Stewart Backed to Keep BRDC Role

One of Jackie Stewart's main adversaries has backed the former World Champion to retain his role as president of the British Racing Drivers' Club at next month's crunch vote on his future, Autosport-Atlas exclusively reveals

Stewart Backed to Keep BRDC Role

Former BRDC chairman Ray Bellm has urged members not to remove Stewart as their president at May 12's Extraordinary General Meeting, even though he has previously been viewed as one of the key men behind the campaign to oust Stewart from his position.

Bellm was removed from his role as chairman of the club earlier this year after a series of clashes with Stewart relating to the new five-year contract for Silverstone to host the British Grand Prix.

But despite his public criticisms of Stewart at the time, and claims that he was a ring-leader in recent moves to pressure Stewart to resign, Bellm has now sensationally written to club members urging them to retain him as president even though he wants Stewart's role changed.

In the letter, which Autosport-Atlas has seen, Bellm criticises the manner in which Stewart and the current Board interacted in the negotiations for the new British GP contract, and makes it clear that he believes the club would benefit from a stronger and more independent board. To do so, he wants Stewart retained as president but removed as a club director.

"Our Club still faces a lot of challenges, but it can secure its future and make great progress with a harmonious and effective Board and an ambassadorial President," wrote Bellm.

"As in a modern Plc, the Chairman and his Board should run the business; the President should be its ambassador.  You cannot have two bosses."

He added: "You have to decide who is most likely to deliver the new facilities to enhance the motor sport activity at Silverstone, secure the Club's income, provide the best benefits for members, whilst retaining ownership of the Club's assets.

"Is it the Board led by the correct Chairman?...Or is it the President leading the Board?

"You will be asked to "vote against the removal of Jackie Stewart as President and as Director."  You are being presented with an unreasonable request because it doesn't give you the chance to judge separately on Sir Jackie Stewart's appropriateness to two quite different roles.

"It would be in the Club's best interest to retain Sir Jackie Stewart as the ambassadorial President for in name, fame and contacts he has contributed much and would continue to do so, but to remove him as Director.   There is no need to have a President sitting on the Board because the Board has a Chairman."

Speaking to reporters on Wednesday, Bellm claimed that whatever the outcome of the EGM on May 12 it would likely lead to major changes in the structure of the BRDC.

"It will be a fresh start," he said. "The five-year British Grand Prix deal gives the new-look BRDC the breathing space in which to drive forwards and sort out its issues."

BRDC board member Tony Jardine believed that an outcome from the EGM of Stewart retaining a presidential role but of the club strengthening the independence of the board would be the best solution.

"We need to be playing to our strengths," he said.  "(Chairman) Stuart Rolt is an excellent businessman, Jackie Stewart the perfect ambassador. It is the most sensible way forward."

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