PEOPLE: ALEXANDER HESKETH

Name: Alexander Hesketh
Nationality: Great Britain

Lord Thomas Alexander Fermor-Hesketh inherited his title when he was only five years old but he did not inherit the family money until 1971 when he reached 21. A difficult student Hesketh ran away from the famous Ampleforth public school. Soon after he inherited the family fortune, he and a friend, Anthony Horsley, decided to set up a racing team called Hesketh Racing and bought a Surtees Formula 2 which they began to enter in races for James Hunt in the course of 1974. They also bought an out-of-date F1 Surtees in which Hunt made his F1 debut at the Race of Champions and impressed with a third place finish.

The trio then convinced themselves that they were wasting time in Formula 2 and Hesketh bought an old March F1 car, hiring Harvey Postlethwaite to engineer it. This was a success and Hunt finished eighth in the World Championship that year.

Hesketh decided that he wanted to have his own cars for the 1974 season and Postlethwaite designed the Hesketh 308. It won the non-championship International Trophy and scored three third places that year with Hunt finishing eighth in the World Championship again. The car was then updated for 1975 and midway through the year Hunt won the Dutch GP. He finished fourth in the World Championship.

Hesketh had been unable to continue funding the team and at the end of the year he sold it to Canadian millionaire Walter Wolf. Hunt moved to McLaren and took the World Championship the following year. Hesketh Motors remained in business rebuilding engines and doing fabrication work for other teams.

Hesketh concentrated on running the family estate after that and the former rebel began to take a more active in politics, having a seat in Britain's House of Lords. In 1981 he launched a short-lived motorcycle company and then in 1986 became a government whip in Margaret Thatcher's government. In 1990 the new Prime Minister John Major appointed him a junior minister at the Department of Trade and Industry and a year later he was elevated to the role of Privy Counselor.

In 1994 he became president of the British Racing Drivers Club replacing former Lotus racer Innes Ireland who had died the previous autumn. Hesketh resigned from the role in October 1999.

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