Thomas Maldwyn Pryce - taking the dragon sideways to victory

Tom Pryce.jpg (22376 bytes) Thomas Maldwyn Pryce - Taking the dragon sideways to victory.

The WRDA Young Welsh  Driver of the Year Award is dedicated to the drivers who carried the Welsh Dragon into F1.

Tom Pryce or Mal/Maldwyn as he was known by his family,  carried his dragon on the back of his helmet. His early career is peppered with championships but it was how he drove, rather than what he won, that marked him out. Quite a few people saw Tom race. 16/3/1975 is the anniversary of his win in the 1975 Race of Championship Brands Hatch, also taking pole & fastest lap. That was when it was a proper F1 race.

WRDA Secretary Robert Allender recalls "Tom was the only driver I ever saw who could make slick tyres squeal! Eddie Jordan later said the same of Michael Schumacher, so Toms' driving was streets ahead of his time" Tracks at that time had become safer but some, like the Nurburing, the original Osterreichring in Austria, Silverstone, & Brands Hatch, were still major challenge to a driver. Also there were no pits stops for fuel or tyres. So the drivers needed to pace themselves as a grand prix could last up to 2 hours.

Later in 1975 Tom took Pole Position for the British Grand Prix at Silverstone and had 2 laps in the lead in the rain on slick tyres, until he crashed after a heavy rain shower. Just to put that into context 15 other drivers crashed – 12 on one lap – only 4 cars were still running when they red flagged the race.

He then finished 3rd in Austria held on the original   daunting Osterreichring, in another rain hit race after starting 15th ! He was closing on James Hunt, who later admitted he was going to pit on the next lap for fresh tyres, and Vittorio Brambilla, who was leading, when they ended the race at half distance. Brambilla crashed as soon as he passed the Flag! So that was definitely a race he could have won. However in the dry he was 3rd in Brazilian in 1976 behind Niki Lauda and Patrick Depailler, just to prove that wet weather racing wasnt all he could do. Later that same year in the classic Japanese Grand Prix that saw James Hunt crowned as World Champion after Niki Lauda pulled out, Tom was again closing on James just as Hunt was going to pit for fresh tyres, when the engine in Toms Shadow blew up, with the race at his mercy!

Just to give a picture of Toms' impact here are some quotes,

Enzo Ferrari to Nikki Lauda after 1st practice for the 1975 Monaco Grand Prix. "Tom Pryce is in Pole Position! What are you going to do about it?"

Nikki Lauda after taking Pole in final practice "It was difficult. I had to drive harder and take more risks than I wanted to"

Alan Henry –journalist "Tom was certainly quick enough to go all the way in the sport. It would just have been a matter of calming himself down and getting the right equipment"

Gerald Donaldson –journalist "Pryce burst onto the scene with a stunning blend of speed and car control that would later be associated with Aryton Senna and Michael Schumacher"

Tom himself. "All I’m doing is driving a Formula 1 car"

Tom Pryce driving2.jpg (45735 bytes)Principal Results



Daily Express Crusader Formula Ford Championship



Formula F100 Championship



Formula Super Vee Championship



Grovewood Award



Monaco F3 race



F1 Race of Champions Brands Hatch 16/3/1975

Pole Position


British Grand Prix Silverstone

3rd Place


Austrian Grand Prix

3rd Place


Brazilian Grand Prix

Jack Lewis