Theodore was one of two new teams debuting in 1981, but team owner Theodore “Teddy” Yip had been around Formula One for some time. Born in 1907 in modern Indonesia, then part of the Dutch colonial empire, Yip had built himself a successful business empire including shipping, restaurants and car dealerships, and had been instrumental in the development of Macau as a tourist resort and the institution of the regular hydrofoil service between there and Hong Kong. Yip was passionate about motor sport and used some of his wealth to act as a benefactor to teams and drivers – first with Brian Redman’s Formula 5000 team, then Australian driver Vern Schuppan who he backed first in the US and then into Formula One with Ensign. Yip later backed Alan Jones and Patrick Tambay into Formula One as well, and became more involved in the Ensign team, commissioning Ron Tauranac to design a new car, which was sadly not a success, even with talented drivers such as Eddie Cheever and debutant Keke Rosberg. Yip continued to have fingers in many racing pies, including the Shadow team, a Wolf project in British domestic Formula One (which saw Divina Galica become the first female F1 winner) but decided in 1980 to concentrate solely on one project, and bought the ailing Shadow team. Renamed “Theodore Racing” with Tony Southgate designing a new TY01 chassis and Patrick Tambay being given a full-time drive for the team’s Long Beach debut, the team was registered under a Hong Kong licence, reflecting its true international character.
33. Patrick Tambay
Debonair, cosmopolitan Tambay was educated in both France and the USA, and his initial career was in Carl Haas’s Formula 5000 team, where he caught they eye of Teddy Yip, who began to bankroll his rise into the more senior formulae and in 1977 Tambay won the CanAm championship with Carl Haas and was offered a Formula One drive, first a one-off race in the pay-driver merry-go-round that was the Surtees team in 1977, then for half a season with Yip’s Ensign team. In 1978, Tambay joined McLaren but the once-great marque was going through a rough patch and he managed only 8 points in 1978 and none at all and 1979. Returning to Haas and CanAm for 1980, he won his second CanAm title before being offered the sole drive in Yip’s new Theodore team for 1981.