Harvey Jones

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Harvey Jones
Nationality Flag of the United Kingdom svg.png British
Born 25 November 1952
Banbury, England
(died 19 August 2011,
Oxford, England)
Current Team Flag of the United Kingdom svg.png Essex Team Lotus
Car Number 7
Former Teams 1959 Flag of Hong Kong.png Theodore Racing
Flag of the United Kingdom svg.png Elf Team Tyrrell
Races 68 (66 starts)
Championships 0
Victories 1
Podiums 9
Points 82
Pole Positions 2
Fastest Laps 4
First Race 1976 Brazilian Grand Prix
First Victory 1980 South African Grand Prix
Last Victory 1980 South African Grand Prix
Last Race 1980 Monaco Grand Prix (ongoing)
Best Finish 8th (1978, 1979)


Harvey Jones (born 25th November 1952 in Banbury, England; died 19th August 2011 in Oxford, England) is a former British racing driver and the father of current F1RWRS driver Sammy Jones. Harvey was best known for his career in Formula 1 during the late 1970s and early 80s.

Early life

Born to Simon and Ann Jones in 1952, Harvey was raised on the family's farm on the outskirts of Banbury. With his family earning little money, he received only basic education, leaving school at 14 to go and work at the Alcan aluminium factory in the town as an apprentice. From a young age Harvey was a motorsport enthusiast, and whilst at Alcan, would regularly travel with fellow workers to the nearby Silverstone circuit to watch various races.

Early Motorsport Career

Debut in Formula 3 (1970-72)

After persistent requests for his father to help buy him a car, Harvey's wish was finally granted in 1969, when his parents re-mortgaged their house in order to buy their son a Lotus 59 Formula 3 chassis. Elated that he was finally able to compete in the races he'd been watching for years, Harvey quickly set out to contest the Shellsport F3 series of 1970, whilst continuing to work at Alcan during the week. After a gruelling first year spent mostly in the van he used to transport his car, Harvey Jones had collected a number of impressive results, culminating in 10th overall in the championship. Continuing in the same championship for 1971, Jones improved further, and took two third place finishes on his way to 4th place overall. Tipped for the championship in 1972, Jones sold his ageing Lotus chassis and with his savings and prize money earnt, he upgraded to a brand new GRD. This would pit Jones against other favourite Roger Williamson, with the two drivers using the same chassis model. Ultimately, Williamson came off best, with Jones finishing runner-up with two wins his best result. Despite the loss, it was enough to attract the attention of the Brabham team, who were impressed with Jones' ability and subsequently signed him up to drive for their Formula 2 team for 1973.

Rise into Formula 2 (1973)

Having only just turned 20 at the end of the previous year, Harvey Jones debuted in the 1973 European Formula 2 Championship for Brabham at Mallory Park on March 11, finishing a respectable 9th over the two races. As part of the agreement to race for Brabham, Jones was forced to relinquish the car to Wilson Fittipaldi for both the Hockenheim and Rouen races. Despite that, during the rest of the year, Jones proved his talent despite the car being inferior to the dominant March entrants. A switch to the more powerful BMW engines mid-way through the year transformed Jones' fortunes and a fourth place and four sixth places were enough to give him 12th in the championship by the end of the year. Brabham however had decided to pull the plug on their F2 operation, leaving Harvey without a drive for 1974.

A lifeline in Formula 5000 (1974)

With no teams willing to take him on without payment of some kind, Jones was left out in the cold. With very little money and not even his GRD chassis to go racing in F3 any more, he was forced to look elsewhere for drives. Fortunately for him, a chance manifested itself in the form of the British Formula 5000 series, and Jones drove a handful of one-off races for different teams allowing him to maintain his ability and racecraft. Results were good too, and with the somewhat weak field, podiums were always a possibility when his car held together, and at a memorable race at Brands Hatch, Harvey took his maiden victory in the series, driving a Chevron B24. His series of drives were beginning to attract the attention of the smaller teams in Formula 1, though an offer to drive in Formula 2 for the factory March team was too good an opportunity to pass up. Jones signed the deal that would take him back into F2 and give him a serious chance of success in 1975.

Back to F2 with March (1975)

Finally with a well-funded team behind him, Harvey took full advantage of his position to dominate the 1975 season. With knowledge of many of the European tracks already gained from his previous F2 and F5000 races, Jones collected a string of wins in his most successful season in any series up to that point. A season-long battle with Jacques Laffite eventually went Jones' way as Laffite balanced an F1 career alongside his F2 commitments. His first championship victory propelled Jones into the spotlight of the British media who, after the retirement of Jackie Stewart and the deaths of the 'Lost Generation' were looking for future British racing stars. Joining the already famous James Hunt, Jones entered a new chapter in his life as his career really began to take off.

Formula One Career (1976-)

Following his F2 championship victory, Jones married his long-time girlfriend Sarah Worsley in December 1975, and a few days later, it was announced that Jones would be driving for the newly-established Theodore Racing team which ran customer March 761 chassis. The team were inexperienced, and combined with Jones' lack of racing in contemporary F1 cars, results were initially poor. A string of mechanical failures hampered progress, though there were signs of improvement towards the end of the year. Following three consecutive race finishes, Jones was able to score his first ever F1 world championship points with a fifth place finish at the United States Grand Prix at Watkins Glen, the penultimate race of the year. It wasn't enough for Harvey though, who had become disillusioned with the young team's inability to generate good results.

For 1977 therefore, Jones switched teams, and was able to sign for Tyrrell who had initially looked to sign Ronnie Peterson who instead had decided to take a year's sabbatical, before returning to drive for Lotus in 1978. Unable to sign the Swede, Ken Tyrrell decided on Jones who he felt had potential despite his poor debut year. Lined up alongside Frenchman Patrick Depailler, Jones found himself in a competitive car, and whilst the first four races weren't impressive, Jones gradually found his feet, and was able to add to his fifth place from the previous year with a total of six points finishes over the course of the season, including a second place at Dijon, repaying Tyrrell's faith in him. By the end of the season he had amassed a total of 14 points leaving him 11th in the standings.

Remaining with Tyrrell for 1978 provided Jones with some much-needed continuity, and this paid off as alongside Depailler, the two enjoyed a successful year with regular points finishes and Depailler winning in Monaco. There were three further podiums for Jones, a second place at the Spanish Grand Prix which also brought him his first fastest lap, as well as third place finishes at his home race at Brands Hatch, and at Zandvoort. Ending the season with 22 points left Jones 8th overall, with Depailler outscoring him with 34 points. There was reason to be positive for Harvey though. He'd successfully established himself within F1, and along with the birth of his son Sammy, he announced that for 1979, he'd be moving to the reigning champions Lotus.

The move to what everyone considered to be a race-winning team was a step up for Harvey, and now a shot at the title was a distinct possibility. Ultimately however, his season was very similar to 1978. He finished 8th overall again in the championship, scoring points on seven occasions, the same as the previous year. An emotional win at Brands Hatch in a chaotic race, and the first to be attended by his infant son Sammy, was the undoubted highlight, but the overriding feeling was one of under-achievement. Both Harvey and teammate Alan Jones struggled for pace as turbo engines began to take hold as the season progressed, and reliability was a recurring problem. Despite him considering leaving the team as the season neared its conclusion, Harvey eventually decided to remain with Lotus, convinced by Colin Chapman when he informed Jones that he'd secured Renault turbo power for 1980.

There was a sense of optimism as Harvey headed into 1980 and his second season at Lotus, with the team showing much-improved pace in early testing. The turbo engines were unpredictable however, and it was clear that getting them to last the distance was going to be the two Jones' biggest challenge for the year ahead. The potential was confirmed in only the second race of the year in South Africa though as Harvey drove an excellent race to beat the faster Williams Hondas and take fastest lap too. Whereas in 1979 the expectation of a title challenge faded very quickly, now there was a genuine chance to succeed.

Later life after F1

Once retired from motorsport, Harvey returned home to live in Banbury and support his family, whilst helping and encouraging his son Sammy with his own racing aspirations. He was an active and often outspoken member of the community, most notably when the Alcan aluminium factory was threatened with closure. Jones fought passionately for the plant's continued existence and it is widely believed that the decision to close the factory in 2007, with the loss of almost 400 jobs, contributed to Harvey's deterioration in health and ultimate death. He left behind his wife Sarah, and son Sammy, dying in the summer of 2011, having lived to see his son establish his own racing team, the Jones Racing Group, earlier that year.

Complete Formula 1 Results

Year Entrant Chassis Engine 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 WDC Points
1976 Theodore Racing March 761 Ford Cosworth DFV BRA
Ret
RSA
Ret
USW
13
ESP
Ret
BEL
11
MON
DNQ
SWE
Ret
FRA
Ret
GBR
Ret
GER
DNQ
AUT
Ret
NED
8
ITA
14
CAN
11
USA
5
JPN
Ret
=18th 2
1977 Elf Team Tyrrell Tyrrell P34B Ford Cosworth DFV ARG
Ret
BRA
Ret
RSA
12
USW
Ret
ESP
5
MON
Ret
BEL
Ret
SWE
8
FRA
2
GBR
Ret
GER
11
AUT
6
NED
5
ITA
Ret
USA
9
CAN
4
JPN
Ret
11th 14
1978 Elf Team Tyrrell Tyrrell 008 Ford Cosworth DFV ARG
7
BRA
6
RSA
Ret
USW
8
MON
Ret
BEL
5
ESP
2
SWE
4
FRA
Ret
GBR
3
GER
Ret
AUT
Ret
NED
3
ITA
Ret
USA
5
CAN
Ret
8th 22
1979 Martini Lotus Racing Lotus 79 Ford Cosworth DFV ARG
Ret
BRA
5
RSA
Ret
USW
6
ESP
Ret
BEL
4
MON
4
FRA
11
GBR
3
GER
Ret
AUT
5
NED
Ret
ITA
Ret
EUR
1
CAN
Ret
USA
Ret
AUS
13†
8th 34
1980 Essex Team Lotus Lotus 79 Renault Turbo AUS
Ret
RSA
1
BRA
2
BEL
Ret
FRA
Ret
MON
2
SUI
2
USA
Ret
CAN
2
IRE GBR GER EUR AUT ITA JAP USE 1st * 38 *
  • A * denotes a season currently in progress.