At the end of the 80’s Tyrrell was not the top team as it once was, though still the team managed to score points and podiums. At the end of 1989, it seemed that 1990 would be the birth of the new Tyrrell team with lots of opportunities, chances and more over a title sponsor, in Rothmans, willing to invest in the team and the Formula One. Sadly, it was a false start!
I’m not sure if people are aware of the fact that Tyrrell racing was on a verge to become a top team again. In 1989 the first signs were given with the Tyrrell 018. The car scored some good results, with a podium in Monaco with Alboreto behind the wheel. For 1990 Harvey Postlethwaite and Jean-Claude Migeot designed the Tyrrell 019. The 019 marked a significant point in the evolution of Formula One design. Tyrrell appeared as first team with the high nose concept.
The car would made its debut during the second race of the season. What many don’t know is that Tyrrell Racing made a false start even before the season started. There was a reason why the livery of the 019 was a Blue-on-white colour scheme. This scheme was adapted because Rothmans was to become Tyrrell Racing’s title sponsor for the seasons to come.
It seems that Mclaren CEO at the time, Ron Dennis, was involved with securing sponsorship for the team in 1990 and 1991, as both teams where powered by Honda. The marketing department of Mclaren was given to task to find sponsors as well for the Tyrrell Racing team. With results that Tyrrell was in negotiation with Rothmans to become their title sponsor, as I assume for the years to come.
In early 1990, the team showed off one of the Tyrrell 018’s with the Rothmans livery in front of their workshop in Ockham. The rothmans logo was prominent on the side pods as well on the engine cover. Assumable is that Rothmans was also on the front and rear wings. As well, the car was fitted with the Goodyear tyres, though at the start of the season the car was fitted with the less Pirelli tyres.
If you look at the transport trucks of the Tyrrell team in 1990, you can see that the trucks were ready to be fitted with the Rothmans logo’s on the sides. Rothmans however would never appear on the Tyrrell. Rothmans, as sponsor, would arrive in the Formula One in 1994 with the Williams F1 Team.
It has been said that Ron Dennis himself went to Ockham and personally applied the silver tape, which marked the border between the blue and white paint.
1990 was one of the last season’s the Tyrrell team was competitive in Formula One, with Jean Alesi scoring twice a second place in the season. During the 1997 season it became known that Tyrrell sold his team, and Tyrrell would race their last races in 1998. Even though Tyrrell appeared in September 1997 with their vision for the millennium.