F-1 legend Jackie Stewart still emotionally haunted by racing deaths

Posted By: Staff

Edinburgh (Scotland), Oct.24 (ANI): Scottish racing legend Sir Jackie Stewart has revealed how he is still haunted by the deaths of fellow drivers almost 40 years after retiring from the sport.

Sir Jackie, 70, who won three Formula One World Championships in the late 1960s and early 1970s, said the deaths of 57 drivers in an 11-year period during his career had a traumatic effect on him.

At the time he was able to suppress his emotions so as to continue in competitive racing but now, in retirement, he grieves for their loss, reports The Scotsman.

They include seven of his closest friends, including two-times Formula One world champion Jim Clark, whose Lotus-Cosworth somersaulted through the air and smashed into a tree during a Formula Two race at the Nürburgring, Germany, in April 1968.

Sir Jackie, speaking on BBC Radio Scotland's Stuff of Legends, to be broadcast tomorrow, said he was able to "block out" his grief at the time in order to perform. But he said the mental and emotional "scars" had emerged in later life.

He told interviewer Bryan Cooney: "When I was racing I could block it off very successfully - because it was sadly an occasion that was too often happening, with such regularity in some cases that it was absolutely shocking. When I look back in my life at those moments, for whatever reason, I was able to almost remove emotion and grief. I can't do that now.

Sir Jackie lost several other close friends on the race track including German Jochen Rindt, Swede Jo Bonnier and Swiss driver Jo Siffert. He said that Clark's death affected him "enormously".

They had shared a flat in London, which they called the Scottish Embassy, and become close. (ANI)

Story first published: Saturday, October 24, 2009, 13:47 [IST]
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