Friday afternoon burial: Phillips leaves Force India

Popping into inboxes worldwide in the traditional Friday afternoon graveyard slot is the news that Ian Phillips is to leave Force India. Ian has been with the team since it began, as Jordan, but his relationship with team principal Vijay Mallya has been frosty since he broke ranks and prematurely announced Giancarlo Fisichella’s move to Ferrari at the Belgian GP last year.

Ian entered motorsport as a journalist, on Autosport’s national news beat, in the 1960s – working with Paddy McNally, who now runs the Paddock Club at grands prix. Even after moving on to the commercial side he retained the hack’s nose for gossip; many of the breaking news stories you’ll have read over the years will have originated over coffee and a cigarette in the Leyton House/Jordan/Midland/Spyker/Force India motorhome.

Word is that Ian has known for some time that his departure was desired, but he has been holding on for the right pecuniary package to be put on the table. It’s possible that he will go into business with Eddie Jordan, following Anthony Hamilton into the market for grooming new talent.

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  • Comments (7)
  1. ian was a fab resource for f1 gossip, both on 5live and on his various podcasts.

    shame he isn’t following (/replacing) eddie on tv.

    • Aaron James
    • March 5th, 2010

    What’s Ian like as a guy? I didn’t really take to him much when he was on the radio. In 2008 he repeatedly dumped on Ferrari (on air) while Force India were still running around with Italian engines.

    Regardless of the merits of what he was saying (I didn’t think there were many…but opinions differ :) ), it’s not good form to smear an essential supplier with brown stuff like that. It’s not professional.

    That kinda tainted my view of him actually. I wasn’t sad to hear he wouldn’t be on 5 live this year. While it is just as likely a lack of discretion cost him his job, I can’t help but think as well Force India are cutting costs at the same time.

    That’s two fairly high profile departures in close succession now. I wonder whether the noises about Mallya owing Ferrari and McLaren/Mercedes (not to mention others) money will resurface?

    • Stuart C
    • March 5th, 2010

    He’s a very solid, entertaining fellow, good company and rather scurrilous. He shoots from the hip and would often have to follow a piece of information with, “That’s off the record, of course…” Trouble is, when you’re talking on air you can’t switch your mouth into reverse…
    He was definitely the ‘go to’ guy for F1 gossip, so I can well imagine that Vijay became fed up with the constant procession of people entering his motorhome to speak to Ian rather than him. Quite a few newshounds are going to have to dig deeper and make new contacts if Ian isn’t going to be around. Very odd, though; I’d always believed he acted as Bernie’s eyes and ears on the factory floor, since Ecclestone wonga has been propping up that team for years.

    • Steven Roy
    • March 5th, 2010

    I wonder if this means we will hear more of him on the radio at race weekends. Philips off the leash would be good value for the BBC.

  2. I’d always believed he acted as Bernie’s eyes and ears on the factory floor, since Ecclestone wonga has been propping up that team for years.


    he’ll be heading east then?

    • Stuart C
    • March 6th, 2010

    @mr. c.
    I’m sure he’s not Balkan at the thought of it!

  3. @Stuart C

    Assuming they’ll be around next year, of course…

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