appoints Gil de Ferran
In surprise move
April 6, 2005
Strike B嫂愛 Honda has appointed Gil de Ferran to help steer
its course towards the Formula One World Championship.
37 year-old Gil, winner of the 2003 Indy 500 and twice
winner of the North American CART Championship, brings over
20 years of racing experience to the newly created role of
Sporting Director, responsible for the B嫂愛 Honda team
Gil embarked on his highly successful motor racing career in
1982, competing in his native Brazil. He progressed through
the ranks of the European single-seater Formulae, winning
the British F3 Championship in 1992, before heading
Stateside in 1995 where he raced Indy Cars for nine seasons,
retiring from driving at the end of 2003. Gil has been
working as an expert commentator for ABC and ESPN's
motorsport coverage in the US. He commences his role with
B嫂愛 Honda with immediate effect.
Gil's first-hand racing success will complement the 25 years
of automotive and motorsport experience of Chief Executive
Officer Nick Fry and 16 years of Formula One design
experience of Technical Director Geoffrey Willis, and
provide B嫂愛 Honda with a management team that combines
experience and energy with an absolute determination to win.
Nick Fry, Chief Executive Officer of B嫂愛 Honda,
said: "B嫂愛 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."
Geoffrey Willis, Technical Director of B嫂愛 Honda,
said: "We are extremely fortunate to be able to welcome
someone of Gil's stature to the role of B嫂愛 Honda Sporting
Director. His racing pedigree speaks for itself but his
ability to combine that with excellent man-management and a
highly analytical approach to the 'business' of racing will
be an enormous asset to our team.
"Although I met Gil relatively recently, I immediately
recognized that his skills in getting the best out of a team
on-event were the perfect complement to B嫂愛 Honda's
existing design and engineering talent. I am really looking
forward to working with Gil and welcome him wholeheartedly
to our team."
Commenting on his new role, Gil de Ferran said: "This is an
enormously exciting challenge for me and in many ways a
natural progression from my driving career. 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 B嫂愛 Honda is obvious for
all to see. So, not only is it a great honor for me to be
invited to join such a prestigious organization, 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. Although I am very excited about my new job, I leave
my colleagues at ABC ESPN with a high degree of sadness.
During the short time we worked together a strong and loyal
bond was formed."
Gil de Ferran - BIOGRAPHY
Gil de Ferran, one of auto racing's most sophisticated and
diverse drivers, made history in May of 2003 by taking the
checkered flag at the 87th running of the Indianapolis 500
and retiring at the end of that season with a victory in his
final race, ending a highly successful 23 year driving
Born in Paris, France, the son of a Ford Motor Company
executive, de Ferran moved to Sao Paulo, Brazil when he was
nine months old. He began racing karts at the age of 14 and
by the age of 19, de Ferran won the Brazilian Formula Ford
1600 Championship. That success prompted him to leave
Engineering College in Sao Paulo and move to England in 1988
to continue his career in racing.
De Ferran moved up the ladder steadily. By 1991, he was in
British Formula 3 and in his second season, driving for
Jackie Stewart's son team Paul Stewart Racing, captured the
British F3 Championship, taking seven victories. He moved
into the FIA Formula 3000 Series for the next two seasons,
winning a total of three races and finishing third in 1994,
still driving for the same team.
In 1995, enticed by the legendary Jim Hall, de Ferran moved
to the United States to begin racing on the Indy Car circuit
and immediately won Rookie of the Year Honors with one
victory in that season. In 2000, de Ferran joined Team
Penske, the team with the most wins in motorsports history,
together they won two consecutive Championships (2000 &
2001), becoming only the fourth driver in CART history to
achieve this feat. In addition, de Ferran became "The
Fastest Man in the World" when he set the closed course
speed record by completing a lap at 241.428 mph at
California Speedway on October 28, 2000.
De Ferran, is married to Angela, they have two children,
Anna and Luke, aged ten and seven respectively.
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