Racing legend talks dyslexia, safety and passion
ogilvydo bagged an exclusive interview with Sir Jackie Stewart. His outstanding track record – 3 times F1 world champion – still ranks him among the most successful drivers ever, yet in terms of personally influencing the way Formula One racing developed, Jackie Stewart stands alone.
His one-man safety crusade made the sport much safer. In one particularly lethal period during his era the chances of a driver who raced for five years being killed were two out of three. But Stewart recalls, “I wouldn’t have done what I did if I had wanted to win a popularity contest. There was criticism from the media, even from some drivers. It was said I removed the romance from the sport, that the safety measures took away the swashbuckling spectacular. But to finish first, first you must finish!”.
His excellent communication skills helped make the sport more popular. He set new standards of professionalism for drivers and was also a pioneer in exploiting Formula One racing’s commercial potential.
His achievements are all the more remarkable because he was a failure at school and left at 15. Only later was he diagnosed as suffering from severe dyslexia.
His keen intelligence and tireless energy helped his success, but he would never have been able to exert such influence had he not been a truly great driver. He still loves the sport and in 2001 he received a knighthood for his contributions to it.