Profile Triple Formula One champion Jackie Stewart was destined to become involved in motor racing as he literally grew up around cars. His family owned a garage where he worked as an apprentice mechanic and his older brother Jimmy was a racing driver who had competed in the 1953 British Grand Prix. But when his brother was injured in a crash at Le Mans, Jackie’s parents discouraged him from taking up the sport and so Stewart turned to shooting, almost making it to the 1960 Olympics.
However, Stewart’s destiny could not be denied and in 1963 he impressed Ken Tyrrell during a tryout where he was faster than F1 driver Bruce McLaren. After spending a year in Formula Three he joined Graham Hill at BRM in 1965, because Tyrrell did not compete in F1 at that time. In his debut year, Stewart won his first race at Monza but his early F1 career is also remembered for a big crash at Spa in 1966. Stewart suffered no serious injury, but the accident made the Scotsman realise that safety measures at race tracks were sub-standard. Stewart started a campaign to improve safety standards and first aid facilities. His outspokenness in favour of greater driver safety made some people question his courage.
Nobody questioned Stewart’s driving skills though and when Tyrrell entered F1, Stewart joined his old team and brought them three world championships. There was not only joy though, as Stewart’s third title in 1973 was marred by the fatal crash of his teammate, friend and protégé François Cevert. Stewart retired after 99 races with 27 Grand Prix wins to his name.
In 1997, Stewart returned to F1 as a team owner. After struggling with reliability in the first two years, the team won the European Grand Prix at the Nürburgring in 1999. Stewart sold the team to Ford in 2000 and has since received knighthood.