Louis Stanley

The son of a cotton broker from the Wirral, near the port of Liverpool, Stanley went to school in Birkenhead before attending a theological college called Coats Hall in Edinburgh. Eventually he attended Emmanuel College, Cambridge where he gained a masters degree in theology. In his early career however he was a journalist, writing articles for magazines on a wide variety of subjects. He married shipping heiress Kate Furness although the two were divorced in 1949 and in 1955 he married Jean Baber, the sister of industrial magnates Sir Alfred and Ernest Owen of the Rubery Owen company. It was through his wife that Stanley became involved in BRM, the Formula 1 team which was owned and financed by the Owens. Initially he played the role of an unofficial spokesman but the death of Ernest Owen in 1967 and a serious heart attack for Alfred Owen in 1969 Stanley played a more and more important role, ending up as joint managing director and chairman. In his spare time he wrote books on a wide range of subjects, including golf, motorsport, the inns of London, Cambridge university, ornithology, churches and even ceramics. Stanley played an important role in improving the safety in Formula 1 as honorary secretary of the Grand Prix Drivers' Association, a trustee of the Jim Clark Foundation and the founder of the Jo Siffert Advisory Council. In 1967 he created the International Grand Prix Medical Service and built a mobile hospital which travelled to races to offer medical assistance. After the death of Jo Siffert in a BRM at Brands Hatch in October 1971, Stanley worked to find fireproof suits for the drivers.

In 1971 Stanley negotiated a major new sponsorship deal for BRM with Marlboro. This began in 1972 but survived only two seasons. Alfred Owen continued to sponsor the team until his death in 1975 after which the team went into bankruptcy and was revived by Stanley and his wife as Stanley-BRM. Mike Pilbeam was recruited to design the P201. The team appeared on occasion in 1976 but at the end of the year Louis Stanley announced a full-scale return for 1977 with a Len Terry design and drivers Larry Perkins and Teddy Pilette. The P207 was not a success and the team faded away at the end of the year amid legal action with sponsor Tissot. There was an attempt to revive the company in 1979 but it too was a flop. He died on January 8 2004.