Alan Jones (racing driver)
Jones in 1980 at Zandvoort
2 November 1946 |
|Formula One World Championship career|
|Active years||1975 – 1981, 1983, 1985 – 1986|
|Teams||Hesketh, Hill, Surtees, Shadow, Williams, Arrows, Haas Lola|
|Races||117 (116 starts)|
|Career points||199 (206)|
|First race||1975 Spanish Grand Prix|
|First win||1977 Austrian Grand Prix|
|Last win||1981 Caesars Palace Grand Prix|
|Last race||1986 Australian Grand Prix|
Alan Stanley Jones MBE (born 2 November 1946 in Melbourne, Victoria) is an Australian former Formula One driver. He was the first driver to win a Formula One World Championship with the Williams team, becoming the 1980 World Drivers' Champion and the second Australian to do so following triple World Champion Sir Jack Brabham.
Jones is also the last Australian driver to win the Australian Grand Prix, winning the 1980 event at Calder Park Raceway, having lapped the field consisting mostly of Formula 5000 cars while he was driving his Formula One Championship winning Williams FW07B.
- 1 Early life
- 2 Racing career
- 3 Personal life
- 4 Honours
- 5 Racing record
- 6 References
- 7 External links
Jones attended Xavier College and is the son of Stan Jones, an Australian racing driver and winner of the 1959 Australian Grand Prix, and wanted to follow in his footsteps. The younger Jones left for Europe in 1967 to make a name for himself but met little success.
Pre Formula One
It took about six years before any notable results of his own, in a Formula Three car. In 1974 he managed to land a full-time Formula Atlantic ride, and his team owner parlayed it into a chance at Formula One the following season, after purchasing a car from the Hesketh racing team.
His first race was the 1975 Spanish Grand Prix at the fast Montjuïc circuit in his purchased Hesketh although the weekend turned out to be one of the most tragic in Formula One history when Rolf Stommelen's crash caused the death of five spectators. After four races in Formula One the team chose not to continue racing, but Jones was named as a replacement for the injured Rolf Stommelen on Graham Hill's racing team. His best finish with the team was fifth at the Nürburgring.
He earned his first full-time Formula One drive in 1976, in John Surtees' racing team. Jones' car was mostly known for its infamous Durex sponsorship, but he managed several good finishes in it, a fourth in Japan being the best of them. Surtees dropped him after that year as he did not get along well with the Aussie, and Jones was racing in America when the Shadow team named him as a replacement for Tom Pryce, who had been killed in a freak racing accident in South Africa. He made the most of the opportunity and won at the Österreichring for his maiden victory, finishing seventh in the championship.
In 1978, Jones, who was on the Williams F1 roster on alternate weekends, also signed with Haas-Hall racing, and competed in the Lola 333CS Chaparral in the Can-Am championship, taking nine poles in ten races. (Jones missed the Laguna Seca race due to a Formula One scheduling conflict. Stand-in Brian Redman finished twelfth in that race after the kill wire was crimped under a valve cover, resulting in intermittent ignition.) Of the nine races in which he competed, Jones won five (Atlanta, Mosport, Road America, Mid-Ohio, and Riverside.) He finished second to Elliot Forbes-Robinson at Charlotte after hitting a chicane and losing a spark plug wire, cracked up at St Jovite; lost a radiator at the Glen. He finished third at Trois-Rivieres after losing a shift fork and being stuck with only second and fifth gears on the tight road circuit. At that race, water-injected brakes were first used in Can-Am, developed by the Haas team and copied with varying degrees of success by others. Jones ran one Can-Am in 1979 (Mid-Ohio), where he and Keke Rosberg had fun running into each other and finishing 1–2, with Jones winning his last Can-Am start.
By 1977, he had already caught the attention of Frank Williams, who was looking to rebuild his Formula One racing team. Williams Grand Prix had struggled for success in its first years and Jones was entrusted to give them their first taste of it. He did not do much initially to do that, a second place finish at Watkins Glen being the best he could do, but he helped put the team on the Formula One map in 1979 using the Williams FW07, after winning four races in the span of five events near the end of the season. Jones finished third in the championship hunt that year, and it was the springboard to an excellent 1980 campaign. Jones's best years in Formula One had just begun, in the middle of the ground-effect era.
Jones won seven races in 1980, although the Spanish Grand Prix was later removed from the championship and the Australian Grand Prix was a non-championship race, so only five counted towards the Championship. Throughout the season he had a car which consistently made the podium, and he achieved ten during the year. At the end of the season he had beaten Nelson Piquet by 13 points in the standings, becoming Australia's first World Champion since Sir Jack Brabham. He had a good chance to repeat his success in 1981, but a very combative relationship with Carlos Reutemann led to an intense rivalry that possibly cost both drivers a chance at the championship. He finished four points behind Piquet for the championship and three behind Reutemann.
After winning the championship in 1980, Jones and Williams ventured to Australia to race in the then non-championship Australian Grand Prix at Calder Park in November. Driving his FW07B against a field consisting mostly of Formula 5000's (and Bruno Giacomelli's Alfa Romeo 179), Jones, who had previously finished 4th in the race in 1977 (he was penalised 60 seconds for a jumped start, and officially finished just 20 seconds behind winner Warwick Brown showing that if not for the penalty he would have won by 40 seconds), joined his father Stan as a winner of the AGP.
While at Williams, Jones developed a strong friendship with team boss Frank Williams and designer Patrick Head. There are many in F1 who believe that despite having other World Champions who later drove for the team, including Keke Rosberg, Nigel Mansell, Nelson Piquet, Alain Prost, Ayrton Senna, Damon Hill and Jacques Villeneuve, that both Williams and Head only ever really favoured Jones as a driver. Indeed, Jones and Rosberg were the only drivers who continued with the team the year after winning the Drivers' Championship. All others, except for Prost who retired after 1993, and Senna due to his death at Imola in 1994, did not drive for the team the year after they had won the championship, and only 1992 champion Mansell who guest drove for Williams in four races in 1994, returned to the team in later seasons (Frank Williams has become famous for only really caring about winning the Constructors' title as that is for the team, while tending to see drivers as a necessary evil).
Jones announced his retirement after the 1981 season, which he managed to cap off with a win in Las Vegas, but came out of retirement for a one-time drive with Arrows in 1983 at the United States Grand Prix West at Long Beach where he qualified a fine 12th but retired after 58 laps through driver fatigue. A week later he again drove for Arrows in the non-championship Race of Champions at Brands Hatch where he qualified and finished third behind reigning World Champion Keke Rosberg (Williams) and rookie American driver Danny Sullivan (Tyrrell). This was to be his last drive for the team, a bid to raise enough money to drive in the French Grand Prix the week after the Race of Champions failed which saw Arrows use its regular drivers Marc Surer and Chico Serra (whom Jones had replaced at Long Beach) instead.
During a 2012 Grand Prix Legends interview, Jones revealed that he had been contacted by Ferrari to drive for the team from mid-1982 after the death of Gilles Villeneuve and the injury forced retirement of Didier Pironi. As he was enjoying life back in Australia at the time, Jones did not give them an answer straight away and basically gave them the run around, a move he regrets as it was highly possible that as the 1980 World Champion, Ferrari would have wanted to keep him for 1983 when he was looking to make a comeback which would have seen him drive what was that season's most powerful car (Ferrari won the Constructors' Championship in 1983). After taking too long to give them an answer, the Scuderia instead offered the drive to 1978 World Champion Mario Andretti who drove the last two races of the season at Monza and Caesars Palace.
Jones wasn't seen in Formula One during 1984, though he did drive some World Sportscar Championship races in 1983 and 1984. He made a full-time comeback to F1 late in 1985 when Team Haas was created and Jones was the first driver for that outfit, the American owned and sponsored team (but based in England) making its debut at the Italian Grand Prix at Monza where Jones qualified the new Lola THL1 9.851 seconds slower than pole man Ayrton Senna in his Lotus-Renault and retired after only 6 laps with a blown engine. Jones was joined at Haas in 1986 by former Ferrari and Renault works driver Patrick Tambay. The comeback was unsuccessful more due to the Ford V6 engine's lack of power compared to its rivals from Honda, TAG-Porsche, BMW, Ferrari and Renault, than any lack of effort from the team and its drivers.
At the end of the 1986 season after the Haas team lost its sponsorship and ran out of money, Jones retired from Formula One for good having won 12 races, 6 pole positions and one World Championship.
Post Formula One
Jones' post Formula One career was initially spasmodic in nature. Briefly in demand for his services as a Touring Car co-driver, he raced occasionally in his home country's biggest endurance race, the Bathurst 1000 but success was elusive. In 1982 he attempted his first full season of racing, driving a Porsche 935 to dominate the 1982 Australian GT Championship. This championship included races against local touring car ace Peter Brock driving Bob Jane's 6.0 litre Chevrolet Monza. The duels between Australia's two biggest motorsport names at the time have often been regarded as some of the best racing seen domestically in Australia. Soon after he made his first failed comeback to Formula One. After returning to Australia again he formed his own Touring Car team, combining the resources of V8 Ford driver Bob Morris and rotary Mazda racer Barry Jones into a single two-car team but results were mixed and the exercise dissipated by the end of the season, though Jones and Jones did win the CRC 300 at Amaroo Park in a Mazda RX-7. 1984 brought a top six finish at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, and a top four finish at the Bathurst 1000. Quickly snapped up as the lead driver in Colin Bond's newly formed factory supported Alfa Romeo touring car team for the 1985 Australian Touring Car Championship, he abandoned his first serious ATCC campaign to make his second Formula One comeback with the Haas Lola team.
Jones joined Kremer Racing for the 1984 24 Hours of Le Mans where he would share a Porsche 956B with 1983 Le Mans winner Vern Schuppan and former F1 driver Jean-Pierre Jarier. After dicing for the lead with the pole sitting Lancia LC2 of Bob Wollek and Alessandro Nannini for the first third of the race, damaged caused when Schuppan was the innocent victim of a spinning Roger Dorchy, and finally a broken conrod, saw Jones finish his only 24 Hours of Le Mans start in 6th place. Jones had previously driven for the Kremer brothers when he and Schuppan drove a 956 to 5th place in the 1983 1000 km of Silversone. Later in 1984, Jones drove with Schuppan for the factory backed Rothmans Porsche team at the 1000 km of Sandown Park, the final round of the 1984 World Sportscar Championship and the first ever FIA World Championship race to be held in Australia. After Schuppan qualified the Porsche 956B 3rd behind team mates Stefan Bellof and Jochen Mass, Jones started the race and got the jump on the German pair and had the honour of leading the first lap. Jones and Schuppan eventually finished 9th, 12 laps down on Bellof and Derek Bell after numerous punctures.
In August 1985, one month before his return to Formula One at the Italian Grand Prix, Jones' association with Team Haas owner Carl Haas saw him used as a substitute for injured Newman/Haas Racing driver (and 1978 World F1 Champion) Mario Andretti in a Champ Car World Series race at Road America in Wisconsin. In his only IndyCar start and showing he had lost none of the speed, skill and determination that took him to the World Championship, Jones drove Andretti's Lola T900-Cosworth to third place behind Jacques Villeneuve Sr. (winner) and Mario's son Michael Andretti (2nd).
On September 20, 1987 at SUGO Jones won a round of All Japan Touring Car Championship driving Toyota Team Toms, Group A, Supra MA70 Turbo. Unfortunately the factory backed Supra could be competitive even to the Private TRAMPIO Ford Sierras, thus for the remaining two JGTC races he scored only one additional podium on December 6 at Suzuka where he finished 3rd. After returning home again in 1987 his career did not pick up again until a competitive 3rd placing at the 1988 Bathurst 1000 with Colin Bond in a Ford Sierra RS500 saw him signed up as full-time number two driver to Tony Longhurst in his Ford Sierra team in 1990, which was brutally fast but disappointingly fragile and results were again elusive. The team switched to BMW M3's in 1991, which saw the return of reliability at the cost of speed. Jones took the occasional podium result while Longhurst took two wins against the all-powerful Nissan GT-R's. A switch to Glenn Seton Racing mid-season in 1992 brought improved results and race wins and he finished runner up to his team leader Glenn Seton as their V8 Ford Falcons dominated the 1993 Australian Touring Car Championship. The team's dominance faded over the next few years. The 1995 Bathurst 1000 looked to be a high point with a memorable 1–2 finish for their two cars fading into just a second for the car Jones shared with Allan Grice, the pair finishing behind the Holden Commodore of ex-F1 driver Larry Perkins and Russell Ingall (Seton, leading by 5 seconds with just 9 laps remaining, saw his chance evaporate with a dead engine). By this point the team was sundering apart and Jones took the major sponsor (Phillip Morris International) to form a new team with engineering brothers Ross and Jim Stone as partners, known commercially as Pack Leader Racing. Initially fast, the partnership was fading by 1997 and the Stones bought Jones out, rebadging the team as Stone Brothers Racing. Jones returned to race with Tony Longhurst's team again in 1998 by this time his form was fading. From 1999 onwards he no longer raced full-time, driving just the endurance races as a hired gun. His final race was with Dick Johnson Racing, driving into a 7th placed finish at the 2002 Bathurst 1000.
After retiring from F1 for good after 1986, Jones became a commentator with Channel Nine as part of their Formula One coverage in Australia in 1987, a role which lasted over a decade until a change of network. Jones then become involved in the Australian franchise of the A1 Grand Prix as Team Director in 2005 until the series demise in 2010. He attempted to race in the Grand Prix Masters World Series at Kyalami in November 2005 but had to pull out before qualifying due to neck pains. There was speculation at the time that his exit was due more to a general lack of fitness which had left him up to ten seconds per lap off the pace in practice.
Jones separated from his wife Beverley in the late 1980s. In 1996 he began a relationship with Amanda Butler Davis and in 2001 their twins, Zara and Jack, were born.
Jones also has a daughter, Camilla, born in 1990.
Jones's adopted son Christian now races in various forms of motorsport.
His eldest daughter, Emma, has two daughters (born 2001 and 2004).
Complete Formula One World Championship results
(key) (races in bold indicate pole position; races in italics indicate fastest lap)
Complete 24 Hours of Le Mans Results
Class winners in bold. Cars failing to complete 70% of the winner's distance marked as Not Classified (NC).
|1984||6||C1||11||Porsche Kremer Racing|| Vern Schuppan
|Porsche Type-935 2.6 L Turbo Flat-6|
|C1||36||Toyota Team Tom's|| Geoff Lees
|Toyota 3S-GTM 2.1L Turbo I4|
American Open-Wheel racing results
|1985||Newman/Haas||Lola T900||Ford Cosworth||LGB||INDY||MIL||POR||MEA||CLE||MIS1||ROA
Complete Asia-Pacific Touring Car Championship results
(key) (Races in bold indicate pole position) (Races in italics indicate fastest lap)
|1988||Caltex CXT Racing Team||Ford Sierra RS500||BAT
- Up until 1990, not all points scored by a driver contributed to their final World Championship tally (see list of points scoring systems for more information). Numbers without parentheses are Championship points; numbers in parentheses are total points scored.
- FIA Year Book of Automobile Sport 1979. Patrick Stephens Ltd. white p. 38. ISBN 0-85059-320-4.
- "Jones, Alan Stanley, MBE". It's an Honour. Retrieved 26 September 2013.
- "Alan Jones MBE". Sport Australia Hall of Fame. Retrieved 26 September 2013.
|Formula One World Champion
|Awards and achievements|
|Hawthorn Memorial Trophy