This rumor is upgraded to 'strong' today. Rory Byrne is making a return to formula one with Ferrari.
That is the claim of two authoritative figures, including former team manager Joan Villadelprat, who writes a column in the Spanish newspaper El Pais.
"Rory Byrne, the brain behind the great Michael Schumacher era, has decided to return to work with Ferrari's new (technical) boss Pat Fry," he wrote.
South African designer Byrne handed over his role to the now-ousted Aldo Costa in 2006, staying as a consultant in recent years before retiring completely.
AS newspaper correspondent Manuel Franco also reported the news about Byrne this week, admitting that Ferrari at present is "determined to deny it".
"Officially the 2012 car has been designed by Nicholas Tombazis, but Byrne has been there," Franco insisted.
09/18/11 (PVM) Rory Byrne is reportedly being approached by Ferrari with regards to the design of their 2012 car which is already a work in progress. Omni Corse reports that Byrne, the South African design guru who was an instrumental part of the all conquering Michael Schumacher-Ross Brawn dream team at Benetton and Ferrari, has been approached by Pat Fry to contribute to the team’s 2012 challenger.
Byrne ‘retired’ to Thailand after Ferrari’s ‘golden era’ but now, the astute interpreter of Formula 1 rules, is on Fry’s shopping list to strengthen the technical team at Maranello.
Already the 2012 car is taking shape with Fernando Alonso in mind, which includes a lower seating position and a longer wheelbase to address the tire heating problems the Ferrari 150 Italia has been plagued with this season.
Fry, formerly at McLaren, is overseeing the project, which included the likes of James Tortora (simulation), Ioannis Veludis (Computational Fluid Dynamics) and Rupert Daraker (aerodynamics), with Nikolas Tombazis heading the design team and Byrne, possibly, drafted in to the setup as a consultant.
Pressure is on team principal Stefano Domenicali to deliver a championship winning contender, who has talked the talk of late and next season must deliver or he is likely to face the axe.