It has been confirmed by Ferrari that Pat Fry, formerly one of the two chief designers at McLaren, is to join the team as assistant technical director.
He is latest in long line of engineers to move between Maranello and Woking. It is a well trodden path for engineers, especially for aerodynamicists. This year John Iley came to the UK, while Nicolas Tombazis has moved both ways.
Fry was in an alternating design role at McLaren with Tim Goss. This year’s car is Goss’, last year’s and the 2007 car were Fry’s. He was due therefore to be in charge of next year’s McLaren.
He left McLaren a few months ago and most observers in the paddock reckoned that he was heading for Toro Rosso to be reunited with Giorgio Ascanelli, his old mentor from Benetton days.
But it was also suggested recently that Fry was looking for a role within an F1 team which might offer him a slightly less intense life. He has been at the coal face for many years, as David Coulthard’s engineer back in the Hakkinen/Coulthard years and more recently shouldering the responsibility for design.
A move to Ferrari, especially in a position of responsibility, would likely be very intense, so it will be interesting to see how the ostensibly hands-on role evolves, particularly if he is required to attend races.
Ferrari is due to unveil it’s new technical package in Valencia this weekend. The idea is to add a lot more downforce to the car to try to compete with Red Bull and McLaren in particular. The team has got very sidetracked since the start of the season with developing a drag reducing rear wing and still hadn’t perfected it on the last iteration of the car.
We will analyse Ferrari’s new package in depth in the LG Technical Report here on the site later this week. Initial indications are that it features the in-vogue blown diffuser, pioneered by Red Bull, whereby the exhaust exits are placed low and feed a slot in the diffuser for additional rear downforce. McLaren and Mercedes are due to unveil one of those soon as well.
There is a brief, snatched bootleg video of the alleged car during a recent filming day at Fiorano on You Tube. Although testing is banned, filming days with limited running are permitted, as are straight line aero tests.
Ferrari needs some fresh ideas in the design department. It is a few years since they came up with an idea everyone else wanted to copy, like double diffusers, F Duct wings and the like.