- November 02, 1946
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Alan Stanley Jones is a former Australian racer. He was the first driver who won a Formula One World Championship with the Williams team. He became the 1980 World Drivers' Champion and he was also the second Australian to win the Formula 1 championship after Sir Jack Brabham, who got the top honors not once, but thrice.
Long way to Formula 1
Alan Jones was born on November 2, 1946, in Melbourne to Stan Jones, a well-known driver who had won the Australian Grand Prix 1959. Needless to say, racing was an integral part of Jones’ growing up.
After graduating from Xavier college, Alan Jones tried to make a career out of racing in Europe, but after three unsuccessful years and a broken leg (at Brands Hatch during a test session), he returned home.
Video - Alan Jones talking about his career
Jones got a chance to be a part of the March F1 team. Unfortunately, even after he had a strong performance at Silverstone, Alan was not given a contract; he spent the next two years with GRD in Formula 3 where he missed the title in the final race of the 1973 season.It seemed like the Formula Atlantic and the Formula 5000 could have been his next destinations, but unfortunately, both competitions could not fulfill Jones’ ambitions and potential.
Alan Jones had a late Formula 1 debut
In 1975, Jones got an opportunity to be a part of the Formula 1 as a member of the Harry Stiller Racing team, driving a Hesketh-Ford car. But Jones soon switched to the Embassy Racing team owned by a former champion Graham Hill and finished fifth at the German Grand Prix. The next year was even better for the already well-experienced Jones. He scored seven points finishing fourth in the Japanese Grand Prix and also had two fifth positions at the Silverstone and Spa.
In 1977, as a member of Shadow team, Jones proved that he is not just one of the fringe drivers of Formula 1. He clinched his first victory at the Austrian Grand Prix, finished third in the Italian Grand Prix and at the end of the season managed a seventh overall rank. Frank Williams spotted Jones’ ability and brought him to the team in 1978. Despite finishing second in the US Grand Prix, Jones’ first season with Williams was disappointing as he finished in 11th place overall.
Title in sight
Luckily for Jones, the 1979 season showcased his talent and skills. Jones scored four wins and finished third overall. The next year, he became a champion scoring five wins and adding five podium finishes for a total of 67 points, which was 13 more than Nelson Piquet . He had a very strong chance to repeat his success in 1981, but his combative relationship with Carlos Reutemann led to an intense rivalry that cost both drivers a chance to win the championship. Jones finished third in the championship.
After that season, Jones announced his retirement, but he returned in 1983 with the Arrows team for the US Grand Prix. In 1985, he had three starts with the Haas F1 team, and the next year was his final in Formula 1, but it was far from a good result as he scored only four points.
Post F1 career
Apart from the Formula 1, Jones has competed in many other series with varying success. For example, he was sixth in the 24 Hours of Le Mans driving a Porsche, had an unsuccessful outing in the CART series and managed to be the runner-up in the Australian Touring Car Championship in 1993.
Alan Jones OBE
Jones will definitely be remembered as a Formula 1 driver, with a score of one title, 12 wins and 24 podiums in 116 races. For his accomplishments in motor racing, Alan Jones was honoured as a member of the Order of the British Empire in 1980. After retiring from Formula 1, he also worked and still works as a TV commentator.