Derek Ongaro

One of the pioneers of modern Formula 1 safety, Ongaro worked on the sidelines of motor racing until 1966 when he was taken on by John Surtees to look after his racing operations in Slough. Initially tthis was a CanAm team in America and this won the title with the Lola T70. In 1967 and 1968 Surtees raced for Honda in F1 and Ongaro played an important role in overseeing the operations of the Japanese team. The company then decided to build cars for Formula 5000 and took over the LEDA operation and enjoyed some success. There was also the short-lived Lola-Aston Martin sports car programme. In the middle of 1969 Surtees relocated to a new base at Edenbridge in Kent. Ongaro decided it was time to move on and joined Lola in Huntingdon where he worked as general manager for the next seven years. In 1976 he set up himself up as a motor racing consultant and was soon recruited by the RAC to help them reorganise their technical regulations. This ledt to jobs as the series director of the British Touring Car Championship and also overseeing the running of the British Formula Ford series. Ongaro developed a close association with RACMSA boss Basil Tye and as a result he became a FISA circuit inspector in the late 1970s and in March 1980 was named official starter for all Grand Grix races. He was a member of the first Formula 1 Commission in 1980 and continued to work in that role until the end of 1986 when he decided to opt for a quieter life, being replaced by Roland Bruynseraede. He died in December 1996 at the age of 67.