David Richards was announced Team Principal Designate at the launch of the 2002 British American Racing Honda team. Richards comes to the Lucky Strike B.A.R. Honda team with a diverse background in racing.
Richards, 49, began his formative motorsport career as a professional rally co-driver, following completion of articles as an accountant.
After competing in a number of factory teams in the late 70s, his last stop, with the Ford Motor Company, saw him win the World Rally Championship title in 1981, alongside Ari Vatanen. He retired at the end of the 1981 season and hasn't been in a rally car since.
Following his retirement from active competition, Richards devoted his energy towards establishing Prodrive.
Under his direction, Prodrive has grown from a small motorsport engineering business employing only a handful of people to an organisation in excess of 1000 people, recognised globally for its achievements in motorsport and with a growing reputation for developing advanced technology for road vehicles.
Today, its MotorSport division is based in Banbury, Oxfordshire and its Automotive Technology business at Warwick on a 240 acre site which is used as a testing ground and showcase track for vehicle manufacturers. Further operations in both America and Australia, ensure a group turnover well in excess of Ј100 million per annum.
With successful relationships managing race and rally programmes with manufacturers including Porsche, BMW and MG, in 1990 Prodrive formed its longest standing partnership with Subaru to run its World Rally Championship programme, which still stands today.
In November 1999, Richards sold 49% of Prodrive to Venture Capitalists Apax and in April 2000, bought International Sportworld Communicators (ISC) from Bernie Ecclestone. In doing so he acquired the television and commercial rights to the FIA World Rally Championship.
As well as retaining his focus on transforming the fortunes of the World Rally Championship, Richards is now charged with taking Lucky Strike B.A.R Honda out of Grand Prix racing's midfield and into a team capable of winning the Formula One World Championship title.
The newly appointed BAR Honda Team Principal Designate, Richards, had the following words to say at the press conference at the launch.
"This team has the key ingredients you need for success. You need stability -- and that was critical for my decision.
"These things are not spontaneous and it did not happen all over night.
"I had been in talks with BAT for some time but it has only been in the last 10 days that the circumstances have come together.
"I come with a clear track record of success but F1 is a changing world. You cannot just come in as one individual and make a staggering difference.
"I had a year as Benetton boss which is a long time in F1 and I came away understanding what you need for success.
"I will be fifty on my next birthday -- and I was planning on taking a sabbatical -- now this will take my principle effort in the near and medium term.
"We will have a clear period of assessment. Let's see how things go over the next few months.
"I had dinner with Jean Todt recently. Twenty years ago I was the world rally champion co-driver and he was runner-up.
"I hope I can be the bane of his life for a few year's yet."