Derek Stanley Arthur Warwick was born in Alresford, Hampshire. He raced for many years in Formula One, but never won a Grand Prix. He is considered to be among the best F1 drivers never to have done so. During the early 1980's he was thought more likely to achieve World Championship success than his contemporary Nigel Mansell.
When he joined Renault in 1984 after success with Toleman, he expected to have a race-winning car and led the Brazilian Grand Prix, his first drive for them, only to retire owing to a suspension failure. He went on to finish in second place in both the Belgian and British Grands Prix in 1984 and finished 7th in the championship. The turning point in Warwick's career was his decision to stay at Renault for 1985 and reject an offer to drive for Williams, the seat was instead offered to Nigel Mansell who, accepting the position, went on to win 2 races at the end of the season. 1985 was a poor year for Renault and the team withdrew from Formula 1 at the end of the year. Renault's withdrawal, and Ayton Senna's refusal to let Warwick join him as team mate at Lotus, left Derek without a team for start of the 1986 season. Following the death of Elio de Angelis in a testing accident in May, Derek was invited to take his place at Brabham. Derek subsequently drove mainly uncompetitive cars for, Arrows (1987-1989), Team Lotus (1990) and Footwork (1993) with little success.
Earlier in his career, he also won the 1978 British Formula Three Championship. Warwick also raced successfully in sports car racing, winning the World Sportscar Championship in 1992, and was also part of the Peugeot team which was victorious at the 24 hours of Le Mans race that year. He drove sports cars for Jaguar in 1986 and 1991. He raced in the BTCC after retiring from Formula 1, winning a famous wet race at Donington in 1998, and co-founding 888 Racing to run Vauxhalls in the series.
In 2006 he will race in the inagural season of the Grand Prix Masters formula for retired Formula One drivers.