|Derek Warwick- President, The British Racing Drivers’ Club|
|Profile of the week|
Tuesday, 03 July 2012 08:50
Derek was elected President of the British Racing Drivers’ Club (BRDC) in 2011, succeeding the 1996 World Champion, Damon Hill OBE. During his career Derek contested 147 Grand Prix races and won the World Sportscar Championship and Le Mans 24 Hour Race in 1992 with Peugeot.
Derek began his Formula 1 (F1) career in 1981 with Toleman, before moving on to spells with Renault, Brabham, Arrows, Lotus and Footwork.
After his 12 year career in F1, Derek raced in the British Touring Car Championship in 1995 and 1998 with Alfa Romeo and Vauxhall, winning one race.
Currently, Derek has a property company in the UK that renovates and builds new homes. He has just finished two homes in the Channel Island that are worth £10m each.
Derek has been married to his wife Rhonda for 34 years and the couple have two daughters together, Marie (34) and Kerry (30).
What roles do you undertake as President of the BRDC?
I represent the BRDC and its members. I sit on the committee, I sit on the main board, not as a director, but I sit there, making sure I understand what’s going on, the decisions that are being made and make sure that our members are being looked after, which they are anyway. But my role, I believe, is to look after the interests of the members.
How does the club work?
It works very simply really. We have a main board of directors which are made up by drivers and associates. It’s a seven man board with a chairman which is Stuart Rolt and they look at the business, the members and the Silverstone Holdings Limited (SHL) board which is the Silverstone group which is made up of Richard Phillips and Neil England. They have their own board which looks and runs Silverstone as a circuit and anything they need to change, or want to change would then come down to the main board which we sit on. We have controlling interests and powers.
You were a F1 racer for over 10 years. How has your experience in the sport helped you in your President role at the BRDC?
I think what it does is gives me the credibility because I’ve achieved a high level within our industry. Remember our industry is motor racing. We are 800 members of which 500 are racing drivers, and there are very few British racing drivers that have reached F1. I think being in F1, winning the World Sportscar and winning Le Mans, gives me enough credibility that our members respect what I’ve done, how I’ve done it and therefore it helps me to get things done and to make sure that I can make things happen the best I can.
So you think having that inside knowledge of the sport, to the highest level that you do, makes you more credible to other people?
To be honest the one thing that nearly stopped me being President was the fact that I am very aware of my capabilities as a businessman. I fully understand what’s going on, I understand the accounts, I understand the balance sheet, I understand everything that’s going on. I am also very aware that there are higher profile members that are more recognisable. When you are following in the shoes of Sir Jackie Stewart and Damon Hill, who have not only won Grand Prix’s but won World Championships in F1, their profile is much higher than mine, and I do respect and understand that. It was something that nearly made me decide not to take the role. But my board very much wanted me to take it because I understand what the members want, I understand how the business is run and I care. I really, really care about the BRDC. It’s not until you stop motor racing that you then have the time to understand this great club and understand the history that comes with this great club and I think that's the main reason I was asked to become President.
The BRDC was looking for investors earlier in the year. What success have you had in securing new investment?
We’re still looking for investors. We still have that same investor so we’re still talking to them. We have a couple of others that we are also talking to. We are in negotiations and it’s on going. It’s not an easy sale because obviously, as you can imagine it’s a very complex business, it’s a very big business, we employ a lot of people and to try and get the whole deal over the line is proving to be quite difficult. But yes, we are very positive at the moment, we’ve got a lot of very positive investors that want to come on board and it’s really down now to the final negotiations.