Tony Vandervell is a visionary in the world of Formula One

Tony Vandervell is a visionary in the world of Formula One

GAV got his gearbox and had Wootton dump the oily, freshly removed-from-a-Maser item on the carpet of his opulent hotel room. “One of his ‘engineering studies,’ he examined it. But I don’t believe he plagiarized anything! ” Racing had become an obsession; GAV would frequently call key team members late at night and interrogate them on a matter that could not wait. But they let it slide because he was working just as hard, if not harder, than they were.

Tony Vandervell is a visionary in the world of Formula One

Brooks describes him as an autocrat akin to Enzo Ferrari. “However, in his demeanor, he was nothing like him. What he said didn’t stick — which was a good thing because BRM had demonstrated that you can’t build a successful team by committee. If we, or he, made a mistake, he made certain that every effort was made to correct it. We had a clear strategy and everyone knew where they stood; everyone knew what their role was and how the team was structured. “GAV could be a little intrusive at times, but he was a fantastic motivator. He was an excellent driver because he believed in you and looked after you. That’s why Stuart Lewis-Evans’ death [in the 1958 Moroccan GP] had such an impact on him. After that, he returned to racing, but I don’t believe he ever fully recovered.

Despite the fact that he retained me in 1960, he continued to introduce me to a Harley Street dentist friend of his [Brooks had studied dentistry], and I believe this was his way of persuading me to stop racing.” After 1958, Vandervell was told by his doctor that he needed to slow down. He remained a skeleton presence on the scene for the next three years, with his cars competing in only four races during that time. Finally, the doors were closed for good. GAV died six years later, at the age of 68. Winston Churchill was no longer associated with British motorsport. But, more than 30 years later, the British grand prix’many’ still owe GAV’s ‘few’ a debt of gratitude. His Vanwalls were, in fact, the beginning of the end.

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