Our great friend Derek Warwick celebrates his 58th birthday today!
After a hugely successful career in the junior categories, a young Derek arrived in F1 in 1981 being considered as a hotter British prospect than Nigel Mansell.
While Mansell would go on to win over 30 Grands Prix during his illustrious career, Warwick failed to win any, largely by dint of never being able to gain drives with front-running teams. Warwick is considered by many to be among the best F1 drivers never to have won a race, on top of his uncanny knack for surviving two of the biggest accidents in F1 history.
Debuting with the awful Toleman in 1981, Warwick struggled for three seasons before joining Renault, where he achieved two second place finishes at Belgium and Britain in 1984. The turning point of his career came in 1985 when he rejected an offer to join Williams (a role that went to Mansell).
He joined Brabham in mid-1986, and then moved to Arrows for three years, achieving occasional points finishes that were scant reward for his hard grafting behind the wheel. This was followed by a similar – and sadly, less successful – stint at the beleaguered Lotus team before he had a three-year hiatus from F1 in which he won the World Sportscar Championship and the Le Mans 24 Hours in 1992,
He made one final return to F1 in 1993 with the Footwork squad, but this again yielded little. With no further offerings on the table, his F1 career was over and he popped up in the British Touring Car Championship, later going on to co-own the Triple 8 Engineering stable, which became a dominant force in the British and Australian touring car landscapes.
Today Derek runs his very successful Honda car dealership in the tax haven island of Jersey, while also popping up in the F1 paddock from time to time as a member of the FIA Stewards panel.
Derek kindly afforded us the opportunity of an exclusive interview, which you can read by clicking on the thumbnail below.
[Images via Corbis Images, F1 Nostalgia, Flickr, LAT, Motorsport.com, The Cahier Archive]