De Ferran Confident he will Fit

BAR's new Sporting Director Gil de Ferran believes he will have no problems settling into his new Formula One role, after the team officially confirmed his appointment on Wednesday afternoon

De Ferran Confident he will Fit

As Autosport-Atlas predicted, de Ferran has been drafted into the Brackley-based team to help provide support for team boss Nick Fry and technical director Geoff Willis - who will now be able to focus more on areas where their expertise will pay off.

De Ferran will take over the running of the team during Grand Prix weekends, allowing in particular Willis to concentrate more on the design and development of the cars, and the two-time Champ Car title winner and Indy 500 victor is eager to get on with his new job.

"This is an enormously exciting challenge for me and in many ways a natural progression from my driving career," he said. "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 BAR 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."

The decision to sign de Ferran was prompted by BAR's CEO Fry, who began discussions with the Brazilian last December.

Speaking about the appointment, 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." 

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