Renault hires Wickham

Lotus Renault GP has called in longtime motorsport executive John Wickham to be its new team manager. Wickham began his motor racing career 39 years ago with the British Automobile Racing Club, helping to organise race meetings. He then joined the Surtees F2, which sponsored at the time by Matchbox and Fina and ran Mike Hailwood and Jochen Mass. At the end of 1978 Wickham joined the March F2 team and stayed until 1981 when he and engineer Gordon Coppuck formed Spirit Racing to compete in Formula 2 in 1982 and to enter F1 with Honda engines. The team was sponsored by Marlboro and ran Thierry Boutsen and Stefan Johansson. That autumn the team began development of the Spirit F1 programme with Johansson and entered Grand Prix racing in 1983 but Honda quickly did a deal with Williams for 1984 and so Spirit was left with Hart engines. The team struggled on until early in 1985. Wickham then moved to touring cars, running the RAS Volvo team in the European Touring Car Championship before moving on to head TOM’S GB’s motorsport activities. In 1988 he tried to revive Spirit in Formula 3000 before being hired by Footwork to look after its F3000 effort with Ukyo Katayama and Damon Hill. This led to a job as team manager of the Arrows F1 team after it was bought by Footwork.

He stayed with Arrows until the start of 1995 but then became team manager of Audi Sport UK operation in the British Touring Car Championship, winning the title in 1996 with Frank Biela and the team moved on to a Le Mans 24 Hours programme in 1999. This resulted in victory in 2003 when the team was rebadged as Bentley. In recent years Wickham has been running the A1 Grand Prix championship. The team’s sporting director Steve Nielsen resigned recently, deciding he had enough of life at Enstone.

16 thoughts on “Renault hires Wickham

  1. Hmmm, so Wickham was contracted to streamline the efficiency of the team, which resulted in several senior staff members leaving, and he has then taken their place? Sounds…. suspicious..?

    1. Richard K

      I think Wickham has been brought in because people are leaving, not the other way round

  2. It’s hard to figure out quite who is what and quite who does what. I thought a man called Eric ran that team. Ho Hum.

  3. I was under the impression that Bob Bell was surplus to requirement with the team and they were downsizing on personnel, Looks like they managed to cut too much and they are now going in the opposite direction.

    Could also be down to having a team with excellent F1 pedigree called Renault being forced to pretend it’s actually a Lotus of years gone bye, thus, they managed to alienate team members.

  4. Eric Boullier is team principal
    Wickham will be team manager

    in the same way that Whitmarsh is principal at McLaren and Dave Redding is team manager

  5. That Bentley win was truly special. One of only two times in this decade that a marque other than Audi won the Le Mans 24 Hours, though Bentley is part of the VW group as is Audi.

  6. F430 FOX I have been thinking the same with Joes various articles – however I am sure Robert will be glad to have the problem on his return if thats how it turns out

  7. PT, I guess you could say it was a special win, but hardly because it was a ‘defeat’ of Audi. A car/design team borne out of Audi UK’s failed R8C programme, running a 4.0L version of Audi’s all-conquering 3.8L V8 from the R8, the winning car run by Joest with his staff from the Audi works squad and driven by 2/3 of Audi’s ‘dream team’. Not to talk down the accomplishments of those involved with the winners but it is hardly a giant-killing effort when you’re standing on the giant’s back….

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