Brought to you by TheJudge13 chronicler: BlackJack’sBriefs
As with my series on drivers, I started with the Wiki ‘List of Formula One Constructors’ and quickly reduced 136 to 43 eligible constructors by removing the Champions, and those hopefuls who failed to last beyond two or three seasons, and also those who only competed before 1958. [See Part-20 – Intro for details.]
“I am big! It’s the pictures that got small.”
Born in Dunbartonshire, in 1939, John Stewart was instantly dominant from his F3 debut in 1964, within days of which he was offered an F1 drive with Cooper, but declined and went on to take the F3 Championship instead.
He was also offered an F1 drive with Lotus, and again declined, but did replace an injured Jim Clark in the non-championship, Rand GP, and won the second heat. For 1965 he accepted a seat alongside Graham Hill at BRM, scored a point in his first GP race, won at Monza,and was placed 3rd in the Championship.
Stewart went on to win the World Championship three times, and is regarded as one of the F1 Greats.
Twenty-four years after his F1 driving career ended Stewart returned to F1, as a team owner, with his son Paul, who had been running Paul Stewart Racing for ten years, in F3, F3000, and F.Vauxhall/Lotus. With a five-year contract for ‘works’ Ford engines, father and son hit the big time.
The Stewart cars were designed by Gary Anderson, who had previously remained loyal to Jordan, having declined offers from McLaren and Ferrari, but was replaced in mid-1998 by Mike Gascoyne.
The SF01 was driven by Barrichello (after four disappointing years at Jordan) and newcomer Jan Magnussen (who had driven one F1 race, for McLaren in 1995, deputising for Mika Hakkinen, and won the 1994 British F3 Championship, driving for Paul Stewart), but the Zetec engine was an unmitigated disaster. Although Barrichello had finished 2nd at Monaco, qualified 3rd in Canada, and he and Jan qualified 5th & 6th in Austria, the team had just eight classified finishes from thirty-four race starts.
In the team’s second year things hardly improved. The Ford engine was still disappointing and the SF02 seemed little improved, while other teams had better developed their cars. The team finished twelve times out of thirty-two starts. Magnussen was dropped before the half-way point, amongst some animosity – Stewart felt he just wasn’t fast enough; Jan felt Stewart wasn’t capable of running more than one car. Replacement, Jos Verstappen, was able to get closer to Rubens’ qualifying times on occasions but, overall, didn’t fare any better, and was also dropped, at the end of the year.
McLaren and Ferrari fought for the crown, while Williams, Jordan and Benetton were way, way, behind and, far behind them, were Sauber, Arrows, Stewart, Prost, Minardi and Tyrrell – in what has recently become known as the ‘Caterham/Marussia’ slot. That is to say that, in 1998, six of the eleven teams were almost a waste of space, and often worse than the ‘make-weight’ privateers of the 50’s and 60’s.
Rubens elected to go for a third season with Stewart, now partnered by Johnny Herbert and, with a ‘new’ Ford/ Cosworth engine Velcro’d on the back, had their best year so far. Rubens took three podium finishes, and was unlucky that the third, at the Nurburgring, was two places behind Herbert, who gave Stewart their first and only victory. This is the race where Eddie Irvine failed to get past Marc Gene for the one point for sixth place, effectively (in most people’s view) losing him the World Championship… I can’t help feeling that if an ‘Irvine’, in a Ferrari, cannot pass a ‘Gene’ in a Minardi, perhaps he hardly deserves the crown.
Both cars usually qualified on the first half of the grid (after two years of mostly qualifying in the bottom half), and Herbert was usually much closer to Rubens than his previous teammates and, by Malaysia and Japan, Herbert just got the jump on Rubens, in both qualifying and the race.
Stewart finished 4th in the Championship, one point ahead of Williams, their most exciting day perhaps being at Magny Cours (the 85th French GP…) where a rain-soaked qualifying allowed Rubens to claim Pole and, in the race, he took full advantage to charge ahead and hold the lead until lap six. Rubens recovered 1st on lap 10, and held it until lap 42. In the meantime the heavens had opened and the safety car was deployed (for ten laps), which didn’t stop Villeneuve, Alexander Wurz, and Alex Zanardi from spinning off while in the convoy.
Mika Hakkinen tried an almost kamikaze lunge at Rubens under braking, and executed a neat 360… and dropped to 7th, while Michael Schumacher passed Heinz-Harold Frentzen for 2nd and, on lap 42, tried almost the same move on Rubens, at the same place, and went wide, allowing Rubens to re-take the lead. Two laps later Schumacher tried again, and made it stick.
But, on lap 54 Schumacher had to pit for an electrical problem and Rubens must have been grinning from ear to ear… until Mika passed him on lap-60. On lap 66 they both had to make a final pit-stop and the one-stopping Jordan of Frentzen took, and held, the lead for the last five laps.
In the following video, don’t worry if you don’t speak German – you’ll find many of the words used are similar – right from when Barrichello jumps off the grid to: “Guter start…!”
At the end of the year Ford upped the ante and bought the team, to form Jaguar Racing, retaining Paul as Chief Operating Officer who, during 2000, was diagnosed with cancer, and had to step down. After successful treatment at the Mayo Clinic Paul is still enjoying life with his wife and four sons. In 2001 Jackie Stewart was knighted.
As careers of driver/constructors go the Stewart team was not one of the best. Perhaps a fourth year might have allowed them to do better, although Jaguar’s performance in 2000 rather belies that thought. Perhaps, unlike the persistent Surtees, Stewart were wise to pull out when they (presumably) realised that running an F1 team into the 21stC. was never again going to be as easy as it had been in the 60’s & 70’s.
One of the biggest losers in this saga was Gary Anderson who had been dropped by Jordan and, after considering offers from Arrows and the Penske IndyCar team, accepted a place at Stewart, and stayed on with the Jaguar outfit for one year, before being dropped again. Many fans might now only know Gary as the erudite and knowledgeable technical pundit for the BBC – and now much missed, because he’s been dropped again…
But Gary was never one to stand around and twiddle his toes. In 2001 he had a year in America with the Reynard IndyCar team before, somewhat surprisingly, rejoining Jordan for 2003-04. Then he spent ten years with various TV channels, and as a freelance consultant, before joining FOM this year (2014), to help coordinate their TV output, and to work on the upcoming F1 ‘app’ from FOM.
Less well known is Anderson’s background before F1 when, as a 20-year-old, he arrived in England from N.Ireland with a dream of being a racing driver. He found work as a mechanic with Motor Racing Stables, at Brands Hatch, before slipping into the Brabham F3 team, and then the Brabham F1 team, where he became chief mechanic.
In 1975 Gary joined forces with a Tyrrell mechanic, Bob Simpson, to build the Anson SA1, for F3, which Gary drove, with no little success, but he left Brabham to pursue this project full-time in 1977. Unfortunately the loss of Unipart sponsorship to March brought it all to a close, and Gary returned to F1 as chief mechanic for McLaren, for two years, before joining the unsuccessful Ensign team for 1980.
At the same time Anderson and his two partners formed Anson Cars, to produce customer F3 and F.Vee cars,for six years, while Gary returned to IndyCars in 1985 as chief engineer for the Galles team. In 1988 Anson Cars was bought by Mike McHugh who wanted to build the FVee cars in California but, two months later the two top executives of Volkswagen America were killed in the Lockerbie disaster, and the project disappeared.
In 1983 Franz Konrad won the German F3 Championship, and Tommy Byrne finished 6th in the 1984 European F3 Championship, in Anson cars.
In America Anderson teamed up with Roberto Moreno with considerable success in F3000, and won the 1988 Championship, using a much-modified Reynard chassis. Adrian Reynard then took Anderson on to design the 1989-90 Reynard F3000 chassis – which led to the invitation to join the new Jordan team.
to be continued…