JULY 15, 2003
Teddy Yip, one of the more colorful Formula 1 team owners in the 1970s, has died at the age of 96. A Dutch national, born in what later became Indonesia, Yip spoke many languages including six Chinese dialects, Dutch, English, French, German, Malay and Thai.
He made a fortune trading in the Far East and began in the 1960s to support different racing drivers. He was also a force behind the establishment of the Macau Grand Prix through his Sociedade de Turismo e Diversoes de Macao, which was involved in hotels, casinos and even the hydrofoil service between Macau and Hong Kong, he was largely responsible for turning Macau into a tourist resort.
He drove racing cars himself but enjoyed more success as a benefactor and first became involved in international racing as a backer of Brian Redman in Formula 5000 racing in 1974, a relationship which led to Yip getting to know team boss Sid Taylor. There followed further involvement in America with Vern Schuppan and as a result with Dan Gurney's Eagle team. Yip supported Schuppan's drives in Formula 1 with the Ensign team in 1974 and continued to support the Australian in America. He then backed Alan Jones who won two Formula 5000 races for the team in 1976.
In 1977 he got to know Patrick Tambay and funded Patrick's half-season with the Ensign team, during which Patrick collected five points. For the 1978 season Yip commissioned Ron Tauranac to build him a Formula 1 and the result was the TR1. Eddie Cheever ran the car but failed to qualify in both Brazil and Argentina but then Keke Rosberg took over. He won the International Trophy at Silverstone but qualified for only one GP - in South Africa. The car was abandoned in the mid-season.
In 1979 Yip helped to fund Ensign but the car was not a success. The car was driven by Derek Daly, Patrick Gaillard and Marc Surer but there were no points scored. At the end of the year Teddy also funded a British F1 programme with a Wolf WR6 for David Kennedy and helped Desiree Wilson to become the first woman to win a Formula 1 race - albeit a British F1 event.
Kennedy moved to Shadow in 1980 but the team was by then on its last legs and in the mid-summer he bought the team from Don Nichols. He retained Tony Southgate as the designer and he set to work on the TY01 for 1981, while the old Shadow DN12 was reworked as the TR2 for the pre-season non-championship races.
For the 1981 season Yip hired Patrick Tambay to drive and he scored a point in the first Grand Prix that year. In the mid-season he was lured away by Ligier and Yip gave the drive Marc Surer. The same car was used again at the start of 1982 but then driver Derek Daly was hired by Williams and the TY02 was handed over to Jan Lammers, Geoff Lees and Tommy Byrne. They were not very competitive and the team scored no points.
For the 1983 season Yip decided that the best step was to merge Theodore and Ensign and used the Nigel Bennett-designed Ensign N183 design as a Theodore. The team employed Johnny Cecotto and Roberto Guerrero but for the non-championship Race of Champions at Brands Hatch one of the cars was entrusted to Brian Henton. He finished fourth although the field was weak. At Long Beach Cecotto finished sixth to score a point but as the season progressed it became more and more difficult for the cars to qualify. The team shut down at the end of the year with Mo Nunn planning to build an Indycar. In the end he went to America where he enjoyed great success as a race engineer through the 1980s and into the 1990s. After that Yip faded from the scene but retained his love of the sport throughout.
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