World Class Motor Sport in Barbados
Andrew Mallalieu’s career in real estate began in 1997 when he purchased his father’s company, John M Bladon, which he transformed into Ernst & Young Real Estate Services and then ultimately, in 2005, into Terra Caribbean. Today, Andrew is Chief Executive of the Terra Caribbean Group of Companies, which encompasses Terra Caribbean (with offices in Barbados, Trinidad, St. Lucia, Grenada and St. Vincent), Terra Luxury (with a focus on the UHNWI market) and Blue Sky Luxury (with a focus on upscale holiday villa rentals). Andrew Mallalieu is also a FIA Formula One Steward: one of only a handful in the world and the first ever from the English-speaking Caribbean.
Andrew Mallalieu: “I learned to drive when I was eleven. My father, Bill Mallalieu, who was a competitive driver and a Founder Member of the Barbados Rally Club, fuelled my passion in motor sports. Dad was an enthusiastic administrator and that must have rubbed off on me because I became involved in the running of the club as soon as I finished university. With my accountancy background, I started off as Treasurer but worked my way through the ranks, including becoming the club’s FIA delegate, which entailed attending the FIA meetings in Paris. By the time I was elected as the first President of the Barbados Motorsports Federation in 2000, I was already familiar with FIA operations.
My involvement with the Federation took a new turn in 2009 when Jean Todt, a former Ferrari Executive Director, took over from Max Mosley as President. Jean wanted to involve more young people and he asked me to serve on the Rallies Commission. That went well and I was later invited to become an understudy Formula One Steward, which meant attending at least three F1 races per year for a minimum of two years to learn from the senior stewards. With a young family and a young business, that was a major commitment, both in time and money, as trainees are unpaid volunteers. But I happily grabbed that opportunity.
There are probably less than 20 qualified FIA Stewards in the world at any one time. It is a sought after position and vacancies seldom appear, so I was very fortunate when I was awarded my FIA Super Licence for the first time in 2014.
Any decision made by the Stewards potentially has huge ramifications for the drivers and their teams, not least of which is their success in the Championship, which translates to millions of dollars – won or lost! The responsibility is enormous, especially as these races are watched on TV by millions of people. Thankfully these days we can consult a vast amount of real-time information. The on-track behaviour of the drivers throws up the most contentious and subjective issues. In those circumstances, no matter how right the judges are, the decision is always going to upset somebody – including the fans. I have been really lucky to work alongside some of the most experienced and knowledgeable motor sport stewards in the world. I have made great friends from Australia and New Zealand to Czech Republic and Russia. We all speak a common language and share a common passion – motor sport.
So far I’ve served at six races. My first was Montreal in 2014. That was quite a debut because I found myself sitting next to the great Emerson Fittipaldi who I’d watched at Brands Hatch in the first F1 race I ever attended, aged eight. I’ve also been a steward at Valencia in Spain, Brazil twice and the British Grand Prix at Silverstone twice. My next race will be at Abu Dhabi this November, one of the best facilities in the world, which could prove to be the Championship decider.
Working on the circuit I meet many interesting people, and whenever I mention that I am from Barbados, I get a very good reaction. FI people tend to be very worldly, and it seems that they all have been to Barbados or want to go to Barbados!
The island is popular in the racing fraternity for several reasons, not least because Lewis Hamilton has driven here. When Lewis raced head-to-head against Ken Block at our Bushy Park Circuit it caused a record number of social media hits. That phenomenon was repeated when Lewis came back for a vacation and was globally publicized partying at Kadooment with our own Bajan superstar Rihanna.
The SOL Rally Barbados has also enjoyed incredible success and international media exposure. It is still probably the largest rally in the western hemisphere attracting more overseas competitors and visitors than even the World Rally Championship rounds in some countries. But, at the heart of it, I think it is Bushy Park that has really put Barbados on the map in the last three years. The fact that such a small island has successfully developed a world-class facility has put a huge feather in our cap. The FIA showcases our Barbados model as a way to encourage small countries and cities around the world to push the development of their own racing facilities.
As well as a modern infrastructure, Bushy Park has a rich history that gives it real character. The same applies to Barbados. This little island offers so much to do – car racing, golf, polo, horseracing, watersports, leisure facilities and restaurants – all neatly packaged into a compact 166 square miles.
It is no accident that as well as having top class hotels, Barbados has evolved into the leading villa vacation destination in the Caribbean. Tourists enjoy the whole ‘living in Barbados’ experience. Not everywhere is like that, so our visitors become attached. They like to come back for more. And we like to welcome them back.”