Peter Warr passes away 05 Oct 2010
Formula 1.com is sad to record the death, in France on October 4th, of Peter Warr, well known for his management of the Lotus, Wolf and Fittipaldi Formula One teams in the Seventies and Eighties.
A former Royal Guards officer, Warr tried his hand at motor racing. He went to work for the emergent Lotus company in Hornsey in 1958, when he had just turned 20, and raced in sportscars and Formula Junior. He was good enough to win the 1963 Japanese Grand Prix at Mount Fuji in a Lotus 23 sportscar, but his greatest contribution to the sport came when he was invited by Team Lotus founder Colin Chapman to take over management of the Formula One team in October 1969.
Warrs officer training and natural gifts as a leader shone through as he helped to guide a youthful Emerson Fittipaldi to the world championship in 1972, only the Brazilians second full season in the big league.
At the end of 1976 Warr accepted an offer from wealthy Canadian oil baron Walter Wolf to run his new team, which he had taken over from Frank Williams. They won on their debut in Argentina, with Jody Scheckter driving the Wolf R1 designed by Harvey Postlethwaite. South African Scheckter was also victorious in Monaco and Canada, and only lost out in his world championship challenge towards the end of the season.
When Wolf was merged with Fittipaldis flagging eponymous team at the end of 1979, Warr continued as team manager. In the middle of 1981, however, Chapman prevailed upon him to return to Lotus. Warr became team principal after Chapman died in December 1982.
He enjoyed a difficult relationship with an emergent Nigel Mansell, who was popular with sponsor John Player, and signed the upcoming Brazilian Ayrton Senna to replace him for 1985 as Mansell switched to Williams. Senna won six races for the team, before leaving for McLaren at the end of 1987, whereupon Warr moved quickly to sign reigning world champion Nelson Piquet.
Warr remained with Lotus until 1989, when he left to become an FIA permanent steward, and later Secretary of the British Racing Drivers Club, before retiring to live in the Bordeaux region of southern France. In March 2010 he returned to the Formula One paddock in Bahrain, where he was enthralled to see Fittipaldi and Mario Andretti demonstrating their famed championship-winning John Player Special Lotuses before an appreciative crowd.