PEOPLE: SIR ALFRED OWEN

Name: Sir Alfred Owen
Nationality: Great Britain

Born in 1908, Alfred George Beech Owen was one of the heirs to the Rubery Owen industrial empire, which dominated the light steel business in Britain for the first half of the Twentieth Century. The company, which his father took control of in 1910, originally manufactured fences and gates but with the arrival of the automobile industry became the leading supplier of components and car bodies for the booming British motor industry. The company later expanded into aircraft components, structural steelwork for buildings, agricultural products, machine tools, gas cylinders and nuts and bolts. A student at Cambridge University, Owen was thrust into the role of chief executive at the age of only 21 when his father died but he proceeded to expand the company into one of the biggest industrial empires in the world at the time, spanning 40 different corporations. In 1952 Rubery Owen acquired the struggling BRM Formula 1 team and the team became known as the Owen Racing Organisation, though the cars were still referred to as BRMs. There was an upturn in fortunes in the year that followed and the team scored its first international victories in 1955 but the team struggled to be competitive on the international scene with only occaasion wins and in 1961 Owen demanded victory in 1962, threatening to close the team down if it was not a success. The new BRM P57 was designed by Tony Rudd with a V8 engine designed by Peter Berthon and developed by Aubrey Woods. Graham Hill stayed on as a driver and was joined by Richie Ginther and Hill swept to the World Championship with BRM taking the Constructors' title as well. In the years that followed BRM was moderately successful but by the end of the 1960s after the disastrous experiments with an H16 engine Alfred Owen decided he had had enough and handed control of the team over to his sister Jean who was married to Louis Stanley.

Owen faded from the F1 scene but continued to sponsor the team until his death in 1975 after which BRM faded and eventually closed down at the end of 1977.

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