Today we wish a happy birthday to former F1 driver Julian Bailey, who turns the big 5-0 today!
Not least of which because we shared the same surname, I always had something of a soft spot for the Englishman, largely on account of his sheer bloody-minded determination.
British-born and Spanish-raised, Bailey rose through the Formula Ford ranks, winning the all-important British Formula Ford Festival at Brands Hatch before moving into Formula 3.
Often strapped for finances, he somehow managed to convince backers to propel him into Formula 3000, and he became the first British driver to win a race in the series on just his third attempt.
Ken Tyrrell was sufficiently impressed as to sign the youngster for the 1988 F1 season, but Julian had to bring funding to the party, mortgaging himself up to his eyeballs for the opportunity.
Sadly, the Tyrrell 017 was a beast, and poor Julian sometimes failed to qualify and certainly never threatened the points’ positions. Dropped at season’s end, he joined Nissan’s sports car squad for two seasons, before returning to F1 with Lotus in 1991.
His first and only points’ finish came with sixth place at the wet-dry San Marino Grand Prix, but he DNQ’d at the following race in Monaco and his funds had run dry.
After F1, Bailey continued to be involved in touring and sports car racing before going on to become a successful hotelier.
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