Derek Warwick

Full Name:
Derek Stanley Arthur Warwick
Born:
27th August 1954 (Age 64)
Alresford, Hampshire
Nationality:
British
Most recent race (in database):
Biography

That Derek Warwick would not win a Grand Prix seemed inconceivable during the early races of 1984. Only broken suspension had denied victory in Brazil on his debut for Renault and he finished the next three races in the top four. However, that breakthrough just would not come. Success in sports cars is the most tangible reminder of his talent.

Early racing career

World champion in stock cars while a teenager, he switched to Formula Ford 1600 in 1975. He drove a works Hawke DL15 during 1976 and finished as runner-up in three British FF1600 Championships while winning the European title.

His potential really became apparent during the 1978 British Formula 3 season as Warwick went toe-to-toe with Nelson Piquet. The highly rated Brazilian beat him to the BP title but the Englishman’s Warwick Trailers Ralt RT1-Toyota triumphed in the Vandervell series.

The 1979 Formula 2 season with a Theodore Racing March 792-Hart was difficult with fifth at Mugello his only score. However, Warwick signed for Toleman and enjoyed a great 1980 European F2 Championship campaign. His Toleman TG280-Hart won at Silverstone and Warwick finished as runner-up behind team-mate Brian Henton in a dominant year for the BP-backed team.

Formula 1 with Toleman

Toleman retained both Englishmen for its graduation to the 1981 F1 World Championship. With a new Hart turbocharged engine and ill-handling TG181 chassis to develop, the small team struggled all year. Warwick only qualified for his debut at the last race of the season in Las Vegas but remained with the team for the following two seasons. He ran second in the 1982 British GP and developed into a regular points scorer by the end of 1983.

F1 frustration with Renault

Those battling performances earned Warwick a drive with Renault for 1984 and he was within 10 laps of victory in the Brazilian GP before retiring. On the podium in the next two races, victory continued to elude Warwick with that year’s second place finishes in Belgium and Britain the best results of his Formula 1 career.

He remained loyal to Renault in 1985 rather accept an offer from Williams and it proved to be a major mistake. The French team struggled and eventfully withdrew at the end of the season. In contrast, the man who did join Williams (Nigel Mansell) scored the first two wins of his career.

Sports car success with Jaguar and F1 return

Left without a drive for 1986, a move to Lotus was blocked by Ayrton Senna who wanted a less experienced team-mate. So Warwick raced for the Silk Cut Jaguar sports car team instead. He won the Silverstone 1000Kms with Eddie Cheever and was only beaten to the world championship by a single point.

Warwick returned to F1 in tragic circumstances when replacing the late Elio de Angelis in the Brabham BT55-BMW from that year’s Canadian GP. He did not score a point with the uncompetitive low-line car and moved to USF&G Arrows for 1987. A series of points finishes during his second season with the team saw Warwick finish seventh in the world championship – matching his 1984 performance.

The 1988 season was the final year of turbocharged engines in F1 and Arrows were Ford-powered in 1989. He finished fifth in the opening two GPs of the year but those were his best results of the season. Warwick suffered a disappointing 1990 leading the Lotus-Lamborghini team, during which he was lucky to emerge unscathed from a huge accident on the opening lap at Monza.

World Sportscar Champion

Frustrated, he returned to sports cars once more to drive Jaguar’s state-of-the-art XJR-14 in 1991. He won three times and finished as runner-up behind team-mate Teo Fabi in the standings. However, it was a devastating year for the close-knit Warwick family with younger brother Paul killed at Oulton Park.

Despite that tragedy, Warwick continued to race in the final season of the World Sportscar Championship and 1992 proved to be a career high. He shared a works Peugeot 905B with Yannick Dalmas and they won both the Le Mans 24 Hours (with Mark Blundell also driving) and world title.

Final F1 season and subsequent career

Warwick returned to GP racing in 1993 with the rebadged Arrows team, driving a Footwork-Mugen for his final F1 season. Unsighted by spray during the wet morning warm-up before the German GP, he crashed into the back of Luca Badoer’s Lola-Ferrari at 160mph and was helpless as he rolled into the gravel trap. With bruising to neck and hands, he still started the race in the spare car. However, fourth place in Hungary was the last result of note from his 146 GP starts.

With his F1 career over, Warwick was a star attraction in the British Touring Car Championship in 1995 with Alfa Romeo and 1997 and 1998 as driver and team owner of Triple Eight Engineering that ran the works Vauxhalls. He retired from professional motor racing at the end of that latter season although he briefly returned in the short-lived GP Masters series for ex-F1 drivers.

Warwick settled in Jersey in 1985 and opened the first of his car dealerships there four years later. He was elected as President of the British Racing Drivers’ Club in August 2011.

Championship seasons

Season Name Starts Poles Podiums Wins Position Points
2006 Grand Prix Masters
Grand Prix Masters
2 0 0 0
0% win rate
0
2005 Grand Prix Masters
Grand Prix Masters
1 0 0 0
0% win rate
0
1993 F1 World Championship
Footwork Mugen Honda
16 0 0 0
0% win rate
15th 4
1992 World Sportscar Championship
Peugeot Talbot Sport
6 3 5 3 1st 98
1991 World Sportscar Championship
Silk Cut Jaguar
8 2 4 3 2nd 79
1990 F1 World Championship
Camel Team Lotus
16 0 0 0
0% win rate
14th 3
1989 F1 World Championship
Arrows Grand Prix International
15 0 0 0
0% win rate
10th 7
1988 F1 World Championship
USF&G Arrows Megatron
16 0 0 0
0% win rate
7th 17
1987 F1 World Championship
USF&G Arrows Megatron
16 0 0 0
0% win rate
16th 3
1986 F1 World Championship
Motor Racing Developments
10 (1) 0 0 0
0% win rate
0
1986 World Sports-Prototype Championship
Silk Cut Jaguar
9 0 5 1 3rd 81
1985 F1 World Championship
Equipe Renault Elf
15 0 0 0
0% win rate
13th 5
1984 F1 World Championship
Equipe Renault Elf
16 0 4 0
0% win rate
7th 23
1983 F1 World Championship
Candy Toleman Motorsport
15 0 0 0
0% win rate
14th 9
1983 World Endurance Championship
Porsche Kremer Racing
2 0 0 0 0
1982 F1 World Championship
Toleman Group Motorsport
10 (4) 0 0 0
0% win rate
0
1981 F1 World Championship
Candy Toleman Motorsport
1 (11) 0 0 0
0% win rate
0
1980 European F2 Championship
Toleman Group Motorsport
11 4 7 1
10% win rate
2nd 42
1979 European F2 Championship
Team BP with Theodore Racing
11 (1) 0 0 0
0% win rate
20th 2
1979 Aurora AFX British F1 Championship
Theodore Racing Hong Kong
Team BP with Theodore Racing
3 0 1 0
0% win rate
11th 6
1978 European F3 Championship
Warwick Trailers
3 1 2 1
34% win rate
6th 13
1978 Vandervell British F3 Championship 1st -
1977 European F3 Championship
Warwick Trailers
2 0 0 0
0% win rate
28th 1