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How Alan Jones climbed to the top of Formula One

Few names in international motorsport are treated with the same reverence as Alan Jones. When he speaks, they listen.

He is one of only two Australians to win the Formula One World Drivers' Championship, and the first driver to do it for the now famous Williams team. His efforts brought Formula One to Australian TV screens, and today he is the voice of Formula One on Network Ten and a board member of the Australian Grand Prix. He is also a Formula One Steward at a couple of Grands Prix a season.

AJ is the son of Stan Jones, the winner of the 1959 Australian Grand Prix, and from an early age he wanted to follow in his father’s footsteps and race cars. He started with billycarts in Balwyn and climbed to the top of the motorsport tree in Formula One. His career was potted with highs and lows, the latter coming mainly from a lack of financial support compared with his rivals.

But when he hit the big time with Williams, he turned that into the 1980 World Championship and all the fame and fortune that brought with it. But he stopped enjoying himself, the cars were painful to drive and he didn’t feel he could give it his all, so he quite at the height of his powers.

He did return to F1, but he wasn’t the same driver and it wasn’t the same team and it didn’t last. He finished his racing career in touring cars in Australia.

His no-nonsense style brought him both admirers and detractors, but he always spoke as he saw it. He still does that today. There are many stories to tell from his racing career, his personal life and business. Some stories that only time allows them to be told.

Formats & editions

  • Trade Paperback


    July 31, 2017

    Ebury Australia

    400 pages

    RRP $34.99

    Online retailers

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    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.org.au

  • EBook


    July 31, 2017

    Random House Australia

    400 pages

    Online retailers

    • iBooks
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    • Google Play
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I didn’t go racing for anyone other than myself and, to a lesser degree, my team. I didn’t crave fame – in fact, I worked hard to avoid it, although I did enjoy some of its trappings. In my early years, I made it clear to anyone who employed me that I was there to race and to race hard enough to win. If you couldn’t help in that quest, I was going elsewhere.

I believe I acted throughout my career with honour and stuck to the values I have held since my early years. I have never wanted anything more or anything less than has been agreed. If we do a deal, I expect you to honour your part of the agreement, just as I will mine. My old man also taught me manners come cheap. They cost nothing. Everyone deserves respect: a waiter, a bellboy, a cleaner – say thank you and don’t take those people for granted. I’ve tried to stick by that all my life: not to be arrogant and to treat all people the same way. In many ways, despite my dad’s flaws, I did learn from him . . . in some ways I am more like him than I ever wanted to admit.

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