As expected, BAR Honda confirmed on April 6th that Gil de Ferran has been appointed as the team's sporting director, effective immediately. BAR said in a statement that de Ferran's racing experience would help get the best out of the team at...
As expected, BAR Honda confirmed on April 6th that Gil de Ferran has been appointed as the team's sporting director, effective immediately. BAR said in a statement that de Ferran's racing experience would help get the best out of the team at events and allow technical director Geoff Willis to focus on designing and developing the car.
BAR chief executive Nick Fry said: "BAR Honda's second place success in the 2004 Championship was testimony to the team's strong operational structure and our pursuit of engineering excellence. However, to progress towards our final goal of winning the World Championship we knew there was a piece of the jigsaw still missing, which is hands-on experience of what it takes to win in single-seater racing at the highest level."
"There is no substitute for racing experience and Gil needs little introduction. He has a unique talent which combines a successful career at the wheel of a racing car with an analytical and methodical approach outside of the cockpit. This has helped steer the teams he has raced for to Championship glory."
"The time is right for us to allow Geoff Willis to focus on technical leadership and doing what he does best -- designing and developing the race car -- without the distractions of running the car trackside. Equally, my focus should be harnessing the power of our enhanced relationship with Honda and providing overall company leadership."
"What we know Gil can do is to get the best out of the racing team, the race engineers and the race and test drivers by enhancing their teamwork and motivation, using his experience to help get the most from the car on-event and developing race-winning strategies."
Willis spoke of de Ferran as an asset to the team. "We are extremely fortunate to be able to welcome someone of Gil's stature to the role of B.A.R Honda Sporting Director," he said. "His racing pedigree speaks for itself but his ability to combine that with excellent man-management and a highly analytical approach to the 'business' of racing will be an enormous asset to our team."
"Although I met Gil relatively recently, I immediately recognised that his skills in getting the best out of a team on-event were the perfect complement to B.A.R Honda's existing design and engineering talent. I am really looking forward to working with Gil and welcome him wholeheartedly to our team."
The role of sporting director is a newly created one for 37 year-old de Ferran. The Brazilian embarked on his racing career in 1982 in his home country, then moved to British F3 and won the championship in 1992. He headed to the States in 1995 where he won the CART title in 2000 and 2001, as well as the Indy 5000 in 2003. He retired from racing at the end of 2003 and has since worked as a motorsport commentator for ABC and ESPN.
"This is an enormously exciting challenge for me and in many ways a natural progression from my driving career," de Ferran commented on his new position with BAR. "My interest in the sport always extended beyond driving and this opportunity is the best I could hope for."
"I first met Nick Fry many years ago through Jackie Stewart and we started having serious discussions about the team and how I could possibly make a positive contribution late last year. The talent and potential of B.A.R Honda is obvious for all to see."
"So, not only is it a great honour for me to be invited to join such a prestigious organisation, but during our conversations it became clear to me that I would have no problem fitting in with all the people involved.
"Over this last year or so, since I retired from driving, I have learned a lot, including the fact that I am a racer at heart. Although I am very excited about my new job, I leave my colleagues at ABC ESPN with a high degree of sadness. During the short time we worked together a strong and loyal bond was formed."