Jody Scheckter's fear of Formula One

By James Martin, February 18, 2010
Jody Scheckter

Jody Scheckter


Ex-Formula One world champion Jody Scheckter says he reached top despite fearing the high risks of one of the world's most dangerous sports.

The South African born Scheckter said: "The risks, which were high, were never going to stop me trying to make a career in motor sport. However, I didn't miss putting myself in danger when I retired. I lived with the risks but didn't like them."

Scheckter, who moved to London as a 21-year-old, said: "I had achieved everything I wanted to do in the sport when I retired.

"Winning the Monte Carlo Grand Prix was the best feeling at the time, however, the World Championship success with Ferrari in 1979 was the ultimate satisfaction because it meant I'd succeeded over a whole year."

Guest of honour at the inauguration of Motor Sport magazine's Hall of Fame in north London, Scheckter lined up alongside the likes of Sir Jackie Stewart and Sir Stirling Moss.

Scheckter, 60, said: "It's great to have the opportunity to honour those who have helped to make motor sport great. Not just the drivers and riders, but the 'teams behind the teams'."

Speaking about the transition into a successful business career, which has latterly seen him move into organic farming in Hampshire, he said: "I actually didn't watch a race for 10 years because I'd found new things to do. I left the sport at the right time, when I had the time and energy to start a new challenge."

Scheckter described his Jewish upbringing in East London, South Africa as "not religious, but I went to synagogue once a year and had the world's shortest barmitzvah.

"My parents accepted that my brother and I were going to race. We weren't going to be talked out of it. My sister was the one that did something totally different!"

    Last updated: 5:52pm, February 18 2010