Tyrrell Racing Organisation

After serving with Royal Air Force during World War II, Ken Tyrrell went into the timber business. It was a good move and Tyrrell quickly made a fortune. Eventually he decided to have some fun and bought himself a 500cc Formula 3 car and began racing. He was a front-runner in F3 throughout the 1950s and in 1958, in addition to racing himself, he ran a Formula 2 Cooper for Henry Taylor in the colors of Nixon's Garage.In 1960 the Tyrrell Racing Organisation was established to run the factory Coopers in Formula Junior. The team was expanded the following year to run Mini Coopers in touring car races.At the start of 1964 Tyrrell was looking for a driver for the new Formula 3 and chanced upon the pairing of Jackie Stewart and Warwick Banks. The combination was a great success. Stewart won the British Championship and was signed to race for BRM in Formula 1 in 1965.Tyrrell kept up his links with Stewart, running him and Jacky Ickx in Formula 2 for Cooper. And after John Cooper was seriously injured in a road accident , Tyrrell took over the running of the Cooper Formula 1 team. In F2 he switched to Matra chassis and it was with the French company that he entered F1 in 1968 as Equipe Matra International. The team had the new Cosworth DFV engine in the back of a Matra chassis - and Jackie Stewart was the driver. The result was three victories and an expansion as the team ran a second car for rising star Johnny Servoz-Gavin.The technical package remained unchanged in 1969 but Servoz-Gavin was replaced by Jean-Pierre Beltoise. Stewart won the World Championship. Success convinced Matra that it should not continue in 1970 and so Tyrrell looked around for a new chassis supplier. He ordered March chassis but secretly began to build his own Tyrrell 001 chassis. This was not ready until August 1970 and did not race until the Canadian GP in September but Stewart gave it pole position on its debut and led until the car suffered a stub axle failure.For the 1971 season the car was developed into the Tyrrell 003 and Stewart continued the 1970 partnership with another French rising star Francois Cevert. The 003 won its first race in Spain and the Scotsman went on to five further victories to win his second World Championship. Cevert added another victory and Tyrrell took its first Constructors' title. Things were more difficult in 1972 with Lotus a much stronger rival and despite four wins, Stewart finished runner-up to Emerson Fittipaldi. In 1973, however, Stewart won another five victories to win his third title, although Lotus won the Constructors' title after Stewart decided not to race in the United States Grand Prix at Watkins Glen, following the death in practice of Cevert.With Stewart deciding to retire, Tyrrell had to find two new drivers for 1974 and chose rising stars Jody Scheckter and Patrick Depailler. There were occasional successes - notably in 1976 when the team produced the famous Tyrrell six-wheeler - but then Scheckter moved to Ferrari in 1977. His place was taken for a year by Ronnie Peterson but he moved to Lotus after just a season and Tyrrell took another young Frenchman - Elf protege Didier Pironi.By the end of 1978, however, there was increasing pressure on Elf - Tyrrell's major sponsor for most of the decade - to support the Renault Sport and Ligier teams. Backing was found from Candy and Pironi was joined by Jean-Pierre Jarier. At the end of that season Pironi went to Ligier and for 1980 Tyrrell hired the Irish driver Derek Daly. It was the start of a policy of hiring young (cheap) drivers in the hope that their success would attract sponsorship. The danger - as was seen in 1980 - was that young drivers tend to have more accidents. That year the team also ran Mike Thackwell - the 19-year-old New Zealander becoming in Canada the youngest man ever to start a Grand Prix.In 1981 money was very short but a deal with Imola Ceramica enabled the team to sign up Michele Alboreto as team mate to Eddie Cheever. Alboreto stayed in 1982 when the team slipped once more, having to resort to sponsorship from Swedish pay-driver Slim Borgudd.The team was fortunate to find Benetton sponsorship in 1983 - when Alboreto was joined by Danny Sullivan but Tyrrell failed to hold on to the backing in 1984 when the team took a big risk on youngsters Martin Brundle and Stefan Bellof. When Brundle was injured that year Stefan Johansson and Thackwell stood in for him and the following year - after Bellof was killed in a sportscar accident - the team tried out Ivan Capelli and Philippe Streiff.By 1985 it was very clear that if the team was to survive Tyrrell needed a turbocharged engine and was going to have to pay for one. A deal was struck with Renault Sport. More competitive engines meant that there was a better chance of big sponsorship and for three years the team enjoyed the backing of Data General and Courtaulds. The team continued to use young drivers, notably Jonathan Palmer, Streiff and Julian Bailey, but in 1988 was fortunate to pick up Michele Alboreto when a planned deal with Williams fell through. At the same time Tyrrell picked up Ferrari engineers Harvey Postlethwaite and Jean-Claude Migeot after one of the many palace coups at Maranello.The Tyrrell 018 was a good car and in the 1989 midseason Tyrrell was offered money by Camel and decided to do the deal, driving Marlboro man Alboreto out of the team. Tyrrell picked up Jean Alesi as a replacement and found that it had stumbled on another star. A deal to run Satoru Nakajima was agreed and Postlethwaite and Migeot produced the stunning 019 chassis with its revolutionary raised nose. Alesi set the F1 world talking when he diced with Senna in Phoenix.Although Alesi was soon on his way to Ferrari, Tyrrell looked set for a revival when in 1991 it did a deal with Honda to use old V10 engines and McLaren agreed to raise money for Tyrrell. Nakajima was retained and rising star Stefano Modena was signed. Sponsorship was found from Braun but, despite some good showings, the year was a disappointment. McLaren ended the relationship and the team struggled again. Strong links with Japan developed in the mid-1990s with Yamaha engines and backing from Japan Tobacco for Ukyo Katayama but the team failed to take advantage of its opportunities once again. A major sponsorship deal with Nokia ended after a year and although Postlethwaite (who had gone to Ferrari) was lured back with an offer of equity in the team, the operation never had the money to do the job properly. In the last few years it became increasingly Harvey's team in spirit if not in shares.At the end of 1997 the Tyrrell Family admitted defeat. There was no-one willing or capable of running the team. The family took a $30m check from British American Racing and handed over the operation to BAR management. It was a disaster. Soon Tyrrell engineers were disappearing off to join the new Honda Racing Developments team and at the end of the year Tyrrell closed its doors. A small number of staff moved to the new BAR headquarters in Brackley.