Sad to hear of the death last week of Derek Gardner at 79, the engineer who designed the Tyrrell-Fords which carried Jackie Stewart to his second and third world championship crowns in 1971 and ‘73.
His passing also served as a reminder of just how the F1 business has changed out of all recognition over the past 40 years; Gardner knocked up the first prototype Tyrrell chassis in the garage alongside his home in Warwick to where Stewart came in secret for a fitting one evening after he had been testing a Matra F2 car at Goodwood.
Derek's daughter was a huge fan of JYS but even she, so the story goes, was unaware that the great man had been under her family's roof! I joined Motoring News in the summer of 1970 at precisely the time that finishing touches were being put to Tyrrell 001 at the team's timber yard base in rural Surrey.
Ken, who had been forced to use the hopeless March 701 chassis to start the year, was by now huffing and puffing as he tried to prevent his secret from becoming public, but only Eoin Young in Autocar and Eric Dymock in The Guardian came close to getting their speculation bang on target. Eventually, the wraps came off the new car at a press conference at Ford's glitzy showrooms in Regent Street and we all gasped for breath.
The Tyrrell-Ford duly flew into 1971, after initial unreliability problems were conquered, and Derek Gardner's reputation was made. He was a quiet, quirky and rather reticent man, but deserves to be remembered with respect.
At the end of the day not many people design cars that carry world champions to glory. Twice.