“John and I had ultimate trust in each other. He was a great engineer who knew what I was thinking and trying to say, and would transmit that straight to the car.
He knew if we made a change and it didn’t work, I’d tell him. He also knew that if I left two-tenths out there I’d say, and if I said that lap was 100%, he knew we had to improve the car.
In 1980 at Toleman it was difficult for us because we were up against Brian Henton and Rory Byrne, who were the best in the F2 business and were up to all sorts of tricks which we had to counter. We found a few things we kept for ourselves, which is what it was like back then…
John understood my frustrations when we went to F1 and were five seconds off the back of the grid. He appreciated that I still gave it 120%. We grew together as driver and engineer, which is why I took him to Renault. We never fell out or lost that trust. He also had an unbelievable bond with the mechanics, and if he wanted to change the engine at midnight they’d do it. Even at Brabham after Elio’s death, we knew Riccardo Patrese was the main focus of the team and we worked around that.
He’s even godfather to my eldest daughter. We were together for so long. He’s a sensitive, unassuming guy too.”