How becoming an F1 manufacturer elevated Tyrrell to new heights
Becoming a constructor in his own right would enable Ken Tyrrell to keep Jackie Stewart and Ford together, and claim two more world titles. But, as MAURICE HAMILTON explains, it had to be done in secret…
The Tyrrell Racing Organisation had a new and impressive transporter. The only problem was, it had nothing to put in it. Incredible as it may seem, the reigning world champion’s team found itself going into 1970 without a car to defend the Formula 1 title. Simply put, the obduracy of international automotive politics was allowing no sympathy for a man and his small racing team operating out of a woodyard in Surrey.
Ken Tyrrell’s association with Matra and Ford had ticked every box on the competition blueprint thanks to Jackie Stewart winning six of the 11 grands prix in 1969. But success was to come at a price. In a typically convoluted series of buyouts, Matra had been taken over by Simca and the French manufacturer’s parent company, Chrysler, was more interested in global image than the ingredients necessary to remain a consistent grand prix winner. It clearly did not suit the Chrysler Corporation in Detroit to continue having a car powered by an engine carrying the name of Ford, another of the so-called ‘Big Three’ automobile manufacturers in the United States. If Tyrrell wished to continue using the sure-footed Matra chassis – which Ken assuredly did – it would have to carry a Matra engine in the back.
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