Honda announced on July 16th that sporting director Gil de Ferran will leave the team, effective immediately. A former CART champion and Indy 500 winner, de Ferran joined Honda (then BAR Honda) in April 2005 in the newly-created role of sporting...
Honda announced on July 16th that sporting director Gil de Ferran will leave the team, effective immediately. A former CART champion and Indy 500 winner, de Ferran joined Honda (then BAR Honda) in April 2005 in the newly-created role of sporting director. It was thought at the time to be a bit of a panic move after the team, which had challenged for the title in 2004, had a poor start to the season.
Whether or not that was the case, de Ferran stuck with Honda for over two years but has now decided it's time to move on. He commented in a statement that his role within the team had not developed the way he had hoped it would. This season has been difficult for Honda, to say the least, with only one point to show for its effort so far.
"I am obviously very disappointed to be leaving the Honda F1 team," de Ferran said. "I have a huge amount of respect and admiration for Honda, with whom I have been successfully associated for more than 10 years. Consequently, my decision to leave has not been an easy one."
"I simply feel that I came to this team to fulfil a particular role and it has not materialised as I had hoped. I would like to thank everyone at the team for the support I have been given and I wish them luck in the future."
It's no secret that in the last few months Honda has been recruiting technical staff in a bid to improve its flagging fortunes. The most recent signing was BMW Sauber man Jorg Zander as deputy technical director, although Zander is apparently not yet available to join the team. If any of this reshuffling had an effect on de Ferran is not known -- Honda simply stated he was leaving to "pursue other opportunities".
"I am disappointed that Gil is leaving our team," said CEO Nick Fry. "Since he joined us in 2005 we have enjoyed a very positive relationship. However, a Formula One team is rather like a jigsaw puzzle in that every piece has to fit precisely in its place."
"Gil has become increasingly uncomfortable in his role and feels the time has now come to seek fresh opportunities. We are very much hoping that Gil will choose to maintain close links with the Honda family."