A sex ban and Martin Brundle’s bed time – respected F1 journalist Roger Benoit spilled the beans on various “quirks” at the Tyrrell team.
Having raced in Formula 2, Ken Tyrrell decided that he was not cut out for top-level motorsport and switched his focus to team management, thus creating Tyrrell Racing which competed in Formula 1 from 1968-1998, winning three Drivers’ Championships and a Constructors’ Championship in that time.
Sir Jackie Stewart delivered the three Drivers’ crowns with his 1969, 1971 and 1973 triumphs.
Tyrrell pre-race sex ban and ‘other quirks’ revealed
And in an interview for Blick, F1 journalist Roger Benoit lifted the lid on some of the odd rules that Stewart and other drivers had to adhere to as a Tyrrell driver.
It was actually Stewart who told Benoit that Tyrrell drivers were banned from having sex the night before a race.
“Sir Jackie Stewart once told me that,” Benoit replied when asked about the validity of that story.
“The drivers were not allowed to make love the night before the GP. But Tyrrell also had other quirks.”
The “other quirks” simply could not be left as a cliff-hanger, Benoit indeed pressed to reveal some more of those odd rulings that Ken Tyrrell had.
Among them it seems was a strict bed time, Benoit telling the story of how Brundle, who raced for the team from 1984-86, was at 10pm sharp ordered to go to bed when he was at a dinner with Benoit in attendance.
A further ruling, as Benoit pointed out, would spell bad news for Sauber driver Valtteri Bottas who likes to rock the mullet and moustache these days.
“If a driver came to the track unshaven or wearing shorts, he would send him back to the hotel,” said Benoit as he delved deeper into these “other quirks” for drivers racing for Ken Tyrrell. “Under Tyrrell, Valtteri Bottas would have been sent back a few times.
“I once sat at the dinner table in Anderstorp with Martin Brundle, who drove for Tyrrell at the start of his career. At 10pm sharp, Tyrrell came over to us and told Brundle he had to go to bed.”
Just to add a further layer to the character that was Ken Tyrrell, Benoit also told the story of when Tyrrell threw legendary F1 designer Colin Chapman into a swimming pool at the Argentinian Grand Prix, taking advantage of ex-F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone’s $100-offer if he did so.
“Ecclestone once offered him 100 dollars at the Argentinian GP if he would throw Colin Chapman, the monsieur among the team bosses, and his clothes into the swimming pool,” Benoit recalled. “Of course, Tyrrell did it.”
The 1998 Japanese Grand Prix proved to be Tyrrell’s final F1 entry, the team purchased by British American Racing. Ken Tyrrell sadly passed away in 2001 at the age of 77.