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|Born||1 January 1945 (age 67)|
|Formula One World Championship Career|
( 114 starts)
|First Race||1967 Italian Grand Prix|
|Last Race||1979 United States Grand Prix|
|First Win||1968 French Grand Prix|
|Last Win||1972 German Grand Prix|
Jacques Bernard "Jacky" Ickx (last name pronounced "Ix" or "Icks") (born 1 January 1945 in Brussels) is a Belgian former racing driver who achieved 25 podium finishes in Formula One and six wins in the 24 hours of Le Mans.
Jacky Ickx was introduced to the sport when he was taken by his father, motoring journalist Jacques Ickx, to races which he covered. Despite this family background, Jacky had limited interest in the sport until his father bought him a 50 cc Zundapp motorcycle. Soon afterwards, Ickx won 8 of 13 races at the first season and the European 50 cc trials title. He took another two titles before he moved to racing a Lotus Cortina in touring car racing, taking his national saloon car championship in 1965. He also competed in sports car races where he had already significant experience from taking part in the 1000 km races at the Nürburgring.
1966 - 1967
Ickx entered his first Grand Prix at the Nürburgring in 1967, driving a Matra Formula Two (F2) car. Despite the greater power of the Formula One (F1) cars, only two F1 drivers qualified with a faster time than he did: Denny Hulme and Jim Clark. As Ickx was racing in the separate F2 class, he started the race behind all of the F1 cars, but within four laps of the 28 km circuit he was up to fifth place, having overtaken 12 F1 cars. His front suspension broke and he was forced to retire after 12 laps, but he had made a strong impression on the F1 team managers.
At Monza, he made his F1 debut in a Cooper-Maserati, finishing sixth.
1968In 1968 Ickx drove an F1 car for Ferrari. He retired from his first two races, but at his home race at Spa-Francorchamps he started from the front row and finished 3rd. At the French Grand Prix at Rouen he took his first win, in heavy rain. Ickx also finished third at Brands Hatch and fourth at the Nürburgring after driving almost the entire race in heavy rain without his helmet visor. At Monza he finished the race in third position. In Canada he crashed and broke his left leg, which meant he could not compete for the two following Grand Prix.
In 1969, Ickx chose to drive for the Brabham team. His first results were poor, but after Brabham broke his foot in a testing accident, Ickx's results improved: Alan Henry suggests that Ickx performed better with the whole team focussed on him. Ickx finished third in France, second in Great Britain and won in Canada and in Germany at the Nürburgring, the last Formula One race there before 'The Ring' was made less bumpy and dangerous. In the 1969 Mexican Grand Prix Ickx finished second and became runner-up in the drivers' world championship. He returned to the Ferrari team for the 1970 season, a move he had been considering since the Italian Grand Prix.
1970As in 1969, he had a weak start to the 1970 season. During the 1970 Spanish Grand Prix he had a crash and his car caught fire. It took at least 20 seconds for him to leave the burning car and was hospitalized with severe burns. After 17 days he was back in his car at the Monaco Grand Prix, where he ran fifth before retiring with a driveshaft failure. The car started to improve and at the German Grand Prix (held at Hockenheimring as his favourite Nürburgring was boycotted for safety reasons) he fought with Jochen Rindt for the win, but finished a close second. At the Austrian Grand Prix it was Ickx that took the win. At Monza fate struck and Rindt lost his life during free practice. Ickx was the only driver with a chance to take the championship from Rindt who had already won five of nine races in that season, with four more to go. Monza saw a win by Ferrari team-mate Clay Regazzoni while Ickx's car broke down. The Belgian took the win at Canada but in the US Grand Prix at Watkins Glen he only finished fourth, with Emerson Fittipaldi scoring his first win for Lotus as well as the Championships for the team and his late team-mate. Despite winning the last race in Mexico, Ickx could not beat Rindt's points total. Ickx later stated in a 2010 article in the British magazine Motor Sport, that he was glad he didn't win the 1970 World Championship. He did not want to win against a man who could not defend his chances, referring to the stricken Rindt.
In 1971, Ickx and Ferrari started as favourites, but the championship went to Jackie Stewart with the new Tyrrell. Ferrari traditionally started the season with its full attention on the sports car championship rather than Formula One, a fact that had already caused John Surtees to leave in the middle of the 1966 season. Ickx won at Zandvoort in the rain with Firestone wet tyres, while Stewart had no chance with his Goodyear rubber. After that, he had a lot of retirements, while Stewart took one win after the other, despite Ickx giving him a good challenge on the Nürburgring once again, where both drivers shared victories from 1968 to 1973. That long and very challenging track was the favourite of Ickx, while Stewart had called it the 'Green Hell' as well as being a driving force behind the driver boycott of 1970 that urged the Germans to rework the layout of the track, which had been built in 1927. Stewart said the only thing that had changed since then were the trees growing bigger. As requested, those near the track were cut and replaced with a small run-off areas plus armco. So, the Scot and the Belgian not only fought on the track, but also off the track. Stewart was constantly fighting for more safety in Formula One, while Ickx thought by doing that the challenge was taken out of the sport.
1972 - 1973
In 1972, Ickx stayed at Ferrari and finished second in Spain and Monaco. After that the Ferrari only got noticed for its retirements. Yet, once again it was the Nürburgring where Ickx was eager to show it was his track, giving his great rival Stewart no chance at all. As for Stewart one year later, and other champions such as Juan Manuel Fangio in 1957, it turned out that the last Formula One win for Ickx came at Nürburgring, where superior driving skill could beat superior machinery.
In 1973, the Ferrari 312B3 was no longer competitive, and Ickx only managed one fourth place during the opening Grand Prix of the season. While being successful with their sports cars, which were driven to several wins by Ickx himself, the Formula One programme of the Italians was outclassed, and they even had to skip some races, notably at the Nürburgring. This was not acceptable to Ickx, who left the team halfway through the season. Instead, he raced the German Grand Prix at the Nürburgring in a McLaren, and scored third place behind the Tyrrells of Stewart and François Cevert.
1974 - 1975When Ickx signed with Team Lotus in 1974, a difficult period awaited him. Lotus had problems replacing the successful but aging Lotus 72 (which had its debut in 1970) and during the championship Ickx only managed a third place in Brazil. Ickx could only prove that he was the Rain Master when he won the non-championship Race of Champions at Brands Hatch after having passed Niki Lauda by the outside at Paddock Bend. After the Brazilian Grand Prix it went downwards with the results of the Lotus-Ford. However mid season Ickx, recovered some form, rising through the field in the British Grand Prix to finish a strong third. Even better was his drive in the German Grand Prix. For most of the race Ickx, dueled for fourth place with his teammate Ronnie Peterson who was using a Lotus 76,for once which had been largely modified to Lotus 72 specs, Mike Hailwood in an M23 McLaren and tyro Jochen Mass in a Surtees running on his home circuit on Firestone tyres well suited to the circuit. It was a classic duel on the daunting circuit, which still lacked armco around half the track in 1974. Two laps from the end Hailwood crashed badly ending his F1 career. On the last two laps Ickx was getting close to 3rd place Carlos Reutemann, but on the final place, Ronnie Peterson slipstreamed past Ickx to claim 4th. In Austria, Ickx this time in the Lotus 76, Ickx moved up the field,but went off, attempting to take Depallier for second. In the last races of the year tyre factors with Goodyears unsuitable for the Lotus 72 or 76 made the cars hopeless and nothing changed in 76.
1975 was even more disastrous for Lotus and Ickx left the team halfway through the season, even though he managed a second place in the chaotic Grand Prix of Spain which was overshadowed by accidents. Ickx was still driving strongly generally qualifying about 0.8 seconds slower than Peterson. By way of comparison, Mario Andretti running with just a four lap fuel load could not get within 2 seconds of his team mate Ronnie Peterson on full tanks in practice for the British GP in 1978 Ickx was stood down after the 1975 French GP under the understanding that Chapman might reemply him when a competitive new Lotus was run in.
Walter Wolf RacingEdit
It seemed however if the end of his career was near. After Fittipaldi left McLaren, Ickx was favoured to get the drive, but tobacco company promoter John Hogan preferred Hunt as more promotable in the car, the cigarette company was backing most. In 1976 Ickx signed at the new teams of Walter Wolf Racing which had substantial financial backing from Wolf, the car was awful, but at the Race of Champions, Ickx was challenging Hunt and Alan Jones for the leader, when Ickx's visor ripped off. Usually in the world championship races he failed to qualify, achieving a degree of respectability only with a 7th in Spain and a good drive to 10th out of 19 finishers in the French GP in a car in the estimate of James Hunt and Chris Amon was worse than useless.
1976 - 1978Nevertheless for a large payment from Wolf, Amon agreed to swap drives with Ickx and Ickx raced the rest of the season in the fast and very fragile Lotus styled Ensign N22, which Amon had suffered horrific breakages at Zolder and in the Swedish Gp Ensign. For most of the Dutch GP, Ickx moved thru the field, running the third fastest lap and on most laps was the fastest car in the race. With more power and a decent Cosworth for overtaking Ickx would probably have won easily, but the engine expired ten laps from the end. In the Italian GP, Ickx drove at competitive pace in F1 for the last time, while he finished tenth, the was only 30 seconds behind the winner Ronnie Peterson and on the tail of Carlo Reutemann in a works Ferrai 312 who finished ninth. After a bad crash in the US GP, Ickx never really tried again in F1. Only now and then did he race a Grand Prix.
In 1979 he ended his career as a Grand Prix driver at Ligier, gaining a fifth and sixth, but finding the ground effect cars dangerous and disconcerting, ill suited to his precise style but still continued to win a lot of races in various sports car series, which Ickx had decided to concentrate on exclusively.
Complete Formula One World Championship resultsEdit
(key) (Races in bold indicate pole position; results in italics indicate fastest lap)