Jody David Scheckter (born 29 January 1950) is a South African former motor racing driver. He competed in Formula One from 1972 to 1980, winning the Drivers' Championship in 1979 with Ferrari. He rapidly ascended to the ranks of Formula One after moving to Britain in 1970. His Formula 1 debut occurred at the US Grand Prix at Watkins Glen in 1972 with McLaren, where he ran as high as third place before spinning and finishing ninth. In France, he almost won in only his third start in F1 before crashing into Emerson Fittipaldi, the reigning World Champion, who said after the crash about Scheckter: "This madman is a menace to himself and everybody else and does not belong in Formula 1." In his next start, the British Grand Prix at Silverstone, Scheckter's spin triggered a major accident which took nearly a dozen cars out of the race. The Grand Prix Drivers Association demanded his immediate banishment, which was only put off when McLaren agreed to rest their driver for four races.
Tyrrell in 1974 gave him his first full-time drive in F1. Jody rewarded them with a third-place finish in the Drivers' Championship and a pair of wins in Sweden and Britain. During the year, he scored points in eight consecutive races, one of the longer scoring streaks of the time. A slight off-year followed, although he did become the only South African to win the South African Grand Prix, but his third year with the team in 1976 gave him another third-place finish in the Drivers' Championship. In that season, Tyrrell introduced the most radical car in F1 history, the innovative six-wheeled Tyrrell P34. Although he later went on record as saying the car was "a piece of junk", Scheckter gave the six-wheeler its only win on Sweden's Anderstorp circuit.
Scheckter left for Walter Wolf's new team in 1977 and Scheckter gave the team a win in its maiden race. He won twice more with the team and was often on the podium, but finished second on points behind a more dominant Niki Lauda. A seventh-place finish with the team in 1978 followed and he left the team after the season to join Ferrari to partner Gilles Villeneuve in the team's ground effect 312T4 car.
Critics felt he would not get along well with the domineering management at Ferrari, but he far surpassed expectations and helped give F1's most recognisable team another Constructors' Championship, while Scheckter's consistent finishes, with three wins among them, gave him the Drivers' Championship in 1979. However, he struggled badly in his 1980 title defence, even failing to qualify for one race. After managing only two points, Scheckter announced his retirement from the team and the sport.
Activity: 1972 - 1980 Grand Prix: 113 Drivers Championships: 1 (1979) Victories: 10 Podiums: 33 Pole Positions: 3 Fastest Laps: 5 Career Points: 255