The Birth Of The Elf Tyrrell Team

During the 1969 season when it was obvious that Jackie Stewart going to win the Championship with the Ford-Cosworth powered Matra MS80, the officials of the Matra company told Ken Tyrrell that if he want to use the Matra chassis for 1970 and beyond, he also had to use Matra engines.

The Birth Of The Elf Team Tyrrell

But Ken Tyrrell and Jackie Stewart knew that this wouldn’t work to good results, so they decided to ask the new March company for a chassis for the 1970 season.


While the 1970 season were running the shortcomings of the March became more and more obvious, so Ken Tyrrell employed Derek Gardner and authorized him to develop the first own car of the Tyrrrell Racing Organization. The project, codenamed “SP” which meant “Special Project” cost Tyrrell over £22,000 of his own money. The named 001 prototype race car made it’s debut at a non-championship race at Oulten Park in August 1970.

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At that race, Stewart qualified fifth, but elected to start at the back of the grid to reduce the risk of accident. Stewart set the fastest lap, while climbing up to a seventh place finish in the first heat. A cracked piston caused a DNS for the second heat, but the potential of 001 was obvious.

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Starting with the Italian Grand Prix in 1970 Tyrrell entered Stewart at each race twice, one entry with the 001 and with the March, as the rules did not allow for an entry to be switched between different manufacturers. But at Monza the 001 suffered with a series of minor failures, so Jackie Stewart raced the March to a second place, his first championship points for the last five races.


At the Canadian Grand Prix Stewart was able to set a last-minute pole position with 001. At the start Stewart took off like being shot out of a cannon, and after 10 laps had a 12 second lead on second qualifier Jacky Ickx. His lead extended close to 20 seconds before lap 33, when Stewart crawled into the pits with a broken front stub axle, while Ickx went on to victory.

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It was at this point that several members of the team were sent back to England, to begin construction on an updated chassis called 002 for Francois Cevert and 003 for Jackie Stewart for the 1971 Formula One championship races. Those two chassis were the backbone for winning both, the constructers world title and for Stewart the second championship. The Elf Team Tyrrell was winning 7 races of the only 11 races , which were held during the season. The Team was set perfectly with Ken Tyrrell as the principle, Jackie Stewart as the experienced team leader and the young and very fast driving Francois Cevert, an upcoming World Champion. Cevert took his only career win at the American Grand Prix at Watkins Glen in 1971. Sadly his life ended only two years later by fatal accident at the same place in 1973.

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The typology of the Tyrrell Formula One cars is different to most other racing teams. The cars were consecutively numbered after being built. 002 and 003 are the same type of car. The 002 was derived from the 001, the main difference was a longer chassis, Francois Cevert was a bit taller than Jackie Stewart and needed to have a more comfortable position in the cockpit. Cevert drove the 002 chassis for two season, 1971 completely and the most of the races of 1972 season until the new shorter 005 / 006 were established at Canadian GP in 1972.


The Tyrrell Racing Organization, officially called Elf Team Tyrrell, was the perfect example of what Enzo Ferrari a bit disparagingly called „garagisti“, but the small team was very successful in the early 1970’s and set new standards in building Grand Prix cars and leading a racing team. The combination of a very experienced driver as a mentor for a young talented guy was quite unique. This era was the most successful time of the Tyrrell team, they never again reached that level of performance, but they were able to show from time to time that they knew much about successful racing.

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The most popular race car of the Tyrrell Team is of course the remarkable Project 34, the six wheels Formula One car of the 1976 and 1977, but this is another story. Find out more about our photographer Ralph Lueker.

Tyrrell 001 / 002 / 003: TECHNICAL SPECIFICATION

MODEL 001 / 002 / 003
TYPE Formula One
DESIGNER Derek Gardner
ENGINE Ford Cosworth DFV – V8 90˚, mid-mounted
BORE AND STROKE 85,67 mm x 64,9 mm
HORSEPOWER 408 bhp at 9000 rpm
TORQUE 370 NM at 7000 rpm
VALVE TRAIN 32-valve DOHC, 4 valves per cylinder
FUEL SYSTEM Direct fuel injection TRANSMISSION Hewland FG 400, 5-speed racing gearbox
BODY STYLE aluminium monocoque
SUSPENSION FRONT double wishbones, coil springs
SUSPENSION REAR double wishbones, coil springs
BRAKES Discs all around
TYRES Goodyear

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