Drivers becoming Constructors: Jackie Stewart

  • 01 June 2024
  • 2 min read
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Drivers becoming Constructors: Jackie Stewart image

Photo credit: Formula 1, Wheelsage

Jackie Stewart always prominently showcased his Scottish identity and strong personality, both as a driver and constructor. He retired as a driver in 1973 due to the deaths of too many friends in the sport after winning three World Championships and fighting for Formula 1 safety. In the role as a constructor he combined his vision for designing race cars with a special focus on safety, helping bring Formula 1 to its much safer current state.

Drivers becoming Constructors: Jackie Stewart -1 Jackie Stewart became a three-time Formula 1 World Champion in 1969 with Matra and with Tyrrell in 1971, shown in the photo, and 1973.

His decision to become a constructor in 1996, was driven by the experience of his son Paul, who had successfully built cars in lower formulas. The esteemed champion felt it was time to return to the top tier of racing, proudly displaying Scottish symbols on his cars. Stewart often wore and still wears at 85 years old, the kilt to express his Scottish pride.

Drivers becoming Constructors: Jackie Stewart - 2 Stewart Grand Prix debuted in the 1997 season, immediately showing competitiveness by securing a second place in Monaco under rain.

The headquarters of Stewart Grand Prix, better known as HSBC Stewart due to sponsorship, was established in Milton Keynes, now famous as the home of Red Bull Racing. This is no coincidence: Stewart built his first car with technical support from Ford in 1996, featuring lead driver Rubens Barrichello and designed by chassis genius John Barnard. The car was good but fragile.

Even with the new Ford Cosworth engine in 1997, despite podium finishes and a victory at the European Grand Prix, fragility remained a weakness. Stewart wanted to be World Champion again and decided to leave, handing the team over to Ford, which turned it into Jaguar Formula 1. With little progress, Ford sold the team to Red Bull Racing in 2004. Evidently, the idea that being based in Milton Keynes brought bad luck was incorrect.

Drivers becoming Constructors: Jackie Stewart - 3 Stewart Grand Prix's only win came at the 1998 European GP at Nürburgring with Johnny Herbert. The team would later become Jaguar F1 and then Red Bull Racing.