Derek Warwick

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Derek Warwick
Derek Warwick 1982
Nation: United KingdomUnited Kingdom United Kingdom
Formula 1 world championship
First start: 1981 Las Vegas Grand Prix
Last start: 1993 Australian Grand Prix
1981–1983  Toleman  1984–1985  Renault  1986  Brabham  1987–1989  Arrows   1990  Lotus  1993  Footwork
World Cup balance: Seventh World Cup ( 1984 )
Starts Victories Poles SR
146 - - 2
World Cup points : 71
Podiums : 4th
Leadership laps : 16 over 77 km
Template: Info box Formula 1 driver / maintenance / old parameters

Derek Warwick (born August 27, 1954 in Alresford , Hampshire ) is a former British Formula 1 racing driver and motorsport commentator.

At the beginning of his motorsport career, Warwick's trade press acted as a sure candidate who, like Nigel Mansell, would make the breakthrough in the highest formula racing class. After all, he achieved four podium places in the premier class of motorsport and won the Le Mans 24-hour race in 1992 .

Beginnings in motorsport

Born to a manufacturer of agricultural trailers in Hampshire, financially supported by parents and the uncle who founded the company, his first steps in racing were promising. As a teenager he had already won several stock car races on natural oval racing courses. Since he was able to repeat these successes in the national Formula Ford , he switched to the British Formula 3 in 1978 . Although he was still only supported by the family, he had competitive material and was able to win the national Formula 3 championship against the later Formula 1 world champion Nelson Piquet .

Formula 1 and sports car races

Formula entry with Toleman

When setting the course for Formula 1, he first tried Formula 2 , where his path crossed for the first time with the racing team of the British transport and forwarding company Ted Toleman.

In 1980 Warwick drove for Toleman in Formula 2. Here he was indirectly involved in Markus Höttinger's death . In the second race of the season at Hockenheim , Warwick suffered an accident on the fourth lap of the race. A wheel of his Toleman TG 280 came off, jumped onto the slope and killed Höttinger when he passed the scene of the accident in the bricklayer a short time later.

Thanks to the ambitious team that with the innovation-friendly engine engineer Brian Hart worked, he managed 1,981 with teammate Brian Henton at the Grand Prix of San Marino at Imola entry into the premier class. However , the TG181 developed by Rory Byrne was difficult to master and the inline four-cylinder had around 60 hp less than the other turbo engines. When the full power finally set in, it was almost impossible to control and the engine was basically too prone to failure. During the pre-qualification times, the team, the engineers and, above all, the pilots paid a lot of money thanks to the lack of experience. In view of the large field of drivers with 36 registered participants and the defects, Warwick only managed to qualify for the Grand Prix at the last race of the season in Las Vegas . There, however, he had to retire after 43 laps due to a gearbox defect. As an irony of fate, Piquet won the Drivers' Championship that year with a Brabham - Ford-Cosworth with a conventional naturally aspirated engine.

In the Formula 1 World Championship in 1982 and 1983 , Warwick remained loyal to the team. The Toleman TG183B was now a bit improved, although the bulky design only made its sometimes brutal engine power more striking. Except for remarkable successes with very fast laps and good starting positions, nothing could be achieved for him with the Toleman. Nevertheless, his unshakable optimism, commitment and constant humor confirmed his supporters. With nine points and 14th place in the overall standings, he also had his team-mate Bruno Giacomelli under control.

Change to Renault

Warwick in the Renault RE50 at the 1984 Dallas Grand Prix

When he for Formula 1 World Championship in 1984 at that Equipe Renault Elf changed in order after all, Alain Prost to replace and Patrick Tambay reinforce many racing journalists saw this as a career boost and victory warranty. But the Renault RE50 was also a capricious monoposto that compensated for the weaknesses of its chassis and technology with the enormous engine power, but not with stability.

In retrospect, however, this season should be one of Warwick's best, as he finished third on the podium for the first time at the South African Grand Prix in Kyalami . In Zolder he even came close to winning with second place. But five technical failures in the next races after encouraging places on the grid brought him back to reality. At his home grand prix at Brands Hatch he again achieved second place and at the Hockenheimring he also booked a third place, but four more cancellations and a placement in midfield were not what he expected of himself. With 23 points, however, he found himself in 7th place in the overall classification. But it was significant that Renault (34 points) had dropped to fifth place in the constructors' championship, of all places, and thus even fell behind its customer team Lotus , which had achieved third place with 47 points.

The next season at Renault was even more sobering. Warwick could only collect a meager five points, the team slipped with him, Patrick Tambay and later Philippe Streiff finally into midfield. Renault finally stopped racing at the end of the year.


At Warwick's will to win, nothing had further changed, but now appeared in his already gray strands of hair at the temples and so he moved to Brabham where he was after the fatal training accident of regular driver Elio de Angelis in Le Castellet at the side of Riccardo Patrese for the Formula 1 World Championship 1986 thanks to BMW - Turbo hoped for more. But the rules, which had been redefined as a savings formula, rewarded the most economical engine and so only his team-mate could collect a meager two points. Apart from that, the last Brabham BT55 built by Gordon Murray , the "Flounder", was a real flop.

In 1986 Warwick was supposed to drive alongside Ayrton Senna in a Lotus-Renault . But the Brazilian shooting star spoke out vehemently against a second top driver because he saw the resources of his racing team overwhelmed and his title ambitions diminished. Instead, the second Lotus cockpit with Johnny Dumfries went to a wealthy paydriver .

Arrows, Lotus and the 1st resignation

His move to Arrows for the 1987 season caused a brief interim high. This car was actually powered by a BMW engine, but thanks to a US sponsor, this unit was called Megatron . Three points and 16th place in the drivers' championship showed at least an upward trend. The 1988 Formula 1 World Championship was also the highlight for Arrows, as the chassis by Alan Jenkins was one of his best designs. 17 points and the 7th place in the final ranking with the tied Ivan Capelli were remarkable considering the financial possibilities of the team. Warwick was also able to outshine his team-mate Eddie Cheever , who had only scored six World Championship points but was able to book the team's only podium finish this season with a third place at the Italian Grand Prix . Warwick remained connected to the team in the following season , always showing the highest level of commitment, but without being able to record top successes with the middle-class team. Warwick hit the finish line in the points at five races, contributing seven of the team's 13 points, but again it was Cheever who finished on the podium at the home race in Phoenix .

His move to Lotus- Lamborghini was also unsuccessful. The former top team neither had a modern chassis nor was the engine within the weight limit. The serious accident of his teammate Martin Donnelly also showed the instability of the monocoque , which was torn apart and left the driver strapped to the seat outside. Previously, Warwick had also had a spectacular accident when his car went off the track on the Parabolica corner on the first lap of the race at Monza , hit the boundary, rolled over and remained upside down. However, he was able to free himself from the wreckage and start again unharmed in the replacement vehicle. Warwick also scored the team's only three points, at least leaving his old team behind, whose driver Alex Caffi only finished fifth in Monaco .

The now 36-year-old then announced his retirement from Formula 1 for the first time in order to concentrate on the sports car world championship for 1991 with Jaguar . That same year his brother Paul died in a racing accident.

Sports car world champion

In 1992 he moved to from Jean Todt master-run Peugeot team, where he was the leading rider with Yannick Dalmas and Mark Blundell , the 24-hour race at Le Mans won. He and Dalmas also won the sports car world championship that year.

Comeback and gradual departure from active racing

For the Formula 1 World Championship in 1993 he celebrated an unexpected comeback with his old racing team Arrows, which now operated under the name of the main sponsor, the rim manufacturer Footwork . After all, a Mugen Honda worked in the rear of the car and the chassis design by designer Alan Jenkins was rock solid. But as a backbencher you hardly had a chance against the top teams. Warwick had some hair-raising looking accidents during the season, but all of them survived unharmed. When the race doctor found a pebble in his ear after a rollover through no fault of his own, Warwick joked in his well-known manner that it was probably left over from his accident two races earlier. With a fourth place at the Hungaroring , he let his class flash once again and said goodbye to Formula 1 with four points and 15th place in the table.

He then drove for a few years in the British Touring Car Championship , where he won an eventful rainy race in Knockhill in 1998 and co-founded the 888 team that Vauxhall Astras used.

In 2005, like some other old masters of racing ( Nigel Mansell , Riccardo Patrese , Hans-Joachim Stuck , Christian Danner and others) he could not help but also took part in the so-called Grand Prix Masters series.


Even after retiring from active motorsport, he remained connected to it as a commentator and journalist. The declared family man lives with his wife Rhonda and daughters Marie and Kerry on the Channel Island of Jersey .

Still valued by his fellow drivers for his race coverage as objective as possible, he is considered one of the most outstanding Formula 1 protagonists, especially in the English-speaking world, who was never able to achieve a victory despite his existing driving potential. In 147 GP starts, he scored 71 points, four podium finishes (two second and third places), two fastest race laps and 16 laps in the lead in two races.


Le Mans results

year team vehicle Teammate Teammate placement Failure reason
1983 GermanyGermany Porsche Kremer Racing Kremer CK5 FranceFrance Patrick Gaillard GermanyGermany Frank Jelinski failure Cylinder overheated
1986 United KingdomUnited Kingdom Silk Cut Jaguar Jaguar XJR-6 United StatesUnited States Eddie Cheever FranceFrance Jean-Louis Schlesser failure suspension
1991 United KingdomUnited Kingdom Silk Cut Jaguar Jaguar XJR-12 United KingdomUnited Kingdom Andy Wallace DenmarkDenmark John Nielsen Rank 4
1992 FranceFrance Peugeot Total Sport Peugeot 905 Evo 1B FranceFrance Yannick Dalmas United KingdomUnited Kingdom Mark Blundell Overall victory
1996 FranceFrance Courage Compétition Courage C36 NetherlandsNetherlands Jan Lammers United StatesUnited States Mario Andretti Rank 13

Web links

Commons : Derek Warwick  - collection of images, videos and audio files