000 Guineas.

Fabian and his brothers withdrew from funding Reg Parnell Racing at the end of the 1962 season, allowing Uncle Reg to take over the team’s assets at a very favourable cost. However, having recently become an Associate Member of the BRDC, Fabian never lost his interest in motor racing and continued to attend the British Grand Prix for many years.  Fabian’s wife, Maureen, died eight years ago and he is survived by his four children Nicky, Carrie, Jeremy and Jonny, nine grandchildren and three great grandchildren to whom the BRDC tenders its deepest condolences. Fabian’s funeral will take place at 11 am on Tuesday 24 October at Douai Abbey, Upper Woolhampton, Berkshire RG7 5TQ to which all are welcome.

The Club regrets to report on the death of Neville Hay, who was elected as a BRDC Member in 1993
The Club regrets to report on the death of Alan Minshaw, who was elected as a BRDC Member in 1984
The Club regrets to report on the death of Ray Thackwell who was elected as a BRDC Member in 1957
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