the blue,” admitted Gardner, who died in
Jan. 2011. “He came straight out with it:
‘Could I design a Formula 1 car?’ Good
question. I’d never done one; I’d never even
watched somebody else do one. I said I’d
think about it. Snap decisions are those you
usually end up regretting. But eventually I
decided that I could. I was flattered to a
degree by Ken’s approach, but it would
need a big commitment from him and I
needed convincing he was willing to give it.”
Gardner’s deliberation impressed
Tyrrell: less haste, more speed. (Stewart
had asked for more time to think in 1964
– and their partnership hadn’t worked out
too badly.) He wanted a dependable
staffer, not a fly-by-night freelancer.
Terms agreed, a deadline was set for
the car’s debut: August 1970’s non-championship International Gold Cup at
Oulton Park, unofficial closing date for
sponsorship decisions for 1971.
“Not only did the car have to be ready,
but we had to show it would be immediately
competitive,” said Gardner. “Secrecy was
another prerequisite. Yet, because I wasn’t
a part of the racing mainstream, that
wasn’t too difficult. I was asking lots of
questions about castings and such like,
but nobody put two and two together.
FROM CUSTOMER TO CONSTRUCTOR…
After two successful seasons with Matra, Tyrrell Racing Organization and Jackie Stewart
cut their ties when Matra insisted they use its mellifluous, but underpowered V12 in 1970.
Tyrrell’s first car, 001, made limited appearances in 1970. But the team hit the ground
running in ’ 71, winning two championships and 16 GPs over the next three seasons.
After the retirement of Jackie Stewart and the death of Francois Cevert in 1973,
Tyrrell never really got its mojo back. It soldiered on for another quarter-century, until
’ 98, but would score only seven more GP wins in that time, the last in ’ 83. In a revival
of sorts in 1990, Jean Alesi was second in Phoenix (having led 30 laps) and Monaco.
OVERALL HIT RATE: 43.24% ( 16 from 37 GPs) – Jackie Stewart 15; Francois Cevert 1
7 wins from 11 GPs
4 wins from 12 GPs
5 wins from 14 GPs
Excluded from the 1984 ch’ship for running illegal “unsecured ballast.” A story in itself...
Ran a part season with Cosworth power (ch’ship result shown) and part season with Renault.
Scored zero points for first time in its history. Not officially classified in Constructors’ standings.
Its final season was again pointless, with another official non-classification in the standings.
Derek Gardner’s very first F1
design, Tyrrell 001, started
four races in 1970, yet didn’t
reach the finish in any. But
with 003 still being built, a
001 was pressed into service
for the ’ 71 team launch
(LEFT) and season-opening
South African Grand Prix,
where Jackie Stewart took
the pole and finished second.
THE FIRST TYRRELL
(LEFT) Before going
down the constructor
path, Tyrrell and
Jackie Stewart won
nine grands prix and
the 1969 Formula 1
Matra, then struggled
with the unloved
customer March 701
in 1970 (BELOW).