Derek Warwick has been named as the new president of the British Racing Drivers Club following its Annual General Meeting.
Warwick will take over from Damon Hill, who announced he was to stand down from the position earlier this year having played a key role in helping Silverstone secure the future of the British Grand Prix.
Speaking shortly after being confirmed in the role, Warwick said his focus was to continue the work carried out by Hill in recent years in helping to breathe new life into Silverstone, while also retaining a heavy involvement in the various BRDC initiatives aimed at younger drivers.
“First and foremost I would like to thank Damon for the loyalty and commitment he has shown to the BRDC during his time as President,” he said. “He steered us through some difficult, but ultimately successful times and my aim is to continue where Damon left off.
“The BRDC and Silverstone face an exciting future. We now have a 21st century race circuit with 21st century facilities; over the next 5-10 years we have the opportunity to continue developing Silverstone into the best motor sport venue in the world.
“The immediate focus is on securing third party investment in Silverstone, to realise the full potential of the 760 acre Estate. While the President is a non-voting member of the BRDC Board, I will continue to work closely with the Board as we seek and consider opportunities with suitable third parties.
“I am also passionate about supporting our young British drivers. It is important to me that the Club is a place that young drivers want to come to. Us older members are the heart and soul of the BRDC, but the younger drivers are our future. That's why I'll remain very much involved with programmes such as the BRDC SuperStars, BRDC Rising Stars and McLaren Autosport BRDC Young Driver of the Year, of which I am Chairman.
“The success of the British motor sport industry, including the British Grand Prix, is intrinsically linked to the success of British drivers, competing at the pinnacle of their sport. These are tough economic times for everyone, especially our young drivers, and the motor sport industry needs to pull together to support up-and-coming talent.
“We should not take it for granted that we'll always have British drivers competing at the highest level. The BRDC is a key stakeholder in British motor sport and as President of the Club I have a responsibility to make sure we are doing our bit, along with other stakeholders, such as the F1 teams, the MSA, MIA and RAC, to support and develop young British talent.”
Hill meanwhile was quick to welcome Warwick as his replacement.
“I would like to express my gratitude to the BRDC for having had me as their President, and for all that it has done to help make my term as fruitful and enjoyable as possible,” he said. “The Club has a unique place in motor sport and is respected around the world. I am very glad to have had the opportunity to work to develop and protect that reputation, together with my fellow members and board directors.
“Derek Warwick has lived the life of a professional racing driver and reached the very top of his profession. He knows what it takes to win, and he knows what if feels like to lose. I believe that this Club should always have at its helm a racing driver who has lived that life. Derek will, I have absolutely no doubt, serve this Club with the same determination and integrity with which he displayed to the world as a professional racing driver.
“Many congratulations to Derek on becoming the next BRDC President. I wish him and the Club every success for the future.”