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Early Life and Entry into Racing

A Humble Beginning in Dunbartonshire

Jackie Stewart was born on June 11, 1939 in the small town of Milton in Dunbartonshire, Scotland. From a young age, he faced difficulties in school due to undiagnosed dyslexia, which led to struggles with reading and feelings of inferiority.

Stewart found solace in working with his hands, spending time in his father’s garage and developing excellent mechanical skills from a young age. He also discovered skeet shooting, which helped build his confidence as he became one of the top marksmen in Britain.

The move to Formula 1

Stewart’s racing career began rather innocuously when he started competing in local saloon car events in the early 1960s. His raw talent was quickly noticed by racing driver Sir John Whitmore, who invited Stewart to test his Jaguar E-Type at Oulton Park.

Within a year, Jackie Stewart was racing Formula Three cars and winning regularly. In 1965 at age 25, he made his Formula 1 debut with the BRM Formula 1 team. Though he won the Italian Grand Prix that rookie year, his first years in F1 were very difficult.

Triumphs on the Track

Dominating the World Championships

Driving for Matra International and Tyrell Team, Stewart fully hit his stride between 1968-1973, winning three World Championships. In 1969 alone, he had six Grand Prix wins and led at least one lap in every race that season, a feat unmatched since.

Jackie Stewart won championships through technical excellence and sheer consistency. He would walk the circuits repeatedly until every detail was etched into his mind. This attention to detail, along with courage and car control, made him the man to beat.

Signature Races and Victories

Some of Stewart’s legendary drives include dominant victories at Montjuic (1971 Spanish GP) and Clermont-Ferrand (1972 French GP) as well as wins in horrendous conditions at the Nurburgring, including a 1968 German GP win by over 4 minutes.

In all, he won 27 Grands Prix during his career. After retiring following the 1973 season, Stewart held the record for most wins in F1 for 14 years until being surpassed by Alain Prost.

Jackie Stewart in the Elf Tyrell, Creator: Anthony Fosh

Stewart’s Unique Driving Technique

Unlike other top drivers who tended to manhandle their cars, Jackie Stewart had an elegant style characterized by gentle inputs. This allowed him to place the car exactly where he wanted with minimal steering effort. His balletic footwork was also sublime – no wasted motion or over-slowing the car before turning in.

This efficient style reduced tire wear over the course of a Grand Prix and was one of the keys to Stewart’s reliability and consistency race after race.

Champion of Motorsport Safety

The Catalyst for Change

After a devastating crash at Spa-Francorchamps in 1966 left him trapped in his wrecked BRM, Jackie Stewart made it his personal mission to improve safety standards in Formula 1. Horrified by the dangerous conditions and lack of medical facilities at many circuits, Stewart set upon a crusade to modernize the sport.

Stewart’s Safety Crusade

Against significant opposition, Stewart campaigned successfully for mandatory seat belts and full-face helmets. He pressed for redesigned barriers, runoff areas, trackside medical staff, and specialized rescue vehicles and equipment for the Marshals.

Seeing far too many friends perish in the cockpit, Stewart even boycotted a few Grand Prix weekends at notoriously deadly tracks like the original 14-mile long Nurburging in an effort to force safety improvements.

Legacy of Safety in F1

Thanks in large part to Stewart’s vocal advocacy and ceaseless campaigning in the late 1960s and early 1970s, safety gradually became an essential consideration in Formula 1. Drivers today owe their lives to Stewart’s early vision and commitment.

Without Stewart dragging a reluctant sport forward, the disastrous fatality rates of his era may have continued indefinitely. His impact quite literally re-shaped the sport into its much safer modern form.

Life Beyond the Cockpit

Transition to Business and Media

With his Garboonesque looks and mod style, Stewart was Formula 1’s first truly global superstar driver. His fame opened doors to all manner of business opportunities during and after his driving career.

Involved in Ford’s promotional efforts from 1964-2004, Stewart quickly built a commercial empire for himself promoting products and speaking publicly. He covered races for American TV networks ABC and NBC for nearly 20 years through the 1980s and 1990s.

Philanthropic Efforts and Advocacy

True to form, Stewart leveraged his fame for important causes. He raised funds for Dyslexia Scotland to provide support and teacher training. After his wife was diagnosed with frontotemporal dementia, Stewart launched Race Against Dementia to fund research on cures and care.

He also used his public platform to lobby for various motorsport safety improvements, even after retiring as a driver.

Stewart’s Influence on Modern Formula 1

Thanks to the standards first put in place at Stewart’s urging, Formula 1 today is infinitely safer than it once was. But Stewart maintains there is no finish line for safety.

Well into his 80s, Sir Jackie still argues that more work can be done in areas like driver head protection. His uncompromising vision continues advancing the sport into new territory even 50 years on.

Remembering Sir Jackie Stewart

The Legend Lives On

Despite struggles in school, Jackie Stewart raced himself into the pages of history through a sublime mix of talent and heroic perseverance. He turned childhood shame into pride and dignity for those who learn differently.

Beyond the trophies and fame, this noble Scotsman quite literally changed the arc of history for Formula 1. Thanks to his immeasurable impact, drivers at 200+ mph can now reasonably expect to walk away unharmed from violent crashes – a mind-boggling concept not long ago.

Stewart’s Place in Motorsport History

With 27 Grand Prix victories spread across an era when death lurked around every corner, Sir Jackie Stewart is rightly considered one of the greatest Formula 1 drivers ever. The way he utterly dominated the lethal motorsport scene of the late 1960s and early 1970s may never be matched again.

But statistics alone fail to capture his full legacy. This dogged and compassionate man forced positive change in the name of safety that remains Formula 1’s guiding principle five decades later. For this, Sir Jackie Stewart has guaranteed his legend.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Who is called “The Flying Scot”?

“The Flying Scot” is the nickname given to Sir Jackie Stewart, a Scottish former professional racing driver who competed in Formula 1. The nickname reflects his Scottish heritage and his speed on the racing tracks during his illustrious career in motorsport.

How many races did Jackie Stewart win?

Sir Jackie Stewart won a total of 27 Formula 1 races during his career. He competed in Formula 1 from 1965 to 1973, securing three World Drivers’ Championships titles in 1969, 1971, and 1973.

What does Jackie Stewart do now?

After retiring from professional racing, Sir Jackie Stewart has been actively involved in various roles within and outside motorsport. He has been a tireless advocate for safety improvements in racing, using his influence to push for significant changes that have saved countless lives. Additionally, Stewart has pursued business ventures, including owning a racing team, and has been involved in charity work, especially through the Race Against Dementia charity, which he founded in honor of his wife, Lady Helen Stewart. He also occasionally appears as a commentator and expert analyst in media coverage of Formula 1.

Why is Jackie Stewart a legend in Formula 1?

Jackie Stewart is considered a legend in Formula 1 not only for his remarkable achievements on the track but also for his significant contributions off it. His advocacy for improved safety standards in motorsport has had a lasting impact, transforming Formula 1 into a much safer sport. Stewart’s commitment to safety, combined with his racing success and charismatic personality, has cemented his status as one of the greatest figures in the history of motorsport.

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