Three-time Formula 1 World Champion Sir Jackie Stewart last week hosted a reunion of former grand prix mechanics and engineers to help promote the rebranding of the Grand Prix Mechanics Charitable Trust he set up in 1988.
The biennial fundraiser, held to help raise awareness of the organisation – now known as the Grand Prix Trust – that helps injured and incapacitated F1 staff, was this year held at the Oxfordshire headquarters of the Williams team, and recognised seven decades of loyal and dedicated service.
Stewart welcomed many of the veteran F1 mechanics among the 150 guests, including 90-year-old Roy Golding, who helped mastermind the late-1950s rear-engined revolution at Cooper, and many of the Tyrrell mechanics who kept the Scot’s cars in world-title-winning condition in the early-’70s. BRM’s Dick Salmon, who guided Stewart to the first of his 27 wins, at Monza for the Lincolnshire-based team in 1965, was also singled out.
‘The talent in this room in fantastic. Be proud of what you achieved for Britain, the world leader in motorsport engineering. It was all started by you.’
Seventy-five-year-old Stewart paid tribute to the trustees, whose efforts to spread the Trust’s message have helped ensure that the past 18 months have been the busiest. They included familiar racing names Martin Brundle, Patrick Head and Jo Ramirez, as well as Mark Smith, Chief Enterprise and Technology Officer of Unilever, one of the world’s biggest consumer goods companies and now a sponsor of Williams.
Impromptu interviews took place on stage and from the floor, with long-time McLaren mechanic Neil Trundle, current Red Bull team manager Jonathan Wheatley, Lotus legend Bob Dance (still working at 80) and Michael Schumacher’s former Benetton spannerman Greg Field all contributing to the reminiscing.
But it was Stewart who had the final word, directed at the sport’s unsung heroes: ‘The talent in this room in fantastic. Be proud of what you achieved for Britain, the world leader in motorsport engineering. It was all started by you.’