Formula One Career[edit | edit source]

1933[edit | edit source]

Mathieson had began his motor racing career in 1930 to whom the wealthy amateur racer began entering a 1928 model Bugatti Type 35C. Mathieson had won a few amateur races to which he decided to enter the minor Grand Prix at the 1933 Mannin Moar. For the race, Mathieson qualified sixth of the nine competitors. [1]

It would prove to be a difficult race, Mathieson fell to last place at the start before opting to head to the pits for a change of spark plugs in his car.[1] Before the tenth lap, Mathieson had stopped a further two times for more adjustments and was now two laps behind Brian Lewis's lead.[1]

He had a troublesome fourth pit-stop to which it took him two minutes and fifty seconds to refuel his car.[1] Upon rejoining the track, Mathieson spun at Finch Road in an attempt to catch the rest of the field. Worse was to come when in the final minutes of the race, Mathieson had brake failure heading into Greensills.[1] The Bugatti spun out of control to which the rear end of the car swiped and injured four spectators.[1] Mathieson, barely regaining control of his car then deliberately crashed his car through a shop window to prevent further injury among the spectators.[1] A charge was laid against Mathieson, however he was not convicted.[2]

Mathieson would then return for the 1933 Donnington Park Trophy to which would be notable for the race with the smallest entry showing in the grand prix season.[1] Due to the wet weather, of the eight entries, only three of the cars actually showed up for the race.[1] Mathieson would compete against Earl Howe and Lindsey Eccles, both of whom were driving older models of Bugatti's than he was.[1] At the start of the race, Mathieson immediately fell behind Howe and Eccles who streaked ahead in the race.[1] After four laps, Mathieson's car had begun to misfire whilst four laps later he had pulled his car off the circuit with flames coming out of the exhaust.[1]

His final race of the season saw him retire from the opening lap of the 1933 Mountain Championship due to a fuel leak.[1]

1938-1939[edit | edit source]

Thereafter Mathieson was absent from the grid for the next five years due to illness.[3] Mathieson recovered and made his racing return in 1938 to which he was now entering a new Bugatti Type 57S model.[4] Mathieson had the luxury of entering the newest machinery to which he duly put his car third on the grid at the 1939 Grand Prix des Frontières.[4] Mathieson was behind Robert Mazaud in the newer Delahaye and Arthur Legat in the older Type 51 Bugatti.[4]

In the race, Mathieson moved past Legat, however he was overtaken by Maurice Trintignant's Bugatti Type 51 to whom went on to win the race.[4] Mathieson went on to finish the race in third to which he was a minute eleven slower than Trintignant's time.[4] However he was also over two minutes clear of Jean Trémoulet's Delahaye in fourth.[4]

For 1939, Mathieson was due to return to the Grand Prix des Frontières in a Maserati 8C, however he failed to attend the race.[5]

1946[edit | edit source]

Mathieson entered the 1946 Resistance Cup through the streets of Paris following the conclusion of the Second World War.[6] Mathieson's Maserati 8C was among the oldest machinery that was entered into the race.[6] He would, however retire from the race due to a lack of oil in the car.[7]

One month later he then entered the old Maserati into the 1946 René le Bègue Cup.[8] Mathieson put in a reasonable performance to finish fifth and two laps adrift of race winner Raymond Sommer in the more modern Maserati 4CL.[8] Thereafter, Mathieson put in another reasonable performance at the Roussillon Grand Prix to which he finished the race sixth of the ten entries.[9]

For his final race of the season at the Nantes Grand Prix, Mathieson disposed with the outdated Maserati 8C for the somewhat newer model, the Maserati 6CM.[10] However it did not boost his prospects of success and he retired from the race with engine failure.[11]

Non-Racing Formula One Career[edit | edit source]

Grand Prix SubCommittee[edit | edit source]

Mathieson was appointed to the Grand Prix SubCommittee in 1948 to which was responsible for the RAC in negotiating with the FIA for the new British Grand Prix at Silverstone Circuit.[12] Mathieson was joined in the Grand Prix SubCommittee by Earl Howe and a number of British military personnel.[12] The committee was therefore credited for organising the first British Grand Prix to be accepted onto the Grandes Épreuves calendar since 1927.[12]

Entrant[edit | edit source]

At the beginning of 1949, Mathieson purchased the 'GP2' chassis of the ERA E-Type to which had been owned by Leslie Johnson, the ERA owner.[13] Johnson had been a teammate of Mathieson's at Aston Martin for that year's 24 Hours of Le Mans.[14]

However, it would appear he would regret this decision as without any further ERA developments, Johnson was without a Grand Prix car.[15] Thereafter, he requested to enter his old car now under Mathieson's ownership into future Formula One races.[15]

Mathieson agreed and Johnson entered his old car in the 1949 Richmond Trophy to which Johnson scored a fifth place finish.[15] Mathieson and Johnson were due to be partnered in the 1949 Jersey Road Race, however Johnson withdrew his entry.[15]

With ERA's development further stalled into 1950, Johnson would once again request his old car from Mathieson to enter into the British Grand Prix.[16] The race would bare significance as the inaugural race of the newly founded Formula One World Drivers' Championship.[16] Johnson, however would retire from the race and in doing so became the first retirement from a race in Formula One's history.[16]

Formula One Statistical Overview[edit | edit source]

Formula One Record[edit | edit source]

Year Entrant Team WDC Points WDC Pos. Report

Career Statistics[edit | edit source]

Entries 0
Starts 0
Pole Positions 0
Race Wins 0
Podiums 0
Fastest laps 0
Points 0

Race Wins[edit | edit source]

Win Number Grand Prix

Career Results[edit | edit source]

Complete Formula One results
Year 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 Pts Pos

Symbol Meaning Symbol Meaning
1st Winner Ret Retired
2nd Podium finish DSQ Disqualified
3rd DNQ Did not qualify
5th Points finish DNPQ Did not pre-qualify
14th Non-points finish TD Test driver
NC Non-classified finish (<90% race distance) DNS Did not start
Italics Scored point(s) for Fastest Lap [+] More Symbols

Non-Formula One Career[edit | edit source]

Sportscars[edit | edit source]

Mathieson began his motor racing career at the age of 22 when he entered a race restricted to luxury vehicles at Brooklands in 1930. Mathieson took his first victory at the BARC Easter Bank Holiday Meeting on the 28th March 1932 in a supercharged Officine Meccaniche. Then in 1933 he won three races in his Bugatti Type 35C to which included breaking the lap record for two litre cars on the Isle of Man.

At Brooklands, Mathieson finished a race for the first Lightning Mountain Handicap.[17] Thereafter he had success at the Second Woking Lightning Mountain Handicap when he beat Lindsey Eccles in identical machinery.[18] Eccles would become one of Mathieson's close friends in motorsport to which he noted that they "both started the same way."[19] Both Mathieson and Eccles started racing cars in Bugatti Type 35C's prepared by Hubert Papworth.[19]

Thereafter Mathieson entered a brief Grand Prix career throughout the season following his success.[1] However he was then forced to put his motor racing hobby on hold as illness kept him out of the driving seat for five years.[3] Mathieson however was described as disgusted with his illness and sought to return to racing at the first possible opportunity.[3] During this time he was known to have loaned out his Bugatti as an entrant for Chris Staniland in 1934.[20]

Mathieson's first motoring race upon his return was at the 1939 Grand Prix d'Anvers which took place in the streets of the Belgian city, Antwerp.[3] Mathieson, however was suffering mechanical trouble during the practice and his Bugatti Type 57 was described as being "not really in fit condition to start."[3] It was reportedly the first race to which he was dubbed 'Taso' to which the race officials had became fed up with his extremely long name to whom they described him as "Mr Multiple Initials".[3]

In the race, Mathieson was described as being able to drive with all his "old skill" that he demonstrated in his early sportscar career.[3] However Mathieson had made a critical mistake in the race as he had under fueled his car which meant he retired with an empty tank.[3]

He was then due to enter the 1938 24 Hours of Le Mans in his Bugatti Type 57, however at the last minute switched his entry to join Freddy Clifford in Norbert Mahé's team.[21] The duo of Mathieson and Clifford raced a Talbot-Lago T150C only to retire from the race.[22] Mathieson whom was then due to race the Talbot-Lago in the 24 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps then withdrew his entry.[21]

At the 1938 Tourist Trophy, Mathieson was the one driver in the two litre class to enter a Bugatti, his competitors in the class opting mainly for BMW's and an Aston Martin at the hands of St. John Horsfall.[23] Mathieson drove an undistinguished race in twentieth place, however finished fifth in his class albeit a long way off class winner, Horsfall in the Aston Martin.[23] More meritably, Mathieson was able to fend off the charging BMW of Richard Seaman.[23]

In 1939, Mathieson once again entered the 24 Hours of Le Mans in a Talbot-Lago 150C.[24] Albeit this time he was racing alongside Luigi Chinetti in the Italian's car.[24] The duo made it a reasonable distance into the race, however the car failed to finish when the car was crashed.[24]

In 1946, upon his return to racing following the conclusion of the war, Mathieson was due to enter a Talbot-Lago into the Bruxelles Grand Prix.[25] However although he practiced, he failed to take the start of the race.[25] Likewise in 1947, Mathieson was due to enter the National Gransden in a HRG, however he failed to attend the event.[26] Mathieson worked as one of the directors for the HRG car manufacturer.[27]

In 1949, Mathieson took part in the first 24 Hours of Le Mans race since before the war. He was selected to join the works Aston Martin team in their attempt to take victory at the race.[28] Mathieson was partnered with Pierre Maréchal in the race.[28] The duo had worked their way up to fourth position before Maréchal suffered brake failure and lost control of the car at the White House corner.[28] Maréchal was seriously injured when the Aston Martin was flipped and destroyed in the ensuing accident.[28]

One year later, Mathieson returned to Le Mans for the 1950 edition of the event.[29] This time he entered the race for the works Frazer Nash team alongside Richard Stoop.[29] The duo completed the duration of the event to which they comfortably won in their midfield class and to which they scored a ninth place finish overall.[29] Of his four attempts at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, this was his first ever finish in the race.[29] It was also his last ever outing at the circuit.[30]

In 1951, Mathieson entered the inaugural Portuguese Grand Prix in which he and his Frazer Nash scored a fourth in his class and ninth in the overall standings.[31] Mathieson was the only British driver to finish the event in which the Ferrari's, Talbot-Lago and OSCA's held the advantage.[31]

He then travelled to Italy for the Circuito de Senigallia to which he was the only British driver to enter the race.[32] Mathieson scored a fifth place finish however was outclassed by the Ferrari's led by Luigi Villoresi.[32]

His most significant race of 1951 was entering the Targa Florio for the first time.[33] Mathieson would enter the race in his Frazer Nash alongside French sportscar debutant, Jacques Pollet.[33] The duo made it half way through the event before the engine on the Frazer Nash expired.[33]

In 1952 he returned to compete in the Targa Florio once again, however this time he was piloting the local machinery in a Ferrari 195 S.[34] Although he was the highest finishing Ferrari in the race, he managed only second in his class losing out to a Fiat and finishing the race in the overall position of sixth.[34]

For 1953, Mathieson had purchased a new sportscar, a Maserati A6GCS to which he would complete a small tour of sportscar races in France.[35] His first race entry with the car was into the 12 Hours of Hyères.[35] However he was not classified among the finishers at the conclusion of the race.[35] At the Roubaix Grand Prix, Mathieson finished sixth of the eight finishers in the race in which nearly half the field retired.[35]

At the Circuit de Bressuire, Mathieson had a good result in the Maserati to which he finished third in the race.[36] Although he had a good result, he remained a lap down on the winning car in a Gordini.[36] For his final race of the season at the Caen Grand Prix, Mathieson managed to secure a fourth place finish, however he once again was a lap down on the winner.[37]

After the race, on the parade lap Mathieson was hit by another car to whom was not aware the race was over.[38] Mathieson was hospitalised in the accident and thereafter decided to make his retirement from motor racing.[38] Although there were reports he made a comeback in 1955 at Brands Hatch in a Ferrari.[38]

Author and Motor Racing Historian[edit | edit source]

Throughout late 1956 and early 1957 it was known that Mathieson travelled abroad of Great Britain to which he was at least partially interested in researching international motorsport history. [39] By 1961, Mathieson had permanently moved abroad to which he was now residing in Portugal.[40] In his retirement, Mathieson had become a keen motorsport researcher. [40]

This was clearly evident as in 1962, Mathieson presented a critical review of Sir Anthony Stamer's Pre-War History of Alfa Romeo.[41] Mathieson noted there were errors in which the author failed to mention that it was an Alfa Romeo P2 that took Giuseppe Campari to victory in the 1927 Circuit di Pescara.[41] He also clarrified that Luigi Arcangeli was killed at the practice for the Italian Grand Prix not the Monza Grand Prix.[41]

However in his critique of Alfa Romeo's history, Market Lavington pointed out Mathieson was incorrect in his clarification of the first post-war race of the Alfa Romeo's.[41] Mathieson had noted that Stamer was incorrect in stating that Alfa Romeo's first post-war race was the 1946 Nice Grand Prix.[41] Mathieson alternatively claiming that it was the 1946 Nations Grand Prix which saw Alfa Romeo make their post-war debut.[41]

Lavington, however pointed out that neither of them were correct.[42] Lavington noted that it was in fact the 1946 René le Bègue Cup which saw Alfa Romeo make their debut.[42] Lavington then curiously noted "I am surprised that 'TASO' is not aware of this as he is reported to have entered this event."[42] Mathieson responded by noting "I cannot explain how I came to overlook this event for I took part in it and recall the consternation when both cars were forced to withdraw."[43]

In 1963, Mathieson released his first book, Racing Cars, 1918-1939 to which had been compiled during his time in Portugal.[44] However it was his second book, Grand Prix Racing 1906-1914 released in 1965 which had received notable merit.[45]

The book which was assisted in the making by his wife Sonia saw Mathieson become the first person to create a clear historical piece on the earliest history of Grand Prix racing.[46] Mathieson required to find a photograph of every single Grand Prix in the time period to put into the book.[46] He also was determined to distinguish the media stories of the time and what the true stories were in the event.[46]

In its review it was noted to have been "one of the more exciting pieces of motorsport literature to appear in recent times."[45] Although it was noted that "it is rather an anti-climax to find many spelling errors in the text.".[45] However it was closed in noting that it was a "stupendous and quite enthralling work."[45]

In his later years he was known to have done pit marshalling for sportscar events.[47] In 1969 at the Oulton Park Vintage Sports-Car Club meeting, Mathieson was able to exclaim, "You know the atmosphere here is just like it was in pre-war motor racing."[47]

It is known that by 1972, Mathieson had been made President of the Brooklands Society.[48]

In 1973, Mathieson returned to the racing wheel at age 65 to which he piloted an Alfa Romeo Monza in a hillclimb marking the 35th Anniversary of Prescott.[49] The following year, Mathieson drove a Sunbeam which had raced in the 1924 French Grand Prix in the International Grand Prix Bugatti.[50]

In 1975 as apart of his role with the Brooklands Society, Mathieson staged a reunion for the British pre-war racers at the old circuit.[51] Mathieson drove the circuit in the older Bugatti he had used to race at the beginning of his career. [51] The Brooklands Reunion then became an annual event with Mathieson and his Bugatti Type 57 once again opening the event in 1976.[52] This role of Mathieson opening the event with the Bugatti Type 57 would become the yearly tradition for the event.[53]

In 1976, Mathieson made confirmation of an image over the identity of an unknown car taken by the Motorsport Magazine photographer.[54] Mathieson confirmed the car as being a Miller-Lea-Francis to which was being piloted by Kaye Don to which he himself had further photographic evidence.[54]

In 1977, Mathieson who was now living in Paris was able to confirm that Raymond Sommer did indeed manage to win the 1933 French Grand Prix whilst competing in an Alfa Romeo Monza.[55]

In 1980, a retrospective review of his first book, Grand Prix Racing 1906-1914 considered one of the first and most accurate portrayal of what happened during the races of what was dubbed "The Heroic Era" of Grand Prix racing.[56]

The same year Mathieson was one of the classic Grand Prix drivers' to have their face featured on a philetic style cover. The sales from this were designed to generate funds for the Gunnar Nilsson Cancer Treatment Campaign.[57]

The attendance for the Brooklands Reunion in 1980 was "enormous" to which Mathieson was said to be looking "very fit" to which he had "come over from Paris to entertain the Mayor and Mayoress and any other guests."[58] Similarily, the following year's attendance in 1981 was said to have likely to have exceeded the attendance of the actual pre-war race meetings. [59]

In 1982, Mathieson worked on the mystery over which Mercedes driver bore the number "40" during the 1922 Targio Floro.[60] He also debated with Roderick Taylor about the size of the Loryc engine used in the 1922 Armangue Trophy Race.[61]

In 1983, Mathieson helped search for the supposedly missing "Chassis No. 3004" of Maserati.[62] Mathieson confirmed that Maserati, a complete history: From 1929 to the present contained no such information of this particular car.[62] Mathieson, however noted that Maserati's history was somewhat incomplete and urged the books authors, Lugi Orsini and Franco Zagari to complete the full operational history of Maserati.[62]

1983 saw a rapidly reduced amount of Brooklands era race cars make entry to the car show at the Brooklands Reunion.[63] The Brooklands Society under Mathieson's leadership had, however made improvements to the spectator viewing area and had made improvements to the overall show.[63]

In 1985, Mathieson gave a "VIP", Dudley Gahagan, a ride in the passenger seat of his Bugatti Type 57 at Brooklands for the annual Brooklands Reunion.[64] In 1986, Mathieson was a "Guest of Honour" at the Bugatti Owners' Garden Party at Prescott.[65]

By 1986, Mathieson was declared medically unfit to drive and was now required to commute from his home in Vichy, France by train and aeroplane to attend his yearly committments as the President of the Brooklands Society.[66] At a meeting at Cadwell Park, Mathieson poised for a remake of an iconic photo that was taken of him at the same place before a race in 1932.[66] Mathieson hopped in the old Bugatti Type 51, flipped his cap "back to front" as he had done in 1932 and set off for his lap of honour.[66]

In 1987, Mathieson made suggestion that the original valve gear design on the Delage accounted for their sporadic performance at the 1914 French Grand Prix.[67] Ahead of the Brooklands Reunion in 1989, Mathieson announced he was stepping down as President of the Brooklands Society due to ill health.[68] He was succeeded in the role by Ian Connell[68]

In 1990, Mathieson was one of many motor racing historians confirmed to have assisted in the role of unraveling the story of the Maserati V8 RI cars.[69] In 1991 whilst trying to track the operational history of the Delage cars, Mathieson noted that he recalled the Delage being at Brooklands in 1932.[70]

Death[edit | edit source]

Mathieson died at the age of 83 in his home in Vichy, France on the 12th October 1991.

Legacy[edit | edit source]

It was reflected in his obituary that "Noone loved motor racing more than this enthusiast, who reflected the old school of rich amateurs."[44] In 1994, his book, Grand Prix Racing 1906-1914 was still considered the most accurate account of that period of motor racing. [71]

In 2000 it was noted, "If you were cast away on a desert island and could take only one book with you, besides the great works of Shakespeare and the Bible, what would it be? Personally, as I probably would not read much in the sand, I would go for the late Taso Mathieson's wonderful picture book, 'Grand Prix Racing 1906-1914.'[72]

In 2001, the book was noted in significance in explaining the origin of the word, 'pits' in motorsport.[73]

Notes[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 1.13
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 3.7
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5
  5. Grand Prix des Frontières
  6. 6.0 6.1
  8. 8.0 8.1
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2
  15. 15.0 15.1 15.2 15.3
  16. 16.0 16.1 16.2
  19. 19.0 19.1
  21. 21.0 21.1
  23. 23.0 23.1 23.2
  24. 24.0 24.1 24.2
  25. 25.0 25.1
  28. 28.0 28.1 28.2 28.3
  29. 29.0 29.1 29.2 29.3
  31. 31.0 31.1
  32. 32.0 32.1
  33. 33.0 33.1 33.2
  34. 34.0 34.1
  35. 35.0 35.1 35.2 35.3
  36. 36.0 36.1
  38. 38.0 38.1 38.2
  40. 40.0 40.1
  41. 41.0 41.1 41.2 41.3 41.4 41.5
  42. 42.0 42.1 42.2
  44. 44.0 44.1
  45. 45.0 45.1 45.2 45.3
  46. 46.0 46.1 46.2
  47. 47.0 47.1
  51. 51.0 51.1
  54. 54.0 54.1
  62. 62.0 62.1 62.2
  63. 63.0 63.1
  66. 66.0 66.1 66.2
  68. 68.0 68.1
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