Louis Stanley: What today's F1 people recall about his heyday



Jackie Stewart

“Louis was a larger than life character who brought a bit of colour, and certainly a different demeanour to Formula One Grand Prix racing. He and his wife Jean: there was clearly a degree of respectability about their manners, about their deportment and their presence, which I think did no harm to motorsport at all. His contribution with regard to his obstinacy and forcefulness over the Grand Prix Medical Unit was something that the sport never gave him credit for, only because the other side of him created an aggressiveness and a rebound factor that did not help him in being fully credited with his immense contribution in that respect. If Professor Watkins has an easier job today, some of that was achieved by Louis Stanley’s recognition of the anomaly that the whole thing represented.

“He’s always been brutally frank, but I think anyone of mature years who has lived through a period like that is allowed to do that. I rather liked him.”

Jackie Oliver

“He was a larger than life character, unique. It was unfortunate that he didn’t channel his tremendous talent into the right area. His ability to persuade people to do things was enormous, but his ability to select the right people to do those jobs was minimal. If he’d just concentrated on the commercial side he would have had no problem raising the money.”

Andrew Frankl (publisher/photographer)

“The magnificent thing about him was illustrated when Ronnie Peterson ran over a policeman’s foot in a traffic jam at Spa in 1970 and was thrown in jail. Louis Stanley went to the Foreign Minister and said, ‘One of my boys has been arrested. Unless you have him released I shall have the race cancelled.’

“Ronnie was allowed out for the race, because Louis helped. A lot of others, famous drivers, thought it was Ronnie’s own problem and wouldn’t.

“He is larger than life, and his mobile hospital was a super idea. He was the sort of character F1 needs today.”

Jabby Crombac (journalist)

“He was a man against whom was his pomposity, but on the other hand he was the most kind-hearted person I’ve ever known. During his period as a regular in Formula One, if anyone was in trouble Louis and his wife Jean would be the first to come and help, sometimes at great expense to themselves.

“This is illustrated by the time when Jo Schlesser was killed at Rouen in the 1968 French Grand Prix. They helped his widow Annie. Jean stayed up all night with her to stop her throwing herself from a window, when all of Annie’s friends from Paris had left her.”