De Ferran at BAR?

It seems that a change at BAR is likely to happen shortly, with Gil de Ferran expected to be announced as sporting director. De Ferran is reportedly being bought in as an effort to give BAR a higher profile and more direction after the team's poor...

It seems that a change at BAR is likely to happen shortly, with Gil de Ferran expected to be announced as sporting director. De Ferran is reportedly being bought in as an effort to give BAR a higher profile and more direction after the team's poor start to this season. It's thought that chief executive Nick Fry will take a more administrative role while de Ferran focuses on the racing.

In 2004 BAR emerged as a fighting force and was second overall in the constructors' standings at the end of the season, after taking the position from Renault. In November it was announced that Honda would increase its involvement with a 45% stake and team principal David Richards departed. Fry took over as chief executive but the team has struggled in 2005.

It's reported that de Ferran's appointment is not to replace Fry but to strengthen the team, so Fry can concentrate on the organizational side. De Ferran retired from racing at the end of 2003 and the rumour mill wonders about his lack of previous experience heading a team.

The 37-year-old Brazilian started his racing career in Brazilian Formula Ford in the eighties and went on to win the 1992 British F3 championship. He moved to CART (now ChampCar) in 1995 and took the title twice for Team Penske, in 2000 and 2001. He was the Indy 500 winner in 2003, also for Team Penske, although he never won the IndyCar title.

De Ferran's move to BAR is speculated to be a bit of a panic decision for the team in light of its disastrous start to 2005. Outside the points in Melbourne, Jenson Button and Takuma Sato retired to the pits on the last lap in order to take advantage of the rule that stated if a driver failed to finish a race, he could use a new engine for the next one.

The FIA swiftly closed that loophole and BAR had to suffer the embarrassment of both the new engines in Malaysia expiring within three laps. In Bahrain Sato retired with brake problems and Button with a clutch gremlin, although the cars had good race pace. The BAR Honda 007 lacks rear downforce, something the team is seeking to resolve before Imola.

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Takuma Sato , Jenson Button , Gil de Ferran , David Richards , Nick Fry