hung on well, but could let go very sharply.
Once you’d set it up in a slide, it had a
tendency to suddenly dig in and follow the
direction of [opposite-lock] steering angle;
the one thing we perhaps lacked as a team
was suspension set-up expertise.
“I don’t think many drivers could have
driven that car to its maximum. That’s
why I hold Francois in such high regard.”
Cevert was the ideal lieutenant in 1973,
if he might allow Cevert to win, passing the
torch. Stewart, who knew better than
anyone that his teammate might not need
help in this regard, responded that this was
a lot to ask and wanted time to think…
In the Saturday morning qualifying
session, Cevert crashed to his death.
“Maybe everything seemed just too neat,”
Stewart wrote in Winning is not Enough.
A distraught Tyrrell withdrew his team
from the race and considered pulling out
of the sport entirely. Stewart was denied
any contentment, joy, relief, you name it,
from his retirement revelation. If only, he
agonized, he’d advised Francois – pushing
to the limit in fourth gear – to stay settled
over that bump at lower revs in fifth…
Tyrrell would remain in F1 until 1998,
but a light – its torch, indeed – had gone
out that Fall day at Watkins Glen in ’ 73.
Incomer Jody Scheckter, who won four of
the seven GP victories still in Tyrrell’s
locker, and clocked its last pole position,
certainly felt the chill and was not unhappy
about leaving at the end of 1976.
The Tyrrell “oak” remained a much-
cherished symbol. But although its
admirable qualities enabled it to at least
survive, it lacked the reedy flexibility to
thrive in the Ecclestone era of F1.
“Tyrrell 003 fitted me
like a favorite suit. I knew
exactly what it was going to
do, all of the time”
scoring six second places while Stewart
notched five wins and a third world title.
“Rather than fretting about this being
the last time I’d race at wherever, I was able
to extract the maximum satisfaction from
each performance,” says Stewart. “I learned
more in that last year than I had in any of
my other F1 seasons.” So, too, had Cevert.
Stewart’s masterclass deserved a neat
finish: Watkins Glen was meant to be his
100th and last GP start. Tyrrell asked him
(ABOVE) Jackie Stewart (Tyrrell 006) heads to victory
in the 1973 Dutch Grand Prix, a race marred by the
death of Roger Williamson. It was Stewart’s penultimate
career win and the penultimate (of six) 1-2 with Francois
Cevert. (BELOW) New team leader Jody Scheckter won
two GPs with the Tyrrell 007 in 1974. But in hindsight,
it was the start of a long, slow decline for the team.