F1 mechanics who fall on hard times can rely on a trust set up by JYS for help
The Grand Prix Mechanics Trust (GPMT) was founded by Jackie Stewart in 1987 and is a charitable body that cares for Formula 1 mechanics around the world. Its mission is ‘to put lives back on track’, and this it has achieved for a great many men who, for a variety of reasons, have found themselves in hardship after a life on the road looking after F1 drivers and their cars.
Aside from the help it gives to mechanics, both past and present, the trust is also a great way to keep in touch with old friends. Regular reunions are held, attended by hundreds of the skilled and dedicated men upon whom racing drivers have always depended not only for speed and reliability but also their safety.
Much of the GPMT’s work involves either medical assistance or financial help for those who have fallen on hard times after, or during, their work in the pitlane. A typical example is former Tyrrell mechanic Neil Davis (see main feature) who was diagnosed with myeloma, a weakness in the upper body. Neil needed a special chair and an electric bed, both of which were provided by the trust. “They do an important job,” he says, “and they have helped a great many people in worse circumstances than myself.”
Former Pacific F1 team refueller Paul Summerfield was badly knocked about when his car left the pits before the fuel hose was properly detached. A broken leg refused to heal properly, compromising Paul’s daily life. The trust stepped in, paying his medical costs and sending him to the Willi Dungl clinic in Austria where he made a full recovery and got his life back on track.
These examples and many more are typical of the work done by the GPMT. The trustees include Patrick Head, Martin Brundle, Norbert Haug, David Coulthard, Professor Sid Watkins and former mechanics Dave Ryan and Jo Ramirez – all men who owe a great deal to the mechanics of Grand Prix racing.