Josef Brázdil

0/0/1899 - 27/9/1934

Record updated 27-Sep-21

Brázdil from Bratislava borrowed the money to buy a Maserati 6C-34 with the aim of winning the Czech GP in 1934, his first ever race! In one of the most bizzare tales in GP history he died in an accident during an unofficial practice session.

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Josef's real name was František Brázdil, came from Bratislava and wanted to be the first Czechoslovakian driver to win on the Brno Circuit, though at this time, 1934, it was know as the Masaryk Circuit. The circuit was twenty-nine kilometres long, with thirty six left hand and forty seven right hand bends. 

Somehow he persuaded his friend, Štefan Marciš, who lived in the same town, to get his fiancée, a very wealthy young American lady, to finance his entry into the Czech GP. She went to Bologna and purchased a brand new Maserati 6C, paying for the car in cash.

So Brázdil, without ever racing, took on the might of the works teams, on one of the hardest road circuits of the world, in one of the fastest cars around. It is hard, no impossible, to imagine today how a driver could be permitted to enter a round of the Formula One World Championships in a top car as his first race.

There sceptics among the other drivers who doubted that Brázdil was anything more than a dreamer. However when the Maserati transporter arrived, it carried two cars. One for Nuvolari and one for Brázdil.

In his first practice session his driving came in for some criticism but then, as his mechanics worked on setting the car up, Brázdil was arrested and taken to jail. The reason is not entirely clear but it would appear that there financial irregularities regarding the payment of import duties.

However Marciš' fiancée came to Brázdil’s aid. She hired an attorney and posted bail. He was released to compete but had to return once the race was over. So at 8.00 AM on the morning of Thursday 27th September, Brázdil left the pits in the Maserati to put in some track time before the second official practice session.

After putting in a slow first lap, he upped his pace but rounding the high speed but relatively simple U Krize, he got the left wheels off the track and lost control. He hit the first tree at about 200 kph and then another at barely diminished speed. On the second impact, the car flew into the air and rolled end over end. Brázdil was thrown out. He broke his back and died instantly.

It what was already a bizarre series of events, rumours quickly spread. Was Brázdil’s accident a suicide? Did he choose to take his own life as he was in dire financial straits or because he was broken-hearted, jealous of the romance between Marciš and the latter’s fiancée?

The truth is probably that the Maserati was just too fast for such an inexperienced driver. The official report concluded that the driver simply lost control at high speed in a non-challenging section of the track before the second official practice.