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The day Ken Tyrrell bowed out

Ken Tyrrell, Tyrrell Racing

© F1-Photo.com / The Cahier Archive

It was on this day in 1997 that news emerged that Ken Tyrrell was to depart Formula 1 after selling his eponymous race team.

Tyrrell Racing had been a fixture of the world championship for over three decades. It made its maiden appearance at the 1966 German Grand Prix with drivers Jacky Ickx and Hubert Hahne and embarked on its first full season in 1968. Jackie Stewart spearheaded the campaign and claimed three wins that year.

Stewart stayed with the team until 1973. Together they won the drivers and constructors championships in 1971, with Stewart winning six of the 11 races that year. Stewart went on to win two more titles. The team was runner-up in the following two seasons, and third in 1974 and 1976.

The team went into decline after that. Its low point came in 1984 when they were disqualified after having been deemed to have dodged rules about their car's minimum weight.

Other drivers to follow Stewart at Tyrrell included Jody Scheckter, Ronnie Peterson, Didier Pironi, Eddie Cheever, Michele Alboreto and Danny Sullivan. Martin Brundle was a Tyrrell driver between 1984 and 1986. Others in the Tyrrell team colours included Jonathan Palmer, Jean Alesi, Mika Salo, Mark Blundell and Jos Verstappen.

However by the end of 1997 Ken Tyrrell himself decided it was time to call it a day. The Tyrrell F1 team was sold to British American Tobacco and Craig Pollock to create British American Racing, with the news breaking on December 2. Tyrrell called it "the most difficult decision I've ever had to take."

"The cost to compete in F1 has escalated dramatically," he explained at the time. "The Tyrrell racing organisation is not satisfied with being relegated to the back of the grid. Our competitive spirit is too high."

The team continued to race under the Tyrrell name for another season. However Ken himself stepped away with immediate effect. He died of cancer at the age of 77 on August 25 2001, but his spirit and legend continues to live on in the sport to this day.

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