BAR Honda appoints Gil de Ferran
In surprise move
April 6, 2005

Lucky 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 on-event.

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 career.

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.   BAR Honda

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