Formula 1 Ferrari: The Schumi designer is now making Leclerc fast

It was just a small side note, but it matters a lot. Shortly after the test runs in Barcelona in February, Ferrari announced with a subordinate clause that they had extended the consulting contract with the South African designer legend Rory Byrne (78) by three years.

Background: In 2020, Ferrari team boss Mattia Binotto brought her former boss out of her retirement in Thailand to give Ferrari engineering and design team advice and support. From Thailand, where Byrne runs a real estate business with his wife, he has been providing Ferrari with his ideas ever since.

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For former Formula 1 driver Marc Surer, it is therefore clear: “The extension of the contract sounds like a huge thank you,” the Swiss told AUTO BILD. “Byrne seems to have done a super job in his role.”

again. For Byrne was already chief designer for Michael Schumacher’s world champion Benettons in 1994 and 95. He then followed the German to Ferrari, where he pulled five more world champions Ferrari to Kerpener. Since making his experience with the construction of Formula 1 racing cars available to Scuderia, things have been better.

Rory Byrne was chief designer for Michael Schumacher’s world champion Benettons in 1994 and 95.


Surer: “It was remarkable that Ferrari already had a good chassis in 2021. But last year, they were still handicapped by the weaker engine. That’s not the case this season anymore.” The Swiss continued: “The Ferrari has similar characteristics this year as the Schumacher-Ferraris had from the successful era: They were fast everywhere and in all conditions, had fantastic traction and always got the best out of the tires. It is clearly Byrne’s signature.”
The numbers speak for themselves: After three races before Scuderia’s home race in Imola on April 24, Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc clearly leads the world championship with 34 points over Mercedes driver George Russell with two wins, a second place and two fastest laps at. . In the constructors’ championship, Ferrari is just as superior with 39 points ahead of Mercedes.

Alone: ​​In times of wind tunnels and complex computer simulations, the South African is considered a kind of Gyro Gearloose, just like Red Bull designer Adrian Newey, who starts designing a car on a drawing board. But while Newey gets his best ideas under the shower, Byrne comes up with the technical tricks that make the difference during shaving.

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The former Formula 1 driver Surer tells an anecdote about this: “In the early 1980s, I was allowed to test Toleman, whose designer was Byrne. For thermal reasons, he had to move the radiators on the car. “Toleman half a second faster. Everyone wondered why. The next morning an excited Rory Byrne came to the track. He had only shaved his half face. During the shave, the answer came to him why the car was driving faster. It’s Rory Byrne.”

Ex-Ferrari driver Gerhard Berger is also sure that Byrne has a lot to do with the resurrection of Ferrari. Today’s DTM boss for AUTO BILD: “In his own way, Byrne is just as much a genius as Newey. the topic.”

It is noteworthy that Mercedes loses quite a bit of lap time with the bouncing, but not Ferrari. Berger: “Byrne is a guarantee that the cars will remain at the top level throughout the season.”

In addition, it was certainly not a disadvantage that F1 technical director Ross Brawn and former Benetton technician Pat Symonds developed the radical vehicle regulations for 2022. Both are old comrades of Byrne, who first worked with him at Benetton and, in Brawn’s case, later at Ferrari. It would be natural to assume that as the rules developed, they would often consult Byrne as well.

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