Fringe Box



Dragon Book Review: Tyrrell – The Story of the Tyrrell Racing Organisation

Published on: 4 Sep, 2023
Updated on: 4 Sep, 2023

By Paul Robinson

Down Long Reach Road, Ockham, long before McLaren F1 came to Woking, in an old timber yard was the headquarters of another World Championship-winning F1 team – Tyrrell.

A new book by Richard Jenkins entitled ‘Tyrrell – The Story Of The Tyrrell Racing Organisation’ gives the history of the team from its humble beginnings after the war when a demobbed Ken Tyrrell, a West Horsley boy, caught the motor racing bug after an Ockham Football Team trip to Silverstone for the 1951 British Grand Prix.

Initially, he was a racer himself until he realised in 1958 there were others, such as a young Bruce McLaren, who were better. At that point, he formed and managed his own team as well as running Tyrrell Brothers, Timber Merchants.

In 1964 he recruited a young Scots driver called Jackie Stewart and the rest, as they say, is history.

Ken Tyrrell took Sir Jackie to three F1 World Drivers Championships in 1969, 1971 and 1973. This period was the team’s high point in its history.

Early in 1973 Sir Jackie had told Ken that he would be retiring at the end of the year. This shouldn’t have been a problem as Jackie’s worthy replacement was already Tyrrell’s No.2 driver, Francois Cevert. Regrettably during practice for the last grand prix of the year, at Watkins Glen in the USA, Francois was killed in a gruesome accident.

From then until 1998 the team entered into a slow decline with occasional high spots. This period included a time when the F1 establishment engineered a situation to exclude the Tyrrell team from their ranks to enable a rule change to take place that Ken was resisting.

The book isn’t a series of race reports but a warts and all history. The author recognises there were many people who were crucial to the story and he enlists the help of drivers, such as Stewart and Brundle, to name but two, as well as designers, mechanics and others to tell the Tyrrell story, and they all have their own anecdotes to tell.

The book includes snapshot histories of some whom the author describes as “Tyrrell Heroes” such as Derek Gardner, the team’s first designer and Roger Hill, the team’s chief mechanic.

The 480-page book measures 11 1/4 inches x 9 1/2 inches and is priced at around £65.00. It is lavishly illustrated with colour and black & pictures in its 23 chapters.

Towards the back of the book, there are photos of every Tyrrell car – several to a page, race results from 1961 to Tyrrell’s final year in 1998, a bibliography and an index. This book is a must-have if you have an interest in F1 before it became a big corporate business.


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