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Country of origin:Brazil
Produced in:1980
Numbers built:3 (Including two converted Wolfs)
Author:Wouter Melissen
Last updated:June 26, 2020
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Click here to download printer friendly versionEncouraged a promising 1978 season, the Fittipaldi Formula 1 team struggled the following year. Emerson Fittipaldi started the year with the existing F5A, which scored a point at the opening round but then quickly lost competitiveness in the ground-effect dominated series. The Ralph Bellamy designed F6 that replaced it proved no improvement. At the end of the year principal Wilson Fittipaldi had the opportunity to buy the assets of the Walter Wolf team.

Included in the assets were two of the Walter Wolf WR7 Grand Prix cars, which were designed by Dr Harvey Postlethwaite. Crucially, Postlethwaite himself also joined the Fittipaldi fray. For the start of the 1980 season, he converted the two Wolf Grand Prix cars into 'new' Fittipaldi F7s. Wolf driver Keke Rosberg also joined Fittipaldi to race alongside Emerson in what was now a two-car effort. Accordingly, a third F7 was built from scratch, so the team had a spare at race weekends.

Like many of its contemporaries, the Fittipaldi F7 and the Wolf it was based on, followed the lines of the revolutionary ground-effect Lotus 79. It was built around an aluminium monocoque that used the the Cosworth DFV engine and Hewland FGA gearbox as a fully stressed members. Like the Type 79 Lotus, the Fittipaldi F7 boasted full length side-pods, equipped with sliding skirts along the outer edges. These were a vital element of the ground-effect design as the wing-shaped undersides and skirts together helped generate staggering levels of downforce.

Rosberg started the year on a high by finishing a commendable third at the season opening Argentinean Grand Prix. At round four Emerson Fittipaldi repeated that feat and also finished in the points at Monaco. The F7's final outing came at the British Grand Prix where Rosberg, sadly, failed to qualify. Fittipaldi himself had already stepped up to the all-new F8 for that race but this did not turn out to be an immediate improvement.

Fittipaldi ended the year with 11 points, of which nine had been scored by the three F7s. This would turn out to be a brief turn of fortune for the Brazilian team as no points were scored in 1981.

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  Article Image gallery (15) F7-3 Specifications