Obituary Charlie Crichton-Stuart
Ex-Formula ‘three racer and Williams F1 leading light Charlie Crichton-Stuart died of a heart attack on July 2 at the age of 62.
Grandson of the fifth Marquess of Bute, Crichton-Stuart flew DH Vampires in the RAF before turning his hand to motorsport, initially with a Formula Junior Cooper in 1962.
He competed under the Anglo-Scottish Racing banner, and when 1-litre F3 was launched in 1964, he drove for the Stirling Moss-run SMART outfit.
As part of a travelling bond of financially-strapped racers he became close friends with Frank Williams, Piers Courage and Charlie Lucas, and was proprietor of an infamous Harrow flat whose rolling roster of inmates included Jochen Rindt and Innes Ireland. Charlie’s marriage to actress Shirley-Anne Field kept him in the gossip columns, while family commitments led him to retire from driving in 1967.
For several years he worked as a private pilot, most notably for Harrods boss Sir Hugh Fraser, before joining forces with old pal Williams in the late 1970s. Frank’s new team was just gathering momentum, and Crichton-Stuart pioneered a role that might now be described as that of commercial director. He was instrumental in securing several crucial sponsorship deals, and helped introduce TAG to F1
In 1984, he left Williams to work for TAG, and then joined the Beatrice/Haas F1 project. After that folded he organised an F3000 team for protege Russell Spence, before dropping out of motor racing again.
For the past five years he had been in pursuit of sunken shipwrecks in the Philippines, with support from Spence and other old friends. The recent discovery of a cargo of 15th century Chinese porcelain indicated he was on the right track, but the workload may have contributed to his heart attack.
A second attack claimed him the day before he was due to fly back to Britain for treatment. Crichton-Stuart, who was separated from his second wife Jenny, leaves three children. Adam Cooper