TYRRELL FORD 001

The construction of the Tyrrell Ford 001 was a pure adventure created by the circumstances of international politics on the sector of automotive industry. The Matra International team under the ownership of Ken Tyrrell had won both the drivers`and the constructors`worldchampionship in 1969 with Jackie Stewart (partnered by Jean Pierre Beltoise and partly by Johnny Servoz-Gavin) in a very impressing way as the only private entrant in history doing so. The MS10 chassis of French armaments, space and electronics company Matra had been the best technology of it`s field at that time. The US-American Ford DFV V8 engine produced by British engine company Cosworth used by the Tyrrell team had been more powerful and reliable than Matra`s own V12, that still had been in a phase of development. The car branch of Matra only had made five per cent of the group`s turnover. The company had earned the most of their money by orders of the French government on the sector of defence technology. Having left the structures of military integration of NATO in the middle of the sixties, the Grande Nation had built up their own independent nuclear force (Force de Frappe) in the Cold War with the help of Matra. The only car they had on the market was the 530, a individualistic small sportscar. So they had got no real net of dealers available and for this reason Jean Luc Lagardere, Matra`s dynamic CEO, had decided to join that one of French fellow company Simca for 1970, in the sixties and seventies selling a lot small and middle class cars all over Europe. But Simca was owned by Chrysler in those days, the number three of America`s big carmakers behind General Motors and Ford.

For this reason it had been no wonder, that the new partnership of Simca, Chrysler and Matra had not been able to allow Tyrrell to use the engine of rival company Ford in their chassis. After testing the Matra V12 engine in French Albi with Jackie Stewart driving, Ken Tyrrell decided to stay with Ford and Cosworth. But this decision also had meant, that the team had had to look for a new chassis. During the winter of 1969 & 1970 Ken Tyrrell negotiated with Brabham, McLaren, B.R.M. and Lola for the delivery of chassis for 1970, but with no result. The Lumberjack`s team from East Horsley in Surrey in the South of the United Kingdom was financed by French oil group elf, the Ford Motor Company and tyre maker Dunlop, but the British rubber company was on the move to retire from Grand Prix Racing after winning the title in 1969 for cutting costs. The had been able to be persuaded to stay in the business for 1970, but then they disappeared definitely from the Grand Prix scene.

With the 1970 season coming nearer and nearer Ken Tyrrell had no other choice to buy two chassis from newly founded racing car manufacturer MARCH Engineering at Bicester near Oxford. This company originally had been initiated by Jackie Stewart`s best friend Jochen Rindt, Robin Herd and Alan Rees to establish the charismatic Austrian as a constructor in his own rights after a troubled year of 1969 with Team Lotus. But then Herd and Rees changed the sides to that one of the other men involved, Max Mosley and Graham Coaker, to found a commercial racing car company. With the backing of STP Oil Treatment of Italo-American Andy Granatelli March had signed up with Chris Amon and Jo Siffert for their works team, a special STP car had been driven by Mario Andretti, Colin Crabbe of Antique Automobiles had entered the yellow car of promising Swedish novice Ronnie Peterson and at the mid-season of 1970 German BMW works driver Hubert Hahne bought another car in silver livery for himself sponsored by media group Axel Springer. Ken Tyrrell`s French blue March Ford 701s were driven by 1969 world champion Jackie Stewart from Scotland and Johnny Servoz-Gavin, but the Frenchman, handicapped by an eye problem, had written a letter to Ken Tyrrell to declare his surprising retirement from active competition shortly after the Grand Prix of Monaco. France`s new star, Francois Cevert took over the cockpit for the pleasure of Tyrrell sponsor elf. Actually Jackie Stewart scored March`s first Grand Prix win in Spanish Jarama driving Tyrrell`s 701, but very early in 1970 it had become clear, that Robin Herd´s design was overweight and also struggling with massive handling problems.

Even before the 1970 season started in South African Kyalami, Ken Tyrrell had made a pretty lonely decision to construct a car of his own. He checked up his finances before meeting technician Derek Gardner at a pub at Henley, half the way between the Tyrrell headquarter in the forests of Ripley, Surrey, and Gardner`s residence of Leamington Spa. The engineer Gardner was transmission specialist, he had worked at Ferguson before and at a four wheel drive Lotus Indy Car as well as at the 4WD Matra Ford MS84 having competed in four 1969 Grand Prix with Beltoise and Servoz-Gavin in the cockpit. In contrast to Brabham`s Ron Tauranac or Mauro Forghieri of Ferrari gardner never had designed a complete Grand Prix car of his own. He also was not well-known both in motor racing scene and by the public, but he had got close contacts to a lot of important companies in the automotive and the space industry. After leaving Ferguson Derek Gardner established himself as a private engineering consultant on a freelance base using a corresponding letterhead. The bedroom of his Leamington Spa home was transferred into a design office by him, a perfect disguise, and began to study the concepts of the current Grand Prix car generation. First he had thought, four wheel drive, still allowed in Formula One at that time, had been superior to normal back wheel drive, but, because the new Tyrrell Grand Prix car should have been ready to race until August 1970, he did not realize that idea. Originally Derek Gardner and Ken Tyrrell had wanted to follow the aerodynamic concept of the wedge-shaped Lotus Ford 72, but with no experience in chassis design Gardner had not known how to put the fuel capacity needed into a wedge (This first concept later had been realized for the Tyrrell Ford 005 & 006 for 1972). With the time being pretty short, Gardner decided to make no experiments and consequently followed the lines of the successful Matra Ford MS80. When discussing their new car even in a private conversation, Ken Tyrrell and Derek Gardner were talking about SP for Secret Project.

Team Tyrrell had not been delivered with complete cars by Matra in 1968 and 1969. The contrast had been the case in normality, so the Tyrrell mechanics had to go over the Channel to support the Matra technicians at their domestic facilities in France. Being confronted with Matra`s modern monocoque technology already during Tyrrell`s Formula 2 days in the middle of the sixties, the crew had got an enormous experience in chassis construction, so the Matra Fords had been completely built in the Tyrrell workshop of East Horsley near Ripley in the dense forest of Surrey, where the Royal Air Force flight engineer Robert Kenneth Tyrrell once had started his first civilian business as a timber merchant together with his brother after the end of World war II. In 1970 Team Tyrrell had consisted of only 12 persons, later the number of team members increased up to 19. In the old days the mechanics working at the tracks also had to construct and to maintain the racing cars at the facilities at home.

On the 21st February 1970, when Gardner already had begun working, Ken Tyrrell had asked Jackie Stewart on his opinion on the construction of a Grand Prix car of their own. On the 6th March, one day before the South African Grand Prix, Tyrrell informed Stewart about the final decision. On 23rd March Jackie Stewart, officially coming from a tyre testing session, entered the cockpit of a model made of wood of the Secret Project`s monocoque, supplied with a Ford Cosworth engine and a Hewland gearbox, in the garage of Derek Gardber`s private house at Leamington Spa. That session had become necessary to form the cockpit completely around the measures of the only 159 centimetres high Scottish world champion. At that period except Tyrrell, Gardner and Stewart, only Ken Tyrrell´s wife Norah and his most faithful employeè Neil Davis were informed of the new British Grand Prix car being absolutely secretly under construction.

Officially being a freelance engineering consultant, Derek Gardner had got no real problems to give orders to the supply industry without the Secret Project being detected neither by the press nor by the rivals. He also had been able to order parts needed for the new car from space companies instead from firms of the automotive sector and so the Tyrrell Ford 001 became the first ever racing car in history to use parts made out of carbon fibre. In detail a plenty of other innovations at the car were taken from space travel. The aluminum sheets for constructing the monocoque chassis were cut at Maurice Gomm Metal Development at Old Woking, pretty near to Ripley. They were supported by another small and specialized company from the region. These firms were the gap giving Eric Dymock, co-author of Jackie Stewart`s 1969 autobiography and motor racing correspondent of the Guardian, the possibility to expose the so well-kept secret, but only a few days before the official presentation of the Tyrrell Ford 001 and by a story awaking more public doubts than belief in. There had been often public speculations about the fact, that Team Tyrrell had brought back their mechanics from the European Grand Prix circuits by plane, a thing, that had not been usual for cost reasons in the old days. But they had had to save time to assemble the new car, that had been completely done in the workshop at East Horsley difficult to be found both by journalists and race fans.

For the bodywork and aerodynamics of the Tyrrell Ford 001 Derek Gardner had spent some time in the wind tunnel of the University of Surrey at Guildford to create the typical cockpit cover and the original shark nose of the car. First most parts of the bodywork had been also made out of aluminum to be replaced by glass fibre the following winter. In spite that the Tyrrell Ford 001 was 45 kilograms lighter than the March Ford 701 when presented to the press at the Ford exhibition room of Dagenham Motors at London`s Regent Street on the 17th August 1970, one day after the Grand Prix of Austria. But the costs of the pure chassis were more than twice as high as that ones of the March 701: £ 22 500 for the Tyrrell in contrast to £ 9000 of the Bicester made product. And it was Ken Tyrrell´s own money, not a sum taken from the sponsors`budgets and for this reason meaning an enormous risk not only for the reputation of a world champion team. But it took exactly one year, when the Tyrrell Ford 001 proved to be Ken Tyrrell`s best investment ever made, when Jackie Stewart secured Team Tyrrell`s first worldchampionship title as constructors in their own rights at the lovely Oesterreichring in the green hills of Austria`s federal state of Steiermark in August 1971.

Of course, no racing car can be introduced without difficulties in the beginning, but it must be quick from the first lap on. Otherwise it is a case for the immidiate use in a museum. It is simpler to make a quick car reliable than doing the opposite thing. The new Tyrrell Ford 001 had suffered under problems with fuel pressure and oil leaks, with defect hubs and "has lost several wheels," as Ferrari`s chief designer for many, many years, Mauro Forghieri, remembers. The Tyrrell Ford 001 gave it`s debut at the Gold Cup at Oulton Park on 22nd August with a record lap, but Jackie Stewart retired by a defect engine. John Surtees, who also had established himself as a constructor in 1970, won in Cheshire. Tyrrell brought the 001 to the practice of Monza, when Jochen Rindt died. Before that, Jackie Stewart, permanently suffering under fuel supplying problems, had sustained a broken front stub axle at the 001 in front of Rindt´s fatal curve of Parabolica. Stewart, shocked and frustrated over the death of his best friend, entered the cockpit of the March Ford 701 definitely for the last Grand Prix. The Scot put the Tyrrell Ford 001 onto pole position for the 1970 Canadian Grand Prix held at Mont Tremblant. Stewart was leading the race for 31 laps before being stopped by a collapsed front hub. The United States Grand Prix of Watkins Glen brought grid position two and another impressing lead for Jackie Stewart in the Tyrrell Ford 001 before being forced to retire caused by an oil leak. Also starting from second place in the final round of the worldchampionship in Mexico City Stewart was lying third position behind the Ferraris of Ickx and Regazzoni, when he collided with a big dog making the monocoque getting damaged. For 1971 elf Team Tyrrell had switched to Goodyear tyres forced by the retirement of Dunlop. Two further cars, the 002 and 003 very similar to the 001, had been built for that season. They had got longer monocoques for making Francois Cevert sitting comfortable in the cockpit. At the opening round of the worldchampionship at Kyalami Stewart scored another pole position with 001 to come home second behind winner Mario Andretti in a Ferrari. Three non-championship races before the start of the European season brought further good results for Stewart in the 001 before it becoming the spare car of the team. There was no regret at the Scot for not having switched to Ferrari for 1971 after Maranello being so strong at the end of the 1970 season. Modified with airbox and sportscar-like nose meanwhile characteristic for the 002 and 003 models of the team, the Tyrrell Ford 001 appeared for it´s last historic task at the United States Grand Prix at Watkins Glen at the end of the 1971 season: The American Lord Peter Revson returned to Grand Prix Racing after several years of absence.

In 1971 elf Team Tyrrell became the only entrant in history winning the worldchampionship in their first complete season with the exception of Mercedes-Benz back in 1955. But the Stuttgart carmaker had got the unpayable experience of their successful pre-war epoque and the infrastructure of a worldwide automobile group. Tyrrell had got a bedroom in Leamington Spa and a workshop lying in the deep forests of Surrey.

Klaus Ewald

 




 

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Model Designation: Tyrrell Ford 001 Year: 1970 Chassis: Tyrrell aluminum monocoque Engine: Ford Cosworth 3.0 litre DFV V8 Gearbox: Hewland FG400 five speed manual Tyres: Dunlop, Goodyear Brakes: Girling Fuels and Oils: elf Sponsor: elf Designer: Derek Gardner Team Principal: Ken Tyrrell Drivers: Jackie Stewart, (Peter Revson) Grand Prix competed in: 5 First Grand Prix: Canada 1970 (Mont Tremblant), Stewart retired: front hub Last Grand Prix: USA 1971(Watkins Glen), Revson retired: clutch Front Rows: 4 Pole Positions: 2 Best Result: 2nd (Stewart in Kyalami/ZA 1971) Four non-championship races in 1970 & 1971: Gold Cup, Oulton Park 1970, Stewart retired: engine / Race of Champions, Brands Hatch 1971, Stewart 2nd / Questor Grand Prix, Ontario, California 1971, Stewart 2nd / Rothman`s International, Oulton Park 1971, Stewart 3rd

 

Technical exclusive images taken at the 2005 Jim Clark Revival at Hockenheim

 

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