PEOPLE: DON NICHOLS
Name: Don Nichols
Nationality: United States of America
The boss of the Shadow Formula 1 team was a shadowy character. Although much of the information is still classified by the United States government there is little doubt that Nichols was involved in special operations work in the Far East in the 1950s and 1960s. There was a Major Don Nichols who ran an organisation called the 6004th Air Intelligence Service Squadron during the Korean War and which was reputed to have been sending agents into North Korea and similar organisations existed in the 1960s for the Vietnam War. Whatever the details Nichols lived and worked in Japan in the early 1960s, selling Goodyear and Firestone tyres and helping the development of the small motor racing community in Japan, including playing a part in the establishment of the Mount Fuji racing circuit.
In 1968 he returned to the United States and established a company called Advanced Vehicle Systems and a built an exotic CanAm car for the 1970 season. This was called a Shadow and the team's logo featured a cloaked spy. It was raced by George Follmer and Vic Elford and was quick but not very reliable. Follmer won the CanAm title for Shadow in 1972 and Nichols landed a major sponsorship from Universal Oil Products and set up a British operation to build Formula 1 cars. The company entered F1 at the start of 1973 with Follmer and Jackie Oliver driving. The cars were often quick but results were few and far between and at the end of 1975 UOP withdrew for F1. Oliver became the team's sponsor hunter insted and found money from Tabatip but the team struggled in 1977, despite a win in Austria for Alan Jones. At the end of that year most of the team management walked out to establish the Arrows team. Nichols sued and won, claiming copyright infringement but Shadow went into decline and in 1981 Nichols sold the team to Chinese businessman Teddy Yip.