Ian Philips, Force India’s Director of Business affairs, is to leave the team after 19 years with the Silverstone-based outfit.
Ian has been responsible for sponsorship, commercial direction and ongoing negotiations with the FIA and FOM for the team since it was known as Jordan. He has also signed over 50 drivers.
Philips has had a long and rich heritage in motorsport. In 1973, he became Autosport’s youngest-ever editor. He went on to join Donington Park as circuit manager in 1976, overseeing the re-opening of the track after several years of closure.
Philips then moved on to become the administrator of the Gunnar Nilsson Cancer Treatment fund, having been very close to the Swedish driver.
Ian later returned to journalism, working as a freelance reporter and in public relations. During this period he worked with companies such as March Engineering, Marlboro and Bridgestone in Formula 2 racing.
Robin Herd – the founder of March – later asked him if he would like to be the team manager of the new March F1 team. Ian helped to set up the team and ran it for the first couple of years, continuing in the same role when the team became Leyton House Racing in 1989.
In 1990 Ian moved to the new Jordan team as commercial manager, and has remained friends with Eddie Jordan ever since. With Jordan he secured major deals with big brands such as 7-Up, Sasol, Benson & Hedges, Deutsche Post World Net.
In recent seasons, Philips has also been part of the BBC commentary team for Friday practice sessions, and could be heard on 5 Live Sports Extra and behind the Red Button.
The team have said today that they wish Philips ‘every success’ in any future endeavours.