Willis Welcomes de Ferran Arrival

BAR technical director Geoff Willis has revealed that the arrival of Gil de Ferran as the team's new sporting director should pay off dividends in helping development of the BAR 007 - because he no longer needs to attend every race

Willis Welcomes de Ferran Arrival

Speaking exclusively to Autosport-Atlas about the impact of the shock appointment of de Ferran, Willis has welcomed the move because it now frees him up to get back to his main focus of making the team's new challenger as quick as possible.

"I can now get to work on the issues that I am meant to be concentrating on," said Willis, speaking during testing at Barcelona in Spain on Wednesday. "So I may not be at all the races now, but that is what Gil is for."

Willis has clarified that de Ferran's role at BAR will not be as front-line as those of previous drivers who have made the switch to team management, but that the Brazilian will still play a central role in the running of the outfit over a Grand Prix weekend.

"This is something that Nick (Fry, team boss) and I have discussed about for some time," added Willis. "We have been working hard in trying to restructure and we are never the sort to hesitate in anything that might possibly enhance the team's performance.

"Nick and I already have plenty to do - and Gil will fit in nicely. He will work on competition issues at racing events and so far, having talked to him, I am impressed.

"He has a good engineering background and I look forward to working with him. He will work closely with (chief race engineer) Craig Wilson and Gil will not be the man who decides on set-up, strategy and technical issues - that is Craig's job.

"But Gil knows what competition is all about and we need a person like that. It will not be like Gerhard Berger, Niki Lauda or even Bobby Rahal."

The decision to sign de Ferran was prompted by BAR's CEO Nick Fry, and has been fully backed by the team's Honda bosses - especially Yasuhiro Wada, who is due to take over the presidency of the company's F1 operations from the retiring Shoichi Tanaka later this year.

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