• Tony Gaze 1920-2013

Australia's first F1 driver dies aged 93

ESPN Staff
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Tony Gaze, Mark Webber and Jack Brabham pose for photos at the 2011 Australian Grand Prix © Getty Images

Tony Gaze, the first Australian to drive in the Formula One World Championship and one of the oldest surviving drivers, has died at the age of 93.

Gaze, who served with the RAF in World War Two and was awarded the DFC, was instrumental in the opening of Goodwood as a racetrack. In the course of a conversation with the Duke of Richmond he mentioned the perimeter roads of the Westhampnett aerodrome, which was built on land belonging to the Duke, would make a very good racing circuit. The Duke ran a car round the road, concluded Gaze was right and Goodwood opened in 1948.

After the war Gaze returned to Australia and started hillclimb racing, returning to England in 1949 after he married. In 1951 he bought a Alta Formula 2 car and started racing, switching to an HWM-Alta in 1952.

That year he competed in a number of non-championship events as well as four championship grands prix but he only managed one finish, on his debut at Spa.

He continued to race in various formats - surviving a major crash in 1953 when he was thrown clear of his Aston Martin as it caught fire - and in 1955 set up his own team, the Kangaroo Stable, to help up-and-coming Australians. But the venture was short-lived and closed within a year.

As his racing commitments died down he turned his attention to gliding, representing Australia in the world gliding championships. In later years he returned to Australia.

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