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Readers’ evening with Sir Jackie Stewart

On December 5, Motor Sport hosted a special readers’ evening with Sir Jackie Stewart OBE.

Joining the three-time champion at the Landmark Hotel in Marylebone were Nigel Roebuck and Damien Smith, as well as former Tyrrell and McLaren man Jo Ramirez. After dinner, the four sat down for a question and answer session which you can hear below. Sir Jackie shared his thoughts on some of his contemporaries plus a few more modern drivers, and gave an insight into his trademark smooth driving style.

We also used the night to launch our annual Hall of Fame event along with our auction for the Grand Prix Mechanics Charitable Trust.

f1 events  Readers evening with Sir Jackie Stewart

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f1 events  Readers evening with Sir Jackie Stewart

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35 comments on Readers’ evening with Sir Jackie Stewart

  1. Michael Spitale, 7 December 2012 16:30

    Brilliant…. Rarely do I just have one word to say…. but that was top shelf as it gets

  2. David-Joe Klotz, 7 December 2012 23:29

    Knocking Schumi once again – what a pity.

  3. Bill, 8 December 2012 18:46

    I respect Jackie Stewart a lot, but jesus christ, Motorsport, Stewart, and Roebuck: was that Schumacher bash really necessary? If you loathe his driving tactics, fine, but you guys using double standards questions whether tehre arent other motives to talk Michael Schumachers achievements down.

    Mr Stewart: if going off track means your not a great driver, how come you say Lewis Hamilton is a better driver than Schumacher, whilst Lewis flies off track in just about each and every session? Thats some double standards your showing.

    And yes, Michael only got pole after Senna died, but lets not kid ourselevs what car (a Newey car), or what engine mr Senna used vs Schumachers material. That benetton was only competitive from 1994 onwards, using a Ford V8, about 80bhp down on Senna’s Renault V10. Its a bit ridiculous to say Schumacher isnt a great because he didnt beat Senna with inferior material.

    Then, isnt it true Schumacher won about 36 races before his Ferrari started to catch up on McLaren, who where using bespoke Bridgestone tyres (pay attention mr Roebuck, Bridgestone tyres only made for McLaren) vs the Good Years of Schumacher?

  4. Bill, 8 December 2012 18:56

    And, finally, mr Roebuck, after gaining much respect the last few years, when you mellowed out on bashing Schumacher, you kind of wiped it all out again after this podcast. Why do you treat your readers as having the memory of a fish?

    Didnt you rave on about how great Jacques Villeneuve was? Or Juan Pablo Montoya? Or Jarno trulli? But suddenly now its: Schumacher never had any competition, and today the competition is much better? Who exactly did you have in mind?
    - He raced against Button, a former world champion, since 2000.
    - Kimi Raikonen since 2002, former world champion and I dont think anyone says hes mediocre.
    - Webber since 2002
    - Alonso since 2003
    - Rosberg since 2005

    In fact the only new adddition today, is Hamilton, who seems to try and destroy whatever is left of his reputation, on a weekly basis, and Vettel.

    I find it ridiculous, this disdain for readers from you, mr Roebuck. We are not stupid. And mr Stewart: next time you talk down Schumacher, use valid argumentation, and dont use double standards because now it makes it all a bit hollow, and, frankly, sound like sour grapes.

  5. Bill, 8 December 2012 19:17

    Another thing that was said and turned out to be incorrect: Jackie said Mosley called him a halfwit because of him being dyslectic. If that was true then it would really be a low point of Mosley, but the truth is a bit different.

    Mosley was criticised for handing out a $50million penalty to McLaren for their part in spygate, and their lying in the first WMSC hearing about the extend of the knowledge inside mcLaren of Ferrari IP, and the use of it.

    Stewart said the fine was unjustifiable, and that it would never have stood in a real court. He also suggested the fine was because of Mosley having a personal fight with Dennis. (Ferrari and McLaren settled out of court, and some McLaren members pleaded no contest to Italian D.A. criminal charges.)

    Mosley got upset and said:
    ““He said the FIA’s decision would not have worked in a civil court. He has no qualification to say that.

    “Then he starts saying this is personal between me and Ron Dennis, at great length, because everything he does is at extreme length.

    “It’s annoying that some of the sponsors listen to him because he’s won a few championships. But nobody else in Formula One does — not the teams, not the drivers. He’s a figure of fun among drivers.”

    “He goes round dressed up as a 1930s music hall man. He’s a certified halfwit.”

    So Mosley didnt insult him because of Stewarts handicap, but because Stewart played an Ad Hominem at Mosley first.

  6. John B, 8 December 2012 20:50

    The whole reason I subscribe to the magazine and listen to these superb podcasts is to hear the opinions of the greats. The opinions expressed are not always the same as mine but I still want to hear them.
    I worry that the level of criticism aimed at the team following the last few podcasts will make them question why they bother.
    Gentlemen – these are outstanding listening and considering you make them available for FREE – well what can I say except maybe some need to stop listening to them and let the rest of us enjoy your outstanding work.

  7. William, 8 December 2012 21:23

    Ditto John B above.

    Motorsport, you’re the best in the business by far. Any halfwit on the internet can say what they like to the contrary, but maybe you should gently remind them occasionally that they are free to ask for a refund, as well as to tell us what their qualifications are, where they hold forth publicly via a blog or whatever, and how many others want to read what they write.

  8. Bill, 8 December 2012 22:14

    So we can only rave about the podcast and not criticise the part that was bringing the good stuff from this podcast, or even their credibility down?

    Its all good being a great, triple champ, but that creates big expectations too, doesnt it? Like judging all drivers to one standard, instead of putting Schumacher up to different ones he holds against Lewis Hamilton, and not make it as if Schumacher jumped into a hugely superior Ferrari from mid 1991 untill end of 2006.

    Or that Schumacher not being able to beat Senna for pole, with Senna in a Newey car, with a hugely superior Renault engine, is evidence Michael Schumacher isnt a great, or so says Jackie Stewart. One look at the 1993 season, when Schumacher and Senna had the same Ford V8, learns that Schumacher outqualified Senna 8 times out of 16.

    But when one brings that one up, I guess the ‘stats arent everything’ excuse is being used. Apparently its only ok to talk about the stats of Jacky Stewart, and not Schumacher, who drove outstanding races in dogs of cars, and was a triple champion before he got his hands on superior Ferraris.

    Jacky Stewart was an F1 great, from an era when racing was plain dangerous, and his work for charity is great and admirable, but his (and Roebucks) talk about Schumacher not being a great, is smelling an awful lot of sour grapes if they continue to bring up coloured views and examples that dont say anything or can easely be countered with contradicting stats, like the 1993 qualifying stats Schumacher vs Senna.

  9. Michael Spitale, 9 December 2012 00:43

    It does get a bit tricky. I can see the old guard starting to down play Vettel the same way they down play Schumacher. JYS essentially claiming Vettel has not proved anything because he has only done it at one team, etc. The thing I do not understand is why they claim Schumcher was ruthless, but love Alonso who they all know is every bit as ruthless as Schumi.

    However, at the end of the day it is opinions and not everyone will agree with everyone else. That is the great thing about sport. It is not an absolute. Is Moss as good as Senna? Who knows?! Was Giles as great as Nigel believes, not sure do too a small sample. Would Fangio have been as great today? We will never know…. It is what makes it all go round folks….

  10. Bill, 9 December 2012 16:45

    Youre totally right that its only opinions, but questioning whether Schumacher is a great because he couldnt beat Senna with an inferior car, or suggesting he had a car advantage all his career, is such rubbish it is hard to contemplate an F1 great like Jackie Stewart is saying that. I think its ill mannered. Imagine Schumi saying Jacky isnt a great, because he used Cevert as his lackey, or driving a hugely superior Tyrrell 03. You may hate Schumi’s tactics, loathe his many shortcomings, but saying he isnt a great a la Senna is absurd, and does not give credit to his many, many Jimmy Clark-like dominating wins in anything but superior material. Then to say he had no competition is even more insulting. He fought, and beat Mansell, Senna, Prost, Mika all driving superior cars w better engines. Schumachers first win in wet Spa 1992 was amazing, beating the all conquering FW14B. Spain 1994, Monaco, Germany, Spa 1995. Argentina and Spain 1996. Look at Germany 1996, when he hauled in Jacques Villeneuve at more than 2 seconds a lap. 97, 98 and 99 had many brilliant drives. But maybe one should rerun Brasil 1994 to see how little there was to choose between Senna and Schumacher. They both lapped the field after 55 laps. Senna was chasing him hard, never more than 10 seconds between them but made a mistake and spun off. Schumacher won, finishing one lap ahead of the entire field. Hate him, loathe him, that was a class drive against arguably the best driver ever in F1

  11. Zelda, 10 December 2012 05:47

    Frankly, maybe some of the commentators on Schumacher should have their head checked..? I dont know, but I am disgusted by certain persons comments on Schumacher.

    Could you guys please be more objective next time you are commenting on a driver you really dislike? :)

  12. C C, 10 December 2012 13:21

    Why do the usual Schumacher bashers drone on about his Car advantage. This only applies from 2001 onwards, and we all know he’s been in F1 for years beforehand

    The guy as won plenty of races in the 90′s without the best car, and often against quality opposition.

    Vettel is also quality, or have we been missing other victories in Toro Rossos?

    Other than that, another quality Podcast

  13. Carlos Sanchez, 11 December 2012 14:32

    Great chat, superb!
    I really do not understand all this fuzz from some readers about the observations on Schumacher, which albeit a great driver and champion indeed but (and I fully agree) without the truly ‘great’ aura of the likes of Fangio, Clark and Senna for the very reasons (amongst others) already noted.
    Michael’s Benetton competitive only after ’94?… Rubbish, when already in ’93 it had the superior Ford Zetec engine while McLarens where equipped with ‘off the shelf’ Ford ones the same as Minardi ???!!! and even so we witnessed Senna’s prowess in Donnington, Australia etc. Likewise McLaren had to do with a rudimentary suspension lowering scheme against Williams’ fully robotized suspension and traction control system and Benetton’s legal (?) electronic management system (even post ’93…). Then, The Williams was yes a Newey design, only then left, starting ’94, as an immensely dangerous car to drive having taken off all the automated gimmicks that helped keep it to the ground, and even then Senna scored pole over Schumi. Over time Schumi has been victorious with a system and structure, aided by collateral needs to get Farrari back to the top of Garnd Prix racing (for the benefit of us all) and, merit for that too, which takes a great deal from his own credit then.
    If being objective is deemed wrong, then I could understand such complaints, otherwise that is it, and from none other than people who do KNOW about motor racing.
    Thanks Jackie and Jo.

  14. Bill, 11 December 2012 16:50

    So let me get this straight:

    - Senna driving a 2 spec behind Schumacher Ford engine = Schumacher has unfair advantage.
    - Schumacher driving a V8 vs the superior V10 Renault of Senna = Schumacher cannot beat Senna.
    - Senna offering his services for free to Frank Williams to get the best – Newey – car in the field, leaving Dennis and McLaren in the cold= Senna has an aura of greatness.
    - Schumacher snubbing deals with Williams, McLaren, but tries to build his own team at Ferrari and succeeding after 5 long years = Schumacher cannot be seen as an F1 great.

    He can never win this debate, can he? Im willing to overlook the years his Ferrari was superior for the sake of argument, but even those numerous fantastic drives of Michael in inferior Benettons and Ferraris are simply ignored, or then the excuse he had no competition is used (wich kind of defeats the notion he wasnt a great. Either he was a great with no competition, or a mediocre driver on the same level as his average peers).

    A 2009 poll conducted by Autosport amongst 217 F1 drivers, said Schumacher was the second greatest driver ever, only behind Senna. They KNOW about motorracing too, dont they?

    Me, I think there is very little between Clark, Senna, Schumacher, Prost, Stewart, Moss, Fangio. Why not just say they are all exceptional and quit the nitpicking and double standards towards Michael? What made Senna holier or better than Schumacher? I dont see it.

  15. Peter Coffman, 11 December 2012 19:00

    Great podcast. It is wonderfully refreshing to hear undecaffeinated opinions in response to direct questions. Jackie’s points were clear, incisive, effective – it reminded me of how he drove; both, I believe, reflect how he thinks. Would that we could all be so sharply focused.

  16. Tony Geran, 11 December 2012 22:59

    Interesting podcast guys but would have liked to have heard JYS’s speech which preceded podcast Q&A. To Bill, all I can say mate is “get a life”. Schumacher collided with how many others during his career? Don’t forget Senna went to his grave convinced that the Benetton was illegal, if you don’t accept that then listen to the Motorsport podcast of the Senna film evening.

  17. Bill, 12 December 2012 00:50

    Bill, all I can say mate is “get a life”. Schumacher collided with how many others during his career?”"

    You wanna suggest Senna never did dangerous things on track?

    “Don’t forget Senna went to his grave convinced that the Benetton was illegal”

    Yeah, and Senna also thought drivers who are trying to unlap themselves on him, should be punched in the face. Finnish rookies that outqualified king Senna would be asked what the hell it is theyre doing.

    We can continue for a while about the irregularities of Senna, or Schumacher in F1, but I think its disrespectful to only highlight the German’s shortcomings whilst painting a picture of Senna as having the aura of a great. The one’s who should get a life, are those podcast-members who are doing exactly that.

  18. Tony Geran, 12 December 2012 04:52

    Bill, I’m not making out Senna was a saint, he wasn’t and neither is Schumacher. In fact no one in F1 is. But I can’t think of another world champ, Senna aside, who had so many avoidable collisions with competitors.

  19. Bill, 12 December 2012 12:00

    So I gather that youre putting Senna on the same line – he isnt a great – as Schumacher, because they both caused collisions? Now that is an opinion that I can respect! What is good for the goose, is good for the gander.

    I took issue with JYS and Roebucks attack on Schumacher not being an F1 great, with louzy argumentation. Judging by the comments, I wasnt alone. Like I said I think there isnt much between them, and if you see Schumachers many great races hes a little more than just a crash kid or a priviledged driver( same goes for Senna, I respect him too).

  20. JCR, 12 December 2012 13:34

    I had vowed never to post a comment on here again following the diatribe I was subjected to from one of the posters in a previous topic.

    However I will place one final post. It is truly disappointing that such a superb feature has degenerated into yet another Senna v’s Schumacher argument. So much more of real interest was discussed in what was an all too brief encounter with one of the truly great drivers.

    JYS was probably the most analytical drivers that have ever sat in a race car and if anyone doubts that may I commend you to a superb film currently available on YouTube. In this movie JYS takes you around the Nurburgring in an open topped car describing in great depth how he drives that fearsome track.

    Someone on here made the remark that JYS had a subservient lacky in Francois Cevert. What an absolutely disgraceful thing to say and what an insult to both drivers. There is a hug difference between a young pupil learning from the master and an “equal” being told to stand aside for a favoured one!

    Anyway gentlemen could we not now drop the tedious arguments about Michael Schumacher and his relative merits or not and cover some of the other more interesting topics raised in this superb feature.

    Thank you.

  21. JCR, 12 December 2012 13:36

    Apologies for some of the typos but it is very cold here in mainland Europe and my fingers are not functioning so well at the moment.

  22. Alex Harmer, 12 December 2012 13:48


    Things do get intense in the comments section, but don’t let it put you off. If you want to post somewhere a little more relaxed and open, take a look at the forum. It’s a much better place for discussion and completely troll-free.

    All the best,

  23. Ian Howard, 12 December 2012 14:04


    Pretty tough talking from Bill there eh?

    You must have driven in lots of Grand Prix to have such an informed opinion.

    It must be very difficult to be the only person who is right all the time.

    I was there on the night and I met Sir Jackie three times. He was kind, happy to talk and interested in your opinion when in conversation with him.

    I’m not going to say how big an asset Sir Jackie has been to the sport or count how many drivers that are alive today because of his safety crusade. He doesn’t need me to defend him because his successes speak for themselves.

    I am a Schumacher fan and I always have been. Formula 1 has never been about “after you mate” and it’s a professional blood sport.

    But the comments voiced on the night have historical context and years of personal experience to draw upon and I don’t think anything said was unfair or inaccurate.

    Comments, fair or foul aren’t going to alter the figures and Michael was a tough single minded guy and you can respect that.

    But the public will never “love” him or take them to their hearts like they have with Sir Jackie and has he so eloquently put it in his book . . . . Winning is not Enough.

    Enough said Bill?

  24. Bill, 12 December 2012 14:23

    “But the comments voiced on the night have historical context and years of personal experience to draw upon and I don’t think anything said was unfair or inaccurate.”

    They were very specific why Schumacher wasnt a great. I was very specific why that was rubbish. Why not adress those instead of putting vague statements like these on?

    Schumacher comes many times as number one in popularity polls amongst fans. I really dont see where you get the idea that ‘the public’ will never love him. Have you asked everyone?

    Have you ever heard Schumacher judge Stewart btw?

  25. Ian Howard, 12 December 2012 14:44

    Strangely enough I have not asked “all” the public if they love Michael Schumacher.

    Indeed some people I have asked have never heard of him!

    But when in conversation with like minded motorsport people I have yet to meet anyone who said that they “Like or love” Michael Schumacher. Including some of my friends who are his fellow countrymen. They often say “amazing driver” but I’ve yet to meet anyone that has said “great sportsman and a fair player”.

    Bill, there there comes a point when persuing a point “ad nauseum” when it begins to become quite obtuse.

    Like I said . . . it must be hard to be only only one who is right all the time.

    Like I said “I am a Schumacher fan” and I always will be. He was a ruthless driver from a ruthless era.

    But the saying “Winning is not enough”, says it all really.

    Enough now?

  26. JCR, 12 December 2012 16:32


    Thank you for your words of encouragement. You say that things get “intense” here which I feel is very polite of you. I can deal with intense and tough, but really do rail at other commentators actually saying that people that do not agree with them as being untruthful.

    Certain commentators have made voluminous assertions pertaining to facts that have no historical reference in either English or French motor sporting journals that I have read, and believe me my library is vast!

    I am fine with anyone having an opinion be they right or wrong but to cast doubts about someone’s integrity because they disagree with one is not acceptable; hence my vow made earlier.

    What I really enjoyed about the Motorsport web site was reading other commentators experiences and anecdotes and being able to post a few of my own. That is what made this site worthwhile to me. Not to indulge in the kind of crap that one reads on places like Yahoo.

    This feature and Pod Cast of JYS should have been something to celebrate by all not degenerate into yet another Senna/Schumacher farce.

    As to the Forum; no thanks I have looked at it and it does not appeal.

  27. Bill, 12 December 2012 17:45

    Dear Ian,

    You were the one saying the public doesnt like Michael Schumacher. Dont get mad when I want to know exactly how you come to that conclusion. Thanks for explaining to me its only the likeminded group of people you talk to. For your information: Fota and F1 did several surveys, and the ones I dug up, all had Schumacher as most popular driver, twice as much as number 2 Alonso, poll taken out of 90.000 votes.

    @ JCR: I guess you were refering to me when you said I shouldnt say JYS was untrue in saying Mosley called him a halfwit because he is dyslectic.

    Ive looked it up, provided a link with the exact statements of Mosley, and his explanation why he called JYS a halfwit. It was Not because he is dyslectic.
    Disregard that at your own peril.
    Having said that Mosley shouldv known better, even if the same can be said about JYS statements on Mosley.

  28. Ian Howard, 12 December 2012 20:19


    Thanks for putting me in my place there.

    As I’ve said before it must be hateful to be right all the time.

    Is it true that MS can walk on water and turn water into wine?

    I must get some absolute empirical evidence to support that arguement.

    Perhaps a weblink or two?

    I might also say that to be asked to “ignore things at my own peril” is straying into language that I think you must guard against. It’s easy to be rude to a complete stranger on a forum like this but I think you should be careful old chum, you might just rub the wrong person up the wrong way one day.

  29. Peter Coffman, 12 December 2012 21:10

    May I propose a moratorium on the word “Schumacher” and a return to talking about the great podcast and what must have been a wonderful evening with JYS, Jo Ramirez, and Nigel Roebuck?

    Would anyone who was there care to share an anecdote?

  30. Bill, 12 December 2012 21:45

    Dear Ian,

    My sincere apologies if my words came over as rude to you. That was in no way my intention.

    I also apologise for not taking anything out of Jackie Stewarts mouth as gospel, just because he was such a great driver.

    I also thank the many others for giving the freedom to question that part of the podcast, where a name was uttered on wich we now put a moratorium on, without namecalling and other ad hominems. My point is made and I shall not disrupt the worshipping any further.
    Thank you


  31. Ian Howard, 12 December 2012 22:29

    More than happy to share an anecdote.

    I was at the evening with Sir Jackie and Jo.

    My questions are the ones timed at 16mins to Sir Jackie and 18.30 to Jo.

    What a privelige to be able to speak to them.

    At the champagne reception I asked Sir Jackie to sign a picture for my father, who is quite ill at the moment. Sir Jackie asked me to pass on his regards to my father for a speedy recovery.

    It’s really amazing to meet a man that you’ve read all about and seen in films and on TV face to face, have him look you in the eye and for him to give you some very kind words for a sick relative.

    He’s a legend from an era when the sport was at it’s most deadly.

    It’s truly amazing to meet such a survivor who started life unable to read or write and who has competed and beaten some of the icons of F1.

    If it sounds like hero worship then it is. I’m unashamed about it.

    It was one of the best nights of my life and one I shall happily never forget.

  32. Ben G, 13 December 2012 17:26

    Enjoyed this one (tho’ always worth reminding questioners that it’s just questions please, not speeches), and am greatly looking forward to an end of year review. Thanks for the podcasts – a real treat.

    Bill, Schumacher was good, but he defo drove into Damon in 1994 on purpose, as he did with Gilles in ’97. This makes him a bit suspect to most of us. And Nico whupped him just lately.
    [sticks tongue out, runs away]

  33. Bill, 13 December 2012 18:46

    Gilles lives? Thank you, Lord!!

    Well continue talk about the 7 times world champion in some other article. I think we got it covered in this comment section. ;)

    The rest of the podcast was really nice, and I was happy to hear Jo Ramirez again. Wonderful man!

  34. Chris Wright, 20 December 2012 20:12

    Some surprisingly negative comments about Sir Jackie here. A shame, because he has unquestionably given great service to the sport and, I’m bound to say, never once indulged in some of the more questionable tactics adopted by a certain seven times World Champion. And, frankly, when most people have forgotten the name Max Mosley, they will still be talking in glowing terms about JYS.

  35. Pat Doyle, 24 December 2012 12:09

    This was a very big highlight even though I’ve followed Grand Prix Racing since 1961. Meeting Sir Jackie and having a brief chat was brilliant. Our current crop of ‘super-stars’ could learn
    a few PR skills from ‘the master’.
    More please Motor Sport.
    Best wishes

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