Derek Gardner (pictured with Francois Cevert) passed away today Sad news to report today…

Former Tyrrell designer Derek Gardner passed away today at the age of 79.

Gardner is most famous as the designer of the revolutionary (albeit short-lived) Tyrrell P34 six-wheeler, along with its predecessor chassis for the British constructor.

A trained engineer who worked predominantly with transmission design, Gardner was hired by the Matra concern in 1969 to help it develop a four-wheel-drive system for its F1 cars.

Ken Tyrrell – then a customer of Matra – met Gardner and secretly hired him to design the first Tyrrell chassis (the 001), which was built in the garage of Gardner’s home.

The 001 wasn’t a race-winner, but it proved a solid car and later led to the development of the Tyrrell 003, which Jackie Stewart piloted to the World Championship in 1971.

The team took a second championship in 1973, but the year was tinged with sadness with the death of Stewart’s team-mate François Cevert at Watkins Glen, and Stewart retired at the end of the season.

The competitiveness of the team wasn’t the same thereafter, but the six-wheeler designed for 1976 was revolutionary, although – with just a single win – it didn’t bring the success the team had hoped.

[Original image via AUTOSPORT]

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Richard Bailey

Founder & Chief Editor at MotorsportM8
Hasn't missed a Grand Prix since 1989. Has a soft spot for Minardi. Tattooed with 35+ Grand Prix circuits.