Keith Jack "Jackie" Oliver (14th August 1942) is a former Formula One driver, and founder of the Arrows F1 effort, born in Chadwell Heath, Essex, in the United Kingdom. Beginning his career in his native Britain, Oliver progressed through club racing, through the British Saloon Car Championship and into Formula Two, before obtaining a one-off drive with Team Lotus at the 1967 German Grand Prix.
An impressive début in Germany, in which Oliver finished fifth in a F2 machine, saw him signed up to Team Lotus for the 1968 Championship, with the Brit ultimately ending the season on the podium at the Mexican Grand Prix. Oliver was to be forced out of the team at the end of the season, replaced by Jochen Rindt, although he would signup to drive for BRM just a few days later.
Two seasons with BRM saw Oliver retire more often than not due to mechanical issues, before he moved on to the World Sportscar Championship for 1971. He would return to Grand Prix racing later that season, however, joining the McLaren Racing outfit mid-season, before only competing at one race in 1972 for old team BRM. Oliver would complete one more full season in 1973 for Shadow F1, before retiring from Grand Prix racing at the end of the season.
Oliver continued on with Shadow in their other Championship commitments, briefly returning to the F1 field for one final taste in 1977, before ending his involvement with the American team at the end of the year. Oliver then founded the Arrows F1 team with a number of ex-Shadow employees in 1978, and remained at the helm until 1996, finally breaking his involvement with Arrows, and F1, in 1999.
Formula One CareerEdit
Oliver got his first taste of motor racing at club level in his native Britain in 1961, moving through the ranks after a series of impressive performances. His pre-Formula One career would also see him finish as a class runner up in the 1966 British Saloon Car Championship, and continued to race in Formula Two, after attracting support from Team Lotus for the 1967 season.
Chapman's Choice: 1967 - 1968Edit
Oliver was part of Team Lotus works team, competing for them at several Formula Two races after Colin Chapman asked him to join the team. Fate then decided that the organisers at the 1967 German Grand Prix had arranged for a Formula Two race to support the Grand Prix at the Nürburgring, meaning all of the Lotus crews would be there. When the entry list for the feature race proved short, Oliver and his F2 colleagues were allowed to enter the race using their non-Championship equipment, with Oliver producing a mesmerising drive. The Brit danced his F2 car around the circuit on race day, climbing from nineteenth on the grid to finish fifth, although he was not eligible for points. Oliver would return to his regular F2 campaign after his memorable début.
Sadly, Oliver's full début would come in the wake of two of the most tragic losses to the racing world. Jim Clark's death in a Formula Two race in April had seen Mike Spence replace him at Team Lotus, only for the latter to die during practice for the 1968 Indianapolis 500, with Team Lotus opting not to attend the second race of the season. Oliver was drafted into the vacant seat for the third round in Monaco, but retired early on after getting involved in an accident caused by Bruce McLaren.
His next race for the full Lotus outfit saw him use the updated Lotus 49, with Oliver rediscovering his F2 performances in the 1968 Belgian Grand Prix to take his first points with a fifth place finish. At the following Dutch Grand Prix Oliver would fail to be classified, before missing the French race. Oliver would again impress on his return to the Championship at his home race in Britain, leading for several laps before retiring with a transmission failure.
The rest of the season proved disappointing in comparison, with Oliver retiring from two races, failing to start one, and failing to score at the German Grand Prix. Yet, the season would end in some glory for Oliver, as he claimed a first career podium and aided team mate Graham Hill to his second World Championship, although Oliver's time was up with Lotus. Oliver's Austrian contemporary Jochen Rindt managed to convince Chapman into giving him a seat at the World Champions, with Oliver dropped to accommodate the future World Champion.
Factory Funding: 1969 - 1970Edit
A few days after being dropped by Team Lotus, Oliver signed a two year deal with BRM, as well as a deal with Ford to race at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Yet, the first season of his new deals prove to be polar opposites, although Oliver did show his quality in both. Victories at the 12 Hours of Sebring and Le Mans for Ford overshadowed a disappointing Grand Prix season, as Oliver retired from eight races, and only scored points at the season finale in Mexico.
His sportscar career remained a source of personal joy for Oliver, amid frequent upheval within BRM, with the Brit joined by a new team mate in the form of Pedro Rodríguez. The new BRM P153 was quick, Oliver frequently getting into the top ten in qualifying, but its delicate nature again saw Oliver fail to finish eleven of the seasons races. The only highlight of the season for Oliver came at the Austrian Grand Prix, with the Brit scoring his only points finish of the season. Oliver was also lucky to survive a fire affected crash in Spain, but would ultimately move to sportscars full time in 1971.
Reserve Racer: 1971 - 1972Edit
Oliver's career saw him join Porsche for their World Sportscar Championship, where he would claim victory in the 24 Hours of Daytona. His success meant that McLaren would approach Oliver when he was short of a driver in three rounds in 1971, and gave Oliver a one-off race in 1972. His best finish in the four races came at the 1971 Italian Grand Prix, although Oliver failed to score points by claiming seventh in that race.
Shadow Dealing: 1973Edit
Oliver became a key figure in establishing the Shadow Racing Team in Formula One, having joined their campaign in America's CanAm Series. He led their 1973 F1 campaign as their lead driver, and with the new Shadow DN1 endured a topsy-turvy season, suffering eight retirements from fourteen races. Yet, Oliver would also claim a podium in the 1973 Canadian Grand Prix, although the wet weather conditions saw him cross the line in first place, only to be denied his first victory after the organisers misrecorded the lap charts.
Oliver retired from racing in Grand Prix at the end of the season, although continued to campaign with Shadow in America. He did, however, make a return to the F1 grid in 1977, claiming ninth in the Swedish Grand Prix. Oliver then became business manager at Shadow for the rest of the season, before leading a en-masse walk out at the end of the season, creating the Arrows F1 Team in time for 1978.
Formula One Statistical OverviewEdit
Formula One RecordEdit
The complete record of Jackie Oliver as a racing driver in Formula One is shown below:
|Year||Entrant||Constructor||WDC Points||WDC Pos.||Report|
|1967||Lotus Components Ltd.||Lotus-Cosworth*||0||NC||Report|
|1968||Gold Leaf Team Lotus||Lotus-Cosworth||6||15th||Report|
|1969||Owen Racing Organisation||BRM||1||17th||Report|
|1970||Owen Racing Organisation||BRM||2||20th||Report|
|1971||Bruce McLaren Motor Racing||McLaren-Ford Cosworth||0||NC||Report|
|1973||UOP Shadow Racing Team||Shadow-Ford Cosworth||4||14th||Report|
|1977||Shadow Racing Team||Shadow-Ford Cosworth||0||NC||Report|
- * Only entry saw Oliver use a Formula Two car.
Non-racing Formula One RecordEdit
Jackie Oliver's full non-racing F1 record is outlined below:
|Front Row Starts||1|
|Distance Raced||8,121 km|
|Distance Led||165 km|
|Complete Formula One results|
|3rd||DNQ||Did not qualify|
|5th||Points finish||DNPQ||Did not pre-qualify|
|14th||Non-points finish||TD||Test driver|
|NC||Non-classified finish (<90% race distance)||DNS||Did not start|
|[+] More Symbols|
- * Oliver entered using Formula Two equipment and so was ineligible for points.
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