Embassy Hill was a short-lived Formula One team started by the two-time Formula One world-champion Graham Hill, racing as a constructor with its own chassis in 1975. The team debuted in 1973 and had limited success in three seasons of racing, but everything was cut short by the death of Graham Hill and some of the team's top personnel in the crash of a light aircraft in the winter before the 1976 season. The team was sponsored by Imperial Tobacco's Embassy cigarette brand and ran under various names during its time.
Embassy Racing With Graham Hill came first into being when Graham Hill decided to leave his previous team, Brabham, unhappy with the atmosphere there. He announced in late 1972 he was starting his own team, acting as owner and driver.
Securing sponsorship from Embassy, Hill started operating a team with cars purchased from Shadow. Things did not go well that year: the team's best finish was ninth at Zolder, being the last finisher among 9 cars (the former World Champion also started 23rd of 23 cars that race).
The chassis for 1974 were bought from Lola, until in 1975 the team debuted its own chassis, the GH1 model designed by Andy Smallman (which drew heavily from the design of previous year's Lola cars).
Unfortunately, the debut of the GH1 at the 1975 Spanish Grand Prix was marred by the collapse of Rolf Stommelen's rear wing mounting, which pitched the German's car into the crowd and killed four people.
Stommelen was injured in the accident and did not return until the second half of the season.
After failing to qualify at the 1975 Monaco Grand Prix, a race he had won five times, Hill no longer drove himself; instead driving duties for that car were taken over by Tony Brise. Brise, considered a rising star, scored sixth in the 1975 Swedish Grand Prix and qualified sixth for the 1975 Italian Grand Prix.
End of team
On the evening of 29 November 1975 Graham Hill was piloting a Piper Aztec light aircraft from France to London. His passengers were team manager Ray Brimble, team driver Tony Brise, designer Andy Smallman and mechanics Terry Richards and Tony Alcock. They were returning from Circuit Paul Ricard where they had been testing the Hill GH2 car being prepared for 1976. They were due to land at Elstree airfield before onward travel to London to attend a party. Shortly before 10pm the plane hit trees beside a golf course at Arkley in thick fog. In the ensuing crash and explosion everyone on board was killed. As the team now only consisted of the deputy team manager and two mechanics it was impossible to continue.
Complete Formula One results
(key) (Results in bold indicate pole position; results in italics indicate fastest lap.)
- GrandPrix.com, GP Encyclopedia - Embassy Hill Racing
- "THE CHAMPIONS / More than Mister Monaco: Graham Hill – all-rounder extraordinary". Autosport. Retrieved 2008-06-21.
- Tremayne, David (August 2006). The Lost Generation. Haynes Publishing. ISBN 1-84425-205-1.
- BBC, This day in history-- 1975: Graham Hill killed in air crash.
- Graham Hill, 46, Retired Racer, In Fatal Crash Piloting His Plane. UPI News Service. December 1, 1975 (Monday) New York Times archive
- "Motor racing legend Graham Hill killed in a plane crash". The Guardian (London: Guardian Newspapers). 2 December 2008. Retrieved 24 October 2011.
- Bardon, P. "Report on the accident at Arkley Golf Course". AAIB Formal Reports. Air Accidents Investigations Branch. Retrieved 24 October 2011.