PEOPLE: TONY JARDINE
Name: Tony Jardine
Nationality: Great Britain
The son of a Royal Navy pilot who was stationed at the Simon's Town naval base near Cape Town, Jardine grew up in South Africa although every summer he returned to Liverpool, where his mother's family originated from. When he was seven he was taken to the British Grand Prix which took place at the Aintree circuit, in the suburbs of Liverpool. The family returned to England in 1962 after his father died, and in his teens Jardine made a deal with his stepfather: to complete his studies in exchange for help in motor racing when his studies were finished. Jardine finished school and went to the University of Warwick to study psychology and sociology. He became a teacher and started racing an old Formula Ford until a huge accident at Oulton Park put him into hospital. In order to buy another racing car he decided to look for a better job, joined the British Council and went to work at the English School in Kuwait City. A talented artist, Jardine drew cartoons for the Kuwait Times in the evenings. He discovered rallying and convinced the local Datsun dealer to back his adventures on the Kuwait Rally.
After a brief spell teaching in Iran, he returned to England and bought himself a rally car. He then found he did not have the money necessary to run it properly and so took a job as a truck driver. Not long afterwards he joined Goodyear Racing as a driver/tire fitter. After one season he was asked by Herbie Blash of Brabham if he would like to be the assistant team manager and he joined the team in 1978. The following year he stayed in England and helped Gordon Murray in the team's drawing office while also exploring a career as a stand up comic. He was about to give up the sport for the theater when he received an offer to be Teddy Mayer's assistant at McLaren. A year later the team was taken over by Ron Dennis and Jardine was fired.
He decided he wanted to learn more about sponsorship and, after three months in the United States, he set up a London office for a company called Busch Marketing in Minneapolis. After two years organizing marketing promotions for different companies he was hired by CSS Promotions in London as a sponsorship coordinator for the John Player Special account. JPS was involved with Team Lotus in F1, in powerboat racing and in motorcycles. In 1985 he decided to set up his own business and landed his first account - with the Virgin Atlantic airline company. In 1987 he added Camel and has since represented a variety of companies in various sports, including BP, Autoglass, Sasol and Yamaha.
When he was with CSS Jardine began a secondary career as a broadcaster, doing radio work for Independent Radio News in England, for the South African Broadcasting Corporation and for Sky TV. He also did some work for the BBC, including standing in for Murray Walker as commentator for the 1985 German Grand Prix at the Nurburgring.
In 1993, following the death of James Hunt, Jardine became the BBC pitlane reporter and, when ITV took over the Formula 1 coverage for the British market, he was hired as one of the commentary team.
Jardine remains a rally fan and competes regularly on the RAC Rally, the British round of the World Rally Championship.