life in the fast lane

Son of triple world champion Jackie, PAUL STEWART heads a new force in Formula One. And in the glamour world of motor racing, Stewart Grand Prix flies the flag for Scotland.

Words: Lorin McDougall

Paul Stewart is a lucky guy. The son of a triple world champion racing driver. 32-year-old Stewart is happily married with two young sons of his own. Like father Jackie. he is involved in the most glamorous sport on earth and. as managing director of Stewart Grand Prix, he helped to create a new force in Formula One racing. What’s more. guitar-obsessed Paul was taught to play by Beatle George Harrison. an old mate of his dad’s.

‘It all started when l was a little boy.’ he remembers. ‘George used to come to stay at our house in Switzerland. He had enormous patience and really made me focus and concentrate. I was privileged to meet certain people because of what my father achieved as a racing driver. They were rich and famous but. more importantly, they were good at what they did.’

Paul retains his Harrison- inspired love of music. but has so far resisted the urge to gatecrash Damon Hill and Eddie Jordan’s famous post- race jam sessions. ‘l’ve kept my distance from that.’ he says. ‘I simply love playing acoustic and electric guitar in a blues style. You harbour little dreams when you’re young, up on stage in front of thousands of screaming fans; but, no. I never seriously considered becoming a professional musician.’

Music’s loss was motor racing’s gain. and in Melbourne this month. the Stewart team will begin its second season on the circuit after a hectic winter build-up. ‘We’re trying to catch up with the other teams and their level of technology and know-how.’ says Paul. ‘You can’t catch up immediately. but you can’t be cautious either. We have a policy of pushing the limits. and that can result in reliability problems on the engine side.’

Engine blow-outs hampered their challenge in 1997. but new regulations introduced this year may allow smaller teams to match the established favourites Williams. Ferrari and McLaren.

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Right side of the tracks: Paul Stewart gets ready for the new Grand Prix season

‘We’ve not seen such big changes for a long time.’ Paul explains. ‘There’s been talk about the new grooved tyres and the cars certainly look narrower. But Formula One will still have sex appeal. The engineers usually find ways to adapt. so Fl has always been the pinnacle of technology in motor sport. making these cars the most technologically advanced racing cars in the world. This winter. I’d like to have done a little bit more to push the limits of the car. But we’ve taken more time to build and design. including new technology. and that’s eaten into our testing time.

‘We’re aiming to improve on last season, when we finished ninth in the world championship. scoring six points for coming second in Monaco. We want to score points more consistently. and I believe we’re capable of achieving better results. We’ve got a better package this year and we’ve matured as a company.’

Although Stewart Grand Prix is based in Milton Keynes and employs Brazilian Rubens Barrichello and Dane Jan Magnussen as its drivers. the team has strong Scottish roots. The Racing Stewart tartan has been worn by father and son at recent car launches for one simple reason.

‘It’s not a gimmick we’re genuinely proud of Scotland.’ says Paul. ‘I was born in Dumbarton. and although I lived abroad as a child. I’ve always thought of myself as a Scot.’

The Australian Grand Prix is on Sun 8 Mar at 2.30am. broadcast live on Scottish Television.

sport listings

Events are listed alphabetically by sport. then by da . Fixtures are correct at time o publication, but ma be affected by weather. Sports listings compiled by Brian Donaldson.

World Cup Sat 7—Sun 8. Kelvin Hall International Sports Arena. Argyle Street. Glasgow. Sat Ipm; Sun 9am. Former Olympic swordsfolk will be crossing their blades with some of the young bucks in the City of Glasgow Iipee. There is representation from as far afield as Germany. Australia. Cuba and USA. as well as our home-grown talent. with the title of Glasgow’s World Cup Fencing Champion up for grabs. The ticket hotline is 445 1602.


Saturday 7


Falkirk v St Johnstone Brockville Park. Hope Street. Falkirk. 3pm. Last year's runners-up play host to many people‘s dark horses for the trophy. As if the tie isn’t spicy enough. it marks a meeting of former mates. with the Saints among Alex Totten’s past employers. Until he got the sack.

Hearts v Ayr Tynecastle Park. Gorgie Road. Edinburgh. 3pm. The conquerors of Killie travel to the capital to meet Jim .Ieffries’s double-Chasers. Another Premier victory is probably not on the cards for Gordon Dalziel's men. but a replay would at least boost the Somerset Parkers‘ bank balance.

Sunday 8


Dundee United v Celtic Tannadice Park. Tannadice Street. Dundee. 3pm. Yet another free Saturday for Celtic as they meet a team who will have revenge firmly in their minds. Despite two narrow escapes at the hands of the mighty Inverness Caley in the last round. United should fancy their chances in a one-off tie against the team who beat them in the Coca-Cola Cup Final. Another tough match is in store for Wim Iansen’s men as they chase a treble which a year ago would surely have been the last thing on anyone’s mind at Parkhead. Broadcast on Scottish TV.

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Get to the point: World Cup Fencing at Glasgow's Kelivin Hall, Sat 7 - Sun 8 Mar