003 Lives Twice!
JACKIE Stewart relived a few old memories last month when at Donington Park he drove his Tyrrell 003 for the first time since 1972. This was the car that took Jackie to his second world championship win in 1971, and is the most successful single chassis in the history of Formula One giving Jackie eight of his twenty-seven Grand Prix wins. The car was given to him by Ken Tyrrell at the end of 1973, and he in turn gave it to his two sons although at the time they were rather too young to drive it! Until the end of 1988 the car sat in the Glasgow transport museum, and like all cars that are not used regularly it deteriorated in condition. Paul, the eldest of Jackie’s two sons and now competing in Formula Three, described how the car was in a sorry state when they asked Roy Topp if he would restore it. Roy had been Jackie’s mechanic at Tyrrell and more recently he has been working for Paul Stewart Racing in Formula Ford 2000 and Formula Three. He has been working on and off the car since the end of 1988. The day at Donington was arranged as a tribute to Roy and the magnificent job he had done. “Really the
car is better now than it ever was new. When a car is being built it’s in a workshop for so long that they create one part of it, then a second part is built, then the first part is altered; so much research and development goes into each part that it’s never as well turned out as an historic car that can be seen at Donington museum for example. I was so impressed by the restoration that I thought Roy needed some praise and recognition, in addition to which he’s leaving Paul Stewart Racing to play with motor-bikes which are his first love, and to do some other work in rebuilding”. Roy had stripped the car right down to the tub and rebuilt it using 90% original parts. Even though the suspension was replated, and the engine Was rebuilt by Cosworth, Roy did not spend a vast amount on the car, the main requirements being time and a fair amount of elbow grease. The car really did look splendid, but it was even better to know that it
wasn’t just a show-piece; both Jackie and Paul meant to drive it later in the day. The 003, designed by Derek Gardner, more or less dominated the 1971 Grand Prix season. Jackie Stewart finished the season 29 points ahead of second place man Ronnie Peterson in a March, and Tyrrell finished 37 points clear of BRM in the constructors’ championship. And yet the Tyrrell, which used Goodyear tyres, had no obvious technical advantage over the majority of its rivals. Indeed both BRM and Ferrari, the most persistent opposition, were powered by V12 engines and ran on Firestone tyres. The handling of the Tyrrell improved during the season due to the adoption of rising rate springs and the better balance obtained from the sports car style nose, but the most important factor was the car’s reliability.”We had the right combination. Derek had done a good job in designing a car that wasn’t so sophisticated that it was mechanically fragile. We had a wonderful preparation
team and Roger Hill and Roy Topp did a fantastic job in looking after me. I drove in what I thought was a conservative but fast enough fashion and hardly ever broke down.”
Roy thought that the driver’s contribution to the car’s success and reliability was rather more significant than in Jackie’s modest self-appraisal.”Obviously we had a very good man behind the wheel, and Jackie played a big part, there’s no doubt about that. He was good on the car and the gearbox and he looked after his tyres. The cars probably slid about more then than they do today because of the lack of downforce and the harder tyres. The last thing you wanted in those days was a pitstop for destroyed tyres, because they were changed with trolley jacks and large spanners. The car was otherwise reliable. There was less problem with the engine then, and they could be expected to do a thousand miles or more. So reliability was the main thing and with Jackie there it made a big difference.”
Jackie won six Grands Prix in 1971 often leading from the start or early on in the race. He remembers the Spanish Grand Prix as being a difficult race in which he had a long running battle with Ickx, in a Ferrari, after passing him on lap six. Monaco also proved to be a good race; he led from the start and set a new lap record.”That was where we had no back brakes. One master cylinder packed up — the ballast bar had broken. That was a nice one to win knowing I was travelling fast enough without rear brakes. We had built up a fairly big lead, so that although Ronnie Peterson was catching me towards the end, I was able to back off by then.
“The French Grand Prix was a good race; everyone expected the Ferraris to be much faster because of the long straights at Paul Ricard. We came out with the air box for the first time and everybody thought we were cheating. What got most people was that in the first two laps I pulled out something like five seconds from Regazzoni and lckx, and at the end I and my team-mate Francois Cevert finished first and second.
“We had a good engine that obviously worked well, but it’s nice to look back on that today, because I think the greatest advantage we had was nine horsepower over the other Cosworths. If you think of what goes on today with the forty or fifty horsepower advantages that some people have, the goal-posts have moved a lot. In those days to have nine horsepower was like having fifty horsepower today. I have the highest respect for Alain, I think he is the finest, most intelligent driver of today, without a doubt, while Ayrton is the fastest. But for Ayrton to win as many pole positions as he has, way over the limit of Jim Clark, is not difficult if the rest of the field has such a deficit in horsepower.” Jackie has often spoken of his admiration for Senna, for the smoothness of his driving style, and the thoroughness of his preparation. He also concedes that it is difficult to remain popular in Formula
One if you are as far in front as in most people’s view Senna is, and yet for Jackie that is not the whole picture. “I think he has been very reluctant at coming forward to the media, and that’s part of the job in my view. You can’t hide yourself away and not talk other than at assembled press conferences. You have got to have dialogue. It’s part of being a complete racing driver. He finds, and this is what he says, that it detracts from his effort. What he’s got to do, in my view, is not just accept that view of himself and stop. He’s got to go and develop himself as the complete racing driver as much as he has developed as a driver. I’m also disappointed that he’s had so many coming togethers with other drivers, even in the last 24 months. If you took all the great drivers from the beginning of the world championship — Fangio, Moss, Clark, myself maybe, Lauda and Alain Prost, of the multiple Grand Prix winners, I think you could probably count on one hand the number of times we had contact with other cars in our entire careers. Ayrton, I would venture to say, has had more in one season than we had all together. If that is the case, there is something wrong. What has happened is that the superiority of his car has made overtaking easier for him. When blue flags are waved those about to be lapped move over, but when you get into a racing situation for a corner you shouldn’t expect the same to happen. He has been spoiled by people moving over and has assumed it’s par for the course, which it isn’t. You can’t do it in karting, nor Formula Ford, nor Formula 3. You can’t do it In Formula 3000, and you certainly shouldn’t be able to do it in Formula One.” 1989 was an exciting season in many respects, not least because of some rather controversial overtaking manoeuvres, and yet even at the best of times motor racing remains a dangerous sport. Surely one of the most encouraging aspects was the fad
that Gerhard Berger survived the scale of accident that sadly killed Jo Siffert at the end of 1971. “We’ve seen a radical change. Gerhard’s car didn’t climb over an earth bank, and it didn’t get launched into the air; it didn’t split Armco barriers because it went in at the wrong angle. The ground was smooth around the concrete wall and the run off area, and therefore didn’t upset the car. That’s the first thing. Secondly, the quality of the materials in the composite carbon fibres that now create the driver’s cell has changed everything. He had no broken ankles or legs which to me is a miracle. The nature of the chassis absorbed the energy that would otherwise have been transmitted directly to the driver. The harness was obviously spreading the weight properly, and the rescue and medical crew arrived very quickly.” From the outset of his career as a racing driver Jackie campaigned for Improved standards of circuit and driver safety and was instrumental in bringing about many of the changes he describes here. It is this aspect of his career that he is most proud of. Not everyone agreed with him at the time. Indeed Jackie points out that one of his greatest critics was MOTOR SPORT.”It was a time when it was a revolutionary way to be thinking and most people didn’t share my opinion.”
It is ostensibly for reasons of safety that FISA are refusing to grant the Le Mans circuit a licence to hold a race this year. The general climate of opinion is that the safety argument has become secondary to political considerations and Jackie agreed with this.”It would appear to me to be a political issue which unfortunately the President has got himself involved in and which stems from a variety of reasons which I understand are not only to do with safety. The President and FISA will categorically deny that but I’m sure there’s more to it. “However having said that, I do believe that the speeds reached on the Mulsanne
Straight clearly have to be recognised as a problem, and the containment of an accident within the parameters of the track is vital to the future prosperity of the sport. This could be said of many tracks. Isolation of one, as in the case of Le Mans, is wrong in the sense that if it’s good for the goose it’s got to be good for the gander. In the end we are going to have to have higher retaining walls in high speed areas with serious debris fences and high tension thick wire hawsers linking the firmly connected uprights. Like they have on the front straight at Indianapolis, for example, and they might not be high enough. So, as far as Le Mans is concerned although I think there is some fancy footwork going on, the integrity of the concept is correct.”
Safety in motor racing is just one aspect of the sport that is subject to change and development. In this small world of accelerated evolution is the basic technique of driving a racing car the only fixed constant or is it also something that changes as cars develop? “Oddly enough I don’t think the actual technique has changed a great deal. The same type of driving that Prost uses today, and that Lauda used yesterday, and that I used before that, is really what it takes. You’ve got to be smooth, gentle and progressive with the car. Even with the firmness of today’s cars, even with the increase in performance, even with the aerodynamic aids, the actual technique hasn’t changed much, and if you could wave your magic wand and bring back Clark, Caracciola, Nuvolari or Fangio the technique that they use would be instantly adaptable to the modern Grand Prix car. The man and machine relationship hasn’t altered, and it’s up to the man to interpret the needs of the machine to achieve the fastest possible time. “There have been two changes in my view. The first was the squirt and stop of the turbo era. You got as close into a corner as possible, and with the ground effect put all the brakes on, but you couldn’t get the car round in a gentle progressive power application, because the excess of power would cause the rear wheels to spin and would push the tyre temperatures up. Instead you got the car round the corner and into a fully tractable position and then gave it everything it could take, which was often up to one thousand horsepower of acceleration. The technique had to change in that period and I don’t think it was a good time for driver development. The other change was that of ground effects, where there would be an abrupt elbow bend to get the car round the corner. But again the delicate driver would get more out of the car than the hamfisted one. It is all a question of the equation of time; of how you can put your mind into slow motion and your movements into milliseconds. Instead of snapping your foot off the pedal, you take the first little movement ever so gently. That’s not to say that it takes a second to do it, it’s a millisecond factor. The same applies to when you brake; it’s the first
squeeze that’s important. It doesn’t make sense to go from an accelerative powerboat type positon to a nose dive position with the tail in the air. If you can modulate that and not be so aggressive in that change of movement, then the car will be slightly more friendly in its response to the driver.” Hoping to see exactly what he meant, I joined the slow convoy of cars lining up behind the Tyrrell 003 as it was towed from the museum down to the pits. This was to be the first time the car had run since its rebuild and Roy Topp expected there to be a few problems. Starting proved difficult and at first the car would fire on only five cylinders. Evidently the plugs were too hard for such cold weather and they had to be changed a couple of times before the engine would behave itself and fire on all eight cylinders. The car was wheeled ceremoniously from the garage and while Jackie and Paul posed patiently for the photographers the engine
rapidly cooled to below the critical temperature, and once more decided to sulk when it was eventually time to go. Meanwhile clouds loomed on the horizon threatening to rain off the whole event and so we were all relieved when the car finally started properly and Jackie was out on the circuit. Although he was by no means hurrying, it being a demonstration run more than anything, it was soon apparent exactly how smooth Jackie’s driving is. I watched him at the chicane before the pit straight as he came undramatically onto the brakes, changed down through the gears with a clockwork rhythm and set the car on an even throttle as he turned into the corner. The revs would increase slightly after the apex of the right hand turn, be held steady through to the left and then increase progressively to a fine sounding crescendo as the steering was unwound and the car came onto the pits straight. After four or five laps Jackie came in to let his son have a go in what was after all his car. Although Paul’s driving was not quite as smooth, comparisons are unfair as it was the first time he had driven the car, and in fact he did set the same time as his dad. I
asked Paul if the inevitable comparisons with his father had proved a hindrance once Paul had decided that he also wanted to race cars as a career. He was adamant that it had had no effect and that he never thought of having to live up to his father’s success. Indeed most people in the sport recognised that he was a driver with a career in his own right.
Paul combines a refreshing modesty with a quiet determination to do well and be competitive. Towards the end of last season in Formula 3 he put in some very respectable performances, winning at Snetterton and qualifying third, highest of the newcomers, at Macau. He remains in Formula 3 for the 1990 season. “It is important for me to learn a bit more in Formula 3 before I make a step to Formula 3000, if I’m good enough.” Was he optimistic about his chances next year? “I’m conservatively hopeful. I don’t like to be too bullish about things. Some people will expect me to do well, but there are others who are expected to perform more than I am. I hope I can outdo them as well.” Roy who has experience of the racing scene both in the early Seventies and today remarked on how much more professional racing is now. “It’s the day of the big sponsor. That is what has made everything so much more competitive.” Jackie endorsed this view; but had this increased need for professionalism made it any more difficult for the young hopefuls of today? “First of all it’s easier in the sense that sponsorship is better recognised today. More people see the benefit of motor sport as a carriage for projecting a small business, a big national, or multinational company. However the competition is higher and the costs are greater and so it’s a question of how well you manage your press relations, and your exposure, to guarantee whatever company you try to encourage to come along, their full value for money. Every form of racing today has a better chance of raising money but the competition is harder and you need to be more professional in a complete sense than before.” In many ways the increasing intrusion of commercialism into the world of motor racing might seem a great shame. From a purist point of view it is becoming increasingly difficult for an enthusiastic amateur to drive to and from a meeting, and compete, all in the same car. It is also hard to imagine a Grand Prix star of today writing a book as wide ranging as Stirling Moss’ My cars my career. On the other hand we have had an increase in the technological advancement of the sport. A greater number of people are able to take part, and the standards of competition are higher. The young driver of today, as well as being a talented driver, has to be good at press and public relations, and has to substitute his racing overalls for a city suit when it comes to dealing with sponsors. Like it or not, it is a fact of motor racing life and one that Jackie Stewart has had a significant part in making. CSR-W