Sir Jackie Stewart is to stand down as president of the British Racing Drivers' Club. The three-time world champion has headed the BRDC, which owns Silverstone, since 2000, but he announced on Monday he would not be seeking re-election at its annual general meeting in the spring.
Sir Jackie Stewart "During my time as president we have fought many battles, not least almost annually the one to retain the British Grand Prix."
Stewart's decision to step down comes a year after he fought off a bitter challenge for the presidency from Ray Bellm.
"By spring this year I will have been president for six years during an exciting and challenging time for the club. It was an honour when I was asked by the late Ken Tyrrell to succeed him by allowing my name to go forward for election as president of the club. Ken was a hero and mentor to me for almost 40 years and I could not have said no.
After our AGM I will continue to give the BRDC my 100% support and goodwill. If requested, I will always be happy to offer advice and assistance to what is the most prestigious motor racing club in the world."
Stewart's contribution was praised by board chairman Stuart Rolt.
"Sir Jackie has presided over the club for six challenging years and sometimes turbulent times always giving his vast experience not only as one of our greatest-ever racing drivers, but also his very considerable talents as a successful international businessman. We thank him for everything he has done for the club and look forward to his continuing support as president until the AGM."
The BRDC last year secured the British Grand Prix until 2009 and is now planning an extensive refurbishment of Silverstone. One of Stewart's last acts as president will be to help shape the future of the circuit. Stewart also hopes to leave a modernised BRDC after six years at the helm.
"Up to the AGM, with my colleagues on the board, I intend to make, I hope, a significant contribution with our new property and leisure development partners with whom we are presently in discussions on behalf of the club. At the last AGM I committed to our membership that the board would seek professional assistance in the restructuring of our management and business procedures at the BRDC. This I intend to have completed before my retirement."