2004 RMU CLASSIC
Jackie Oliver, posing with my brother Luc.
Oliver was a confident Essex lad who fought his way up through Formula 3 into Formula 2 with an ex-works Lotus 48 in 1967, and was offered a place in the team itself when Jim Clark was killed in the spring of 1968.
Drafted alongside Graham Hill, he blotted his copybook with Colin Chapman by shunting in both the Monaco and French Grands Prix, but his 49B was leading the British Grand Prix at Brands Hatch when its transmission failed. Oliver rounded off the season with a third place in the Mexican Grand Prix, but by then Lotus had decided to drop him in favor of Jochen Rindt for 1969.
He then joined BRM on a two-year contract which only yielded a couple of top six finishes - sixth in the 1969 Mexican Grand Prix and fifth in the 1970 Austrian race the following year.
Dropped by the team in 1971, he did three races for McLaren, had a guest drive for BRM in the 1972 British Grand Prix and only returned to full-time Formula 1 in 1973 with the debutante Shadow team. He finished third in that year's chaotic wet-dry Canadian Grand Prix after which he moved into the team's management before he and a group of colleagues broke away to establish the rival Arrows Equipe in 1978. Sued by Shadow boss Don Nichols in the London High Court, it was established that Oliver and his pals had infringed Shadow design copyright with their new car and were forced to make amends. Thereafter the Arrows team continued under Oliver's stewardship until he sold out to Tom Walkinshaw 20 years later.