F1 Winter Break
Ferrari goes back to the future: Rory Byrne to work on 2014 turbo F1 car
Scuderia Ferrari
Posted By: James Allen  |  10 Feb 2013   |  8:48 am GMT  |  157 comments

Ferrari has confirmed that it has hired veteran designer Rory Byrne, architect of the winning Benetton and Ferrari cars of the Michael Schumacher era, to work on its next F1 car, which will be to 2014 turbo rules.

La Gazetta Sportiva says that Byrne, 69, was spotted at the F1 launch this year and told a German journalist his plans. Quizzed on this, the team has now confirmed the signing.

Byrne retired from F1 and moved to Thailand a few years ago to run a scuba diving centre, but has maintained strong links with Ferrari.

There is a very specific reason why Byrne’s presence as an experienced “consultant” on the 2014 project makes sense:

“The new turbo engines represent a great opportunity for teams like Mercedes and Ferrari that can integrate the work of the engine builders with their chassis colleagues,” said Byrne’s former technical partner Ross Brawn recently. “The others will have to adapt their projects to those of the engine supplier.”

Of the other teams, Red Bull could also be considered a “works” team with engine supplier Renault. In fact that very word was used when the team renewed its supply deal last year. With Infiniti, part of the Nissan/Renault family coming on board as a title partner now, the integration is very close for the next generation of F1 designs.

With Ferrari having split responsibility for F1 design into two groups, between Simone Resta, who is behind this year’s car and Fabio Montecchi, who will lead the 2014 project, Byrne will assist their boss Nicolas Tombazis to take the whole project in the right direction.

Byrne’s cars have won 99 Grands Prix, mostly in the hands of Schumacher, so there is some unfinished business for him.

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It's very early days yet, but I'd be very surprised if he doesn't reach the century.

Best of luck to Rory and the whole team in 2014 🙂


I can understand why Ferrari would go for this move by re-appointing Rory Byrne to a major role i.e. They want to re-live the good times by bringing back the one fellow that had Newey figured out.

For sure Byrne is another F1 genius and his record speaks for itself however Ferrari should realize that Byrne was just a piece in what made the dream team what it is so without the other pieces in place i.e. Schumi, Ross, Todt and unlimited testing >>> You may find that things aren't exactly as they used to be.

Now it appears from 2014 we just maybe back to the ''good'' old days of one team/driver running away with it.

Yes, I should relish 2013 for it maybe a while since we see the likes of these again.


Well it's hard to say 1 team will dominate next year because the teams are quite balanced right now for a start from scratch, it could come down to a double diffuser innovation to be dominant.

Its extremely unpredictable because Redbull, Ferrari and Lotus are probably favourites to have the best chassis but Mclaren and Mercedes will probably have the best power unit and Mercedes could pull such a engine advantage that the 0.6sec handicap could equalise the chassis advantage by Newey and Byrne.


Ross and Schumi proved that without Rory Byrne, they couldn't turn around Mercedes.

Was it the collective, or was Byrne never really given the credit he deserved?


Todt who was a perfectionist was also a key part in Ferrari.

At Ferrari Schumacher could test and help with development where as at Mercedes he can't apart from a couple of hours at GP weekends because he can't use the simulator.

The worst thing though was missing a star designer like Byrne.


I never understood why the media latched onto Brawn and Todt but left Byrne without much credit, you never really saw this guy's name mentioned. So you may be right about Mercedes...

Perhaps because he didn't needlessly sit on a pit wall like the others soaking up the limelight, but preferred to be working away in the factory.


People that know F1 new about Byrne but he wasn't in the limelight because he never wanted that sort of role in the team. Also, when Schumacher was thrashing everyone in cars built by the "Holy Trinity" (Brawn, Byrne, Martinelli) Byrne was already in the throws of a phased retirement plan as he wanted to open his diving school and retire from engineering altogether. He has been around to help Ferrari with this and that ever since but more because they wouldn't leave him be than anything. They must have offered him a great package to come back at this level and I expect part of that package was a cast iron guarantee to leave him alone once the 2014 car has been developed into a winner.


@ hero_was_Senna

Ross and Schumi proved that without Rory Byrne, they couldn’t turn around Mercedes.


But here's the thing, turning round an F1 team isn't like flipping a switch >>> No!

Schumi and Ross had only worked for 2 years at Mercedes (on a limited budget I might add) and if Schumi hadn't re-retired, he would have started enjoying the benefits of his work in 2013.

Am sure you know how long it took the Schumi-Byrne Ferrari before it won the title and a recent example, it took Newey at least 4 years before he made Red Bull champions.


The main problem was and is that this 'dream' team are all ageing and not as effective as they were in their prime, even Ross Brawn, he was a man that was out spoken and he was ruthless, its a big part of Ferrari's success, in 2003 it was Ross that noticed the Michelin tyres were illegally wide and forced the FIA to change the michelin tyres and also halt Kimi and Montoya's threat to Schumi's title, I just don't see that drive in Ross anymore, also the drives Schumi done at Hungary 1998, Barcelona 1996, Spa 1995, or Monaco 1997 were all drives out of reach by the current crop of F1 drivers and inhis 40's Michael just can't produce those unbelievable drives he done in the 90's. With Byrne nearly 70 I doubt his brain is as active or potent as he was in his 50's, this group of people were great in their days, almost untouchable but time catches up with all of us, it's Vettel, Newey, Horner and Redbull's financial muscle thats the new dominant force, they need eachother and they are replicating Ferrari's last decadr's dominance for this decade and even Mclaren can't stop it.


Also don't forget that Ross was the incumbent at Honda/Brawn/Mercedes and as Brawn they won the 2009 championship.

Yes, they let a lot of people go that year and have been forced to rebuild, but they still won plenty of races and both WDC and WCC in 2009.


The other factor is the claim that Mercedes thus far haven't been putting enough money into their F1 team. Unlimited testing and huge budgets to burn through will certainly help. Not much point having a great design team and driver, but no money to put into the development of the car.


Oh please then the same would apply to Newey as well when unlimited testing was available in yearly years and yet he is sucesfull. Your comments make no sense!



clearly confirms what was recently said about Newey: that he is one of an almost extinct breed who knows reasonably well all aspects of the car design. Not just aerodynamics.

Same thing about Rory: he knows it all and so could be very good at integrating car/engine - and yes, driver. Unlike the modern specialists who are very good at something, but don't know much outside their area of expertise.


Hi James,

thanks for such a great website.

Can you explain why/how these teams (Ferrari, Mercedes, redbull) will have such a significant advantage over the customer teams? Is it more around packaging of the engine into the car?


I'll offer my view on this, whether there's truth to it. I don't know.

Back in 1982/3, Ron Dennis went to Porsche to design him a bespoke engine for John Barnard's chassis.

Barnard specified exactly what he wanted from the design and Porsche accommodated his wishes.

Basically the width of the engines, the placement of turbos and ancillaries for Centre of gravity and weight distribution.

It was paid for by Tag and Mclaren dominated until Honda overtook them during the mid 80's

To my mind, this was the first time a chassis designer specified the engine spec with handling performance being more important than engine power etc.

I would say this was the exception until Renault teamed up with Williams in 1989, I don't think Honda did anything but provide free engines to Mclaren.

Legend are the stories that only Honda engineers could touch the engines, Mclaren staff were allowed nowhere near.

Now we have effectively 3 works teams, Ferrari, Mercedes and RBR.

Anybody else using those engines will be given the package, they will have no say on it's development within the structure of the car.


Ian Bamford's book about the MP4/4 and the Honda RA-168E of 1988 reveals that Gordon Murray did ask Honda for a lower engine to fit in his low-line BT86-alike chassis.

Honda immediately came back with a "Like this?" comment, and showed him an engine with a smaller clutch/flywheel and shorter inlet trumpets with an engine designed for a higher peak power speed of 12,500rpm. It could also rev to 14,000rpm without damage.

Murray was then able to create a chassis design where the driver's shoulders, fuel tank, engine cam covers and body all followed a continuous line in front of the rear wing. The gearbox was also revised using a 3-shaft transverse design from Pete Weissman which matched the lowered engine crankshaft axis with its input shaft height.

The same engine in the Lotus chassis, angled upwards to a higher gearbox input axis, never provided the same performance and handling advantages.

So Honda did work very closely with McLaren, with great success.


Thanks Brian, I didn't know that.


Great insight and I bet Mercedes used all of that and more to convince Hamilton to join them!


Good comment


So in line with your tweet earlier in the week James, it really would make sense for Mclaren to buy cosworth. Especially given the natural link to their road car business. I seriously hope this is your version of Eddie Jordan breaking the Hamilton move, it would be a seriously exciting tie up for British motorsport!


It's s bit late. 2014 is next year and I don't think Cosworth has a 2024 engine


I'm assuming you meant Cosworth doesn't have a 2014 engine, which would make sense; It wouldn't be worth them going through all the R&D for a new engine just to supply one team.

Given Marrusia's relationship with McLaren I think it's likely we'll see them using Mercedes grunt next year (but that's only a guess).

I'm interested to know what you think will happen with both them and Cosworth next year.


Or could it be McLaren make their own engines and have Marussia to use them so they can test onbehalf of McLaren, so from 2016 onwards McLaren won't need to rely on anyone else anymore? 😀

Just a thought.


In my view, the problem Ferrari have at the moment is they have just emerged from a very successful period in their history where Schumi broke every record in the books and whenever teams or sports personalities have such runs, this means a dry period is next to follow which usually lasts years and in Ferrari's case >>> decades.

Also the same thing happened to Mclaren after the successful years with Senna and Prost.

Williams are going through a dry spell of their own and one can only imagine Red Bull will go through difficult times too when Vettel/Newey leave

But as always, I applaud Ferrari for their unrelenting pursuit of success and not any ordinary successful but domination >>> kudos to them


It's true that Ferrari are relentless, but I think it'll take Vettel and Newey to jump ship for them to be dominant again or even win a title or 2, also I don't think Williams is going through 'the dry spell' I think they are in terminal decline and they will either fold or sell up in the next decade, Mclaren need their road car department to succeed if they are to remain a strong player in the long term, in fact their entire existent is hanging in a balance, F1 are facing bleak times.


unfinished business!!! you may mean winning with another driver. But still. Don't you think you are pushing it a little?


He's referring to the fact that he is one win short of 100 🙂


pushing it nonetthless.


100 coming up, then!


That's the best news that came from Maranello from a long, long time.


I´m happy that James finally is addressing this news.

Now Alonso´s words about Hamilton being his biggest rival makes perfect sense. Assuming that both Ferrari and Mercedes will be the best teams next year. That remains to be seen. It is an advantage over other teams that both make their own engines. However Mercedes has to answer some questions about Brawn´s future and the role that Lauda and Wolff are playing in the car development


I'm not sure why people are convinced 2014 will totally alter the running order in F1. The aerodynamic rules will be almost identical and Adrian newey and his team won't become stupider overnight.

Yes the new engines will shake things up but we all know theyll have similar power so aero will still win out.


I´m not saying Mercedes is going to dominate.The new rules require to change the chassis and the KERS is going to play a bigger role. With that in mind nobody can have exactly the same aero they have this season.


It was more the article and various comments that were suggesting Mercedes and Ferrari would have an advantage - sorry if it appeared I was putting words in your mouth.

Again though KERS (or ERS) will alter the cars, but it does not directly affect the aero regulations. This isn't me being obtuse - the regulations are written and the teams agree to them - the aero is not a significant change in 2014. This is what I'm trying to explain - the teams can't build a car around the engine using a whole new set of aero regs - they are mostly going to have to build the engines into a set platform.

I agree that nobody will have the exact same aero as the exhaust layouts will change etc but my point is, the teams who are front running on aero development in 2013 will still have more to carry over into 2014. Mercedes are way behind several teams on aero. Ferrari are behind on Red Bull and arguably McLaren.

The aero regs are what is written down and teams have to build to. Regardless of power-train - teams that are front running in the second half of 2013 are likely to dominate in 2014. If the Mercedes engine is awesome compared to the Ferrari engine in some developmental way (or reliability etc) then the Mercedes teams will benefit - but on current form - the McLaren will be supplied by Mercedes and still outperform the Mercedes works team because they have a much better aero development.

Sadly (or otherwise if you're a fan of Adrian Newey and his team) F1 is dominated by aero development. Unless a team gets a duff engine next year, I still think the teams at the front in the second half of 2013 (when the 2014 cars will be in full developmental swing) will dominate based on their aero understanding.


An V8 engine aero is not the same aero you will need for the turbo V6 aero. Nothing will be exactly the same. Things are a bit more complex for teams that depend on engine provider.


AuraF1 - I think we're basically in agreement here. Wasn't aware though (or had forgotten) that the big aero changes for 2014 had been put off.

Anne - Yes the engine manufacturers might have a slight advantage. But Mercedes aren't the only ones in that boat. Ferrari of course develop their own, and Renault's development will no doubt be in strong collaboration with their flagship customer, Red Bull.

If recent times are anything to go by, I would wonder if Mercedes are in fact going to come out the worst of the three. Building a great engine is one thing (and it's not like Ferrari and Renault suck at it). Building a great engine to work within a great overall package is another, and as AuraF1 said above, Mercedes still aren't up with the big guns in terms of aero design. Even if they come up with the best engine for 2014 and have the advantage of being the manufacturer, it won't solve their aero problems out for them. I expect even if they do improve this year, come 2014 the leading Mercedes powered team will still be McLaren.


The aero regulations determine what the aero to be used is. Gary Anderson and James here have mentioned most of the big changes to aero regulations in 2014 have been shelved. There is a further change to the nose shape/height but major changes to bodywork and wings will not actually be that different to this year.

So a team that is struggling in 2013 will have to make a quantum leap to catch up in 2014 - what the teams learn and build THIS year will determine most of the lessons in aero for 2014.

Sure the packaging will be different for weight balance - but the regulations are very specific on aero build down to mostly the same mm measurements on wings etc - so this idea that Mercedes will just leap to the front by virtue of being a works car makes no sense.

Believe me I'd be more than happy to see it happen and the whole front running order get shaken up, I'm not against the idea at all! I'm just slightly concerned that everyone is assuming new engine regulations will totally alter the game. Ferrari are always complaining that its 80% aero now - and the changes to this were ditched so it'll still be the same aero in 2014.

In fact Mercedes would probably see more of an improvement by getting on with hiring Lowe from mclaren and hoping he brings some of his aero dept with him.


Can't really be bothered checking, but aren't the aero regs changing a bit in 2014? The front at least is changing a bit I think, but for some reason I have a vague recollection that they'll have less rear downforce too. Maybe I'm remembering wrong.

I do agree though that it seems a bit much to just assume engines will change everything. In terms of packaging and whatnot for the tightest and most efficient design, Mercedes might be working on their own engine, but so are Ferrari, and I'm sure RB are having their say on Renault's engine.

Any changes in the order in 2014, I imagine would be more down to any aero and tyre changes for the year. After all, look at Red Bull the last few years. Consistently one of the slowest cars out there in terms of straight line speed. Look at Vettel, Monza 2011. A track that's basically a whole bunch of straights occasionally broken up with a bit of a corner. And they were what, 20km/h or 30km/h or something slower down the straights? Still took the front and cruised away.


The big proposed aero changes were shelved but yes there will be a slightly lower nose and the exhaust config will change making the current style floor/diffuser feeding obsolete.

It'd be great if it shakes things up but basically what I'm saying is the teams who build great aero designs (front wings being one of the main areas) will still have that knowledge and advantage. If you look at technical analysis from Gary Anderson, scarbs or autosport - they've pointed out the Mercedes front wing is just years behind red bull - and it is a bit of a fudge to offset their balance. So unless Mercedes figure out that conundrum THIS year - the change won't come in time to totally overhaul red bull next year. The power train change won't radically give them the ability to build a better front wing (as one example).


Yes, but the engine dimensions, cooling requirements, and the power delivery characteristics of the engine (much higher torque) are all vastly different. So, while on the face of it this may seem insignificant, it's the largest shift in the rules in a long time, both engine wise as well as aerodynamics wise. The cars will be a lot different, and there is opportunity in new rules to get a march on the opposition.


I understand but everyone will have the same engine regulations and the 2014 aero build regs are mostly the same as 2013 - they simply can't build vastly different cars aero wise - they've all agreed to keep a mostly stable aero fundamental - so teams ahead on aero will still be ahead on aero.

If the aero regs were changing significantly at the same time as the engines then sure we'd have a total shakeup but I think people are assuming the aero regs are going to change - currently at least - they are surprisingly stable - the change from 2013 to 2014 is one of the smallest changes we've had in years. A lot of proposed changes were ditched.

Like I said in my other response - I'd love it to be a big change and shake everything up - I'm not against it in any way - but the actual cars themselves won't look vastly different - other than the new power- train exhaust set ups. I hope it does prove to be a bigger change but I fear too many Lewis fans are just putting their '2014 is the panacea change' year basket.


Ferrari seem to be behind Merc to me, I can't imagine them producing a fuel efficient power unit and the wind tunnel problems won't help. The only major threats I see to Mercedes in 2014 are Red Bull and Mclaren if they team up with Honda.


It does make me smile reading people's biased views. Where do you get your perceived information from?

Mercedes proved that they needed the 18,000rpm limit before their engines managed reliability.

Ask Kimi how many units failed in his time at Mclaren.

Ferrari from 1996 to 2006 were always at the forefront of engine design, sometimes the most powerful, sometimes level with the BMW units etc. Mercedes suffered massive problems when Beryllium was banned.

Ferrari's current engine director, Luca Marmorini, was the head of engine design at Toyota between 1999 and 2006. If what I read was correct, his engines at Toyota never suffered a failure.

He has been working at Ferrari since 2006, and their reliability has got better and better.

As to the wind tunnel problems, what has this got to do with engine development.


Yeah completely agree on Ferrari engines they have never wanted for power or torque and anyone seeing them in the F2012 should see in a straight line they were romping last year. There's certainly little or nothing between them and Mercedes -the Renault is slightly down on the pair of them- particularly the KERS and that's something I wish would be improved this year. But in the new age of a turbo engines Mercedes are very good - at least on their road cars- the only one I would say is at least match are the BMW engines - they are truly epic and this is precisely the time they should enter F1- A Mclaren BMW -mmm that brings back some "F1" nostalga ! I don't think Honda have invested as heavily as the Europeans in turbo tech recently but im sure it's still strong. Either way there are strong synergies to be gained from engine suppliers to promote themselves in a more "relevant" F1 in 2014.

It's great to see Rory Byrne returning to F1 and the ensuing design battle for 2014 cars between he , Newey & the team at Mercedes. See Hero you credit him (rightly so) and he appears !.


I think the Mclaren Mercedes deal is considered a "partnership" certainly by 2015 it will be 20 years it will be one of the longest in F1. It is a major contract like any other and Im sure their would be penalties or clauses - anyway-like any contract these can be forgone if both parties choose to but I doubt very much Mclaren will be in too much of hurry to be looking unless a manufacturer like Honda or BMW - who have significant experience in F1 sign up very soon ( like right now) are you listening Takanobu Ito & Norbert Reithofer ?? Because we are only talking months and not years now !

Either way I don't see Mercedes turbo power ever being far short of the top spot now they have consolidated technologies in both Road cars and F1. ( we will try to forget 2002-2006). I have always been fascinated by cars and new technologies. Tragically I knew every single detail of every single car sold here in Aus and probably half of them overseas as well - nowadays I like reading up on the major brands and exotics hence the interest in what they do in f1. & why Im glad they are trying to be " relevant" I imported a GT350 skyline 6 years ago - which they are now branding an Infiniti and selling for twice the price & yes I would have my car before anything twice the price.


If only it was so easy, lol re: Byrne

Good call on the BMW engines. I'm driving an Audi currently, but every BMW I've owned has been brilliant engine wise.

One question about Mclaren though. They are contracted to Mercedes engines till 2015. Do they have a get out clause as they are essentially a customer team now?


I couldn't agree more with u mate. People think merc will win next year because maybe as past 4 years they have had a good engine. They haven't took in the amount of races were equipment has cost drivers races over the past 10 years. Ferrari have always been good on the mechanical sides of things as past 15 years. I don't see that changing in 2014.


+1, and I think Hakkinen might have a thing or two to say as well.


The wind tunnel problems have nothing to do with engine development, I meant that they won't help the development of the car as a whole. I didn't say I think the Ferrari V6 will be unreliable I just think it will burn up fuel faster than the Renault and Mercedes which will be highly efficient engines.


Yeah, that's like when the FIA banned refueling and everyone predicted Ferrari would run out of gas because their engines were believed to be the least fuel efficient. Your theory here has no basis in factual evidence. Ferrari were the first to get their turbo V6 testing on the dyno, it should be a highly developed unit when it tests in the car for the first time. Why are Ferrari behind Mercedes on the 2014 car? Its a year away. Just silly comments from anon.



Wikipedia is saying the Byrne was involved with the design of the 2012 Ferrari.

Assuming that that is correct, will his role as "consultant" on the 2014 be much different to the part that he played on the 2012 ?


And, forgetting Wikipedia for a second, there is this from JAonF1 regarding the 2012 car posted in January 2012 by James :

"The car, under the guidance of technical director and former McLaren designer Pat Fry, is the work of Nikolas Tombazis, with legendary Ferrari designer Rory Byrne a significant contributor in the background"


Never trust wikipidia. That is the most unreliable soure of information. Learned that while in Uni.


actually it is the most accurate encyclopedic refrence in existence, particularly for advanced technical subject matter, but admittedly suffers badly in the area of "fan interest" subject matter.


Like I said MISTER, if you want to know about stuff like Nonribosomal peptides, it is highly accurate, if you want to know about Kimis favourite ice cream, it is often inaccurate. You don't even need an account to alter wikipedia, but errors and vandalism are corrected much quicker than in other publications such as peer reviewed journals, respected blogs, or Britannica articles.


No it's not!

You can create an account and then edit any information on wikipidia. The changes will have to be aproved, but as long as your changes are on the subject and the information is credible, they will be added. This doesn't mean they are accurate.

Here what wikipidia is:

"Wikipedia is written collaboratively by largely anonymous Internet volunteers who write without pay. Anyone with Internet access can write and make changes to Wikipedia articles, except in limited cases where editing is restricted to prevent disruption or vandalism. Users can contribute anonymously, under a pseudonym, or, if they choose to, with their real identity."

If you consider this an accurate source of information, go ahead and use it. I'll stick to something else.


Don't trust uni. That is the most unreliable source of information. Learned that from Wikipedia 😉


Nice one


It'd be like reading people's comments here and assuming they're correct.


Good to see you learned something at uni, makes all those fees worthwhile 😉


Don't trust the Wikipedias...they lie 😉


I think I heard that a lot before the launch of the 2012 car. But once it proved to be a disaster in the opening tests that rumor died away.


Here is the story. Ferrari built last year car and when they saw it was one of the worst crappiest car ever. Everyone in Ferrari began singing...

HELP!!! I need somebody HELP!!!

Not just anybody HELP!!!

And they asked Rory Byrne if he could do something. He did but it wasn´t enough for the second half of the season when RB brough big changes.


Some say, Byrne never actually left Ferrari, he always kept involved with the streetcars i believe,the chassis of Ferrari's latest super car the F70 or Enzo has byrne's signature.

This "two development teams system", which didn't convince me at first, now looks a lot better, knowing that the old Maestro is there.


He has been involved with the streetcars.I don´t know if he was just a consultant or a lot more than that


Off topic: Condolences to DC. Super sad news.


His sister passed away. I understand he was told just before a TV appearance on Saturday Kitchen but chose to go through with the appearance. Proper pro and a true gent.


His sister died from some illness, he was informed just before appearing on a TV cookery programme but went through with programme anyway.


I do not think he died, his sister died....

People die....we will die as well.


No, his sister passed away. Check your facts before you type Timmay - you'll find that a second or two on google is more than sufficient.

And yes, condolences to Lynsay's family.


Very respectful of you. You're a proper fan and no mistake.


This is very interesting. Rory is a great guy. But the real problem Ferrari got is, they don't have a 'dream' team like they used to have in the Schumi-Brawn-Todt era just like they have Vettel-Adrian-Horner at Red Bull. In F1, success is not down to one individual; it is always a team thing.


If Rory is a s good engineer as he was 10 years ago, the Alonso-Byrne pair will be way more than enough.


The tesion at this time next year is going to be unbearable for F1 fans. This year looks exciting but I'd give anything for a time machine!


2014 Season should be interesting: Adrian Newey Redbull RB10 vs Ross Brawn (Geoff Willis) Mercedes W05 vs Rory Byrne Ferrari vs JAMES ALLISON Lotus F1 E22 vs Paddy Lowe / Tim Goss Mclaren F1 Mp4-29 vs Mike Coughlan Williams F1 FW36 etc. The top 6 F1 teams fighting it out. May the best designer win and take forward the legacy.


True legend.

Alonso/Rory vs Vettel/Newey in 2014? Sounds a bit too perfect! The one area that Ferrari have lacked since Rory left is creating boundary pushing cars, especially since the 2009 rule change. Here's hoping that he creates a great baseline car in 2014.


A very shrewd move on Ferrari's part, Byrne has long been touted as the one indavidual that can match Newey in the design stakes (we'll ignore the hyperbole around both men for the moment). It will be interesting to see if he can win race 100.


How can he be up to date on technology and tricks being part-time "in the loop" unless his scuba gig was a cover for Thai space program?


How many has newey cars won?


More than 99.

Goin back to 1991, Her only lean spell was the first 3 years of Red Bull 2006-2008.


I don't remember 2000 to 2006 being times of utter dominance.

In fact, Ferrari won 10, 9, 15, 8, 15, 1 and 9 races respectively from 2000 to 2006

Mclaren won 7, 4, 1, 2, 1, 10, 0 over the same years.

Newey was brilliant at Williams, and subsequently at RBR.

But when I think back to Mclaren, he was responsible for the MP4/13 in 1998, but he had some major advantages to his car that season.

Mclaren had switched to Bridgestone after backing out of a contract as Goodyear were leaving the sport early, thereby not fulifilling their contract.

Williams had lost Renault, which apart from the loss of Newey, was a short term handicap.

Ferrari were just beginning the design association with Byrne. The 1997 Ferrari had been the last design by Barnard in Guildford offices, and Todt, Brawn and Byrne were setting up a design office in Maranello.

In 1999, Ferrari were generally equal to Mclaren on pace, just Schumacher breaking his leg delayed the inevitable. Irvine was mere points from winning the championship.

In fact if Schumi had wanted to, he would have beaten Hakkinen at the last race and won it for Ferrari.

I don't know if it's something within the Mclaren organisation, but something doesn't work with their design group.

Newey had to be talked back from joining Jaguar in 2001, which in itself is very similar to Paddy Lowe currently.


Pierre, it took about 5 minutes to check Wikipedia for Mckaren victories those seasons. Ferraris stats I knew. The remainder is purely memory and observations


Very sharp observation! Thanks, hero!

Can you please confirm how much time you spent to gather all this data?


Great article. I realise this may of occured within Ferrari before. But didnt McLaren have major issues with continuity from having two design teams causing them to revert to one and Pat Fry going to Ferrari?


I think Pat Fry was already being sidelined when Ferrari poached him. Career advancement with Tim Goss, who was recently "seniorised", Paddy Lowe, Neil Oatley and some others, did not look too great. I don't think Fry has had a real major design task to accomplish at McLaren. He was notably known for being Coulthard's racetrack car engineer. As I see it, Ferrari took on a big gamble with Pat Fry as Technical Director. But then, as Ross Brawn and others have shown, design genius is not the most relevant skill for a Technical Director.


Not sure about Mclaren, but Renault had 2 design teams from around 2003 onwards. I think Mike Gascoyne initiated that strategy.

Bob Bell was one of those chief designers of the 2 times champions..


If my memory serves correct, McLaren had 2 design teams too back in 2000s. One team work on current year, the other team next year, and keep rotating each year.


It would be safer for 2014 as the rules are quite different. All the aero around the rear will be different and any exhaust blowing effect will be greatly reduced. Given the differences and an expectation that the team will be in a championship fight this year it makes sense to have two design teams focused on different things.


Given the wholesale change in rules next year I can't see it being a problem, they'll will be cleansheet cars for all the teams.


Back to the future,eh? I wonder if Rory knows any thing about Flux Capacitors?


Don't worry James, someone had to say it 🙂


Here's to hoping he gets the 100th 🙂


I really think Newey will like this.



"Unfinished business" he says! XD

Val from montreal

Ferrari and Alonso really must be getting desperate ? Now its going to be Vettel's turn to say : " I'm not racing against Alonso but against a Rory Byrne car " .... Wait a minute , it just dawned on me that Byrne's signing is possibly for the arrival of Vettel in 2015 ... Yup back to the future ! Second German driver domination repeat in Maranello ??


Are you saying that Byrne´s cars puts Newey´s cars to shame? Well Byrne´s cars have done before so I guess it can happened again. I wouldn´t be surprised if I see Vettel begging Ferrari for a seat. And Ferrari´s answer will be that they want Hulkenberg


Since when signing smart and talented people a sign of desperation?



I'm gathering from Val's post it's only desperate until Vettel joins the team. If and when that happens, it will have retrospectively been a stroke of genius...


Be aware of who posted the comment. Only Rob Newman is more outwardly anti Ferrari..


Interesting. I dont know if one man in a consultation role can make a big difference. But James, do you think the 2014 cars will be very different from each other. It will be interesting which design philosophy will win.


Interesting rule changes for 2014 f1 cars, see the following link from:


Hers the extract from wikipedia

Rule changes

"Technical regulations

The 2014 season will see the introduction of a new engine formula, with the sport moving towards a turbocharged, 1.6 litre V6 format with an 8-speed gearbox.[1] The rules dictate the use of a ninety-degree engine bank, with fixed crankshaft axis and mounting points for the chassis, while the engines will be limited to 15,000rpm. The 2014 specification of engines must last for at least 4,000 km (2,500 mi), in comparison to the pre-2014 engines, which were required to last for just 2,000 km (1,200 mi).[42]

The Kinetic Energy Recovery System (KERS), first introduced in 2009, will be incorporated into the design of the engine; its function as a supplementary power source will be taken by the introduction of the Thermal Energy Recovery System (TERS).[12] The TERS unit will give drivers an additional 161 bhp (120 kW) for thirty-three seconds per lap, compared to the KERS units used prior to 2014, which gave drivers an 80 bhp (60 kW) for six seconds per lap.[42]

The 2014 regulations require the use of lower noses than in previous years, in the interests of safety. The tip of the nose would have been no more than 185mm above the ground,[43] in comparison to the 550mm allowed in 2012.[44] The original rules—first published in August 2011—also called for a variety of bodywork changes aimed at cutting downforce, most notably through the use of narrower front wings, and a shallower angle to the main plane of rear wings. These additional changes were formally abandoned in December 2012,[45] but the requirement that cars be built with a nose no more than 185mm above the ground was retained.[46]

In order to promote fuel efficiency, cars will be required to carry no more than 100 kg (220 lb) of fuel at the start of the race, 30% less than in 2013.[42]

The position of the exhaust outlet will change so that it is now angled upwards toward the rear wing instead of downwards to face the rear diffuser so as to make the practice of using exhaust blown diffusers—passing exhaust gasses over the rear diffuser to improve the car's downforce—extremely difficult to achieve.[42]"

Again, James could we clarify if this is true and any other changes not mention.


Somewhere above says Wikipedia is not a reliable source or something... 😀


Interesting, of late, whenever Ferrari have come close to winning the driver's title, the next year they have had a difficult year.

For instance;

1) Massa was champion for 30 seconds in 2008 and then had a difficult 2009

2) Alonso nearly won the title in 2010 and then struggled in 2011.


Let goferet worry about the past, I'm looking forward to the racing to come 🙂


Massa was not champion for 30 seconds.


Ferrari din't struggle in 2011, it was just that RBR and Vettel combo was too strong.



Aah but you forget, Ferrari had problems with the hard and medium tyres in 2011.

Couldn't generate heat, I believe it was


I remember that goferet, but they were not in 6-7th place (that's what would define "struggled" to me) they were up-there with McLaren..


Desperate times call for desperate measures!


Spot on, Tombazis should take walk, he has't

made the wining single seater as yet.

From Ferrari to McLaren back to Ferrari and

nothing to write home about it.

Aldo Costa walked.


This isn't desperation at all! Ferrari are using every weapon at their disposal. Going all out isn't desperation, it's war!


This makes sense. The Ferrari design office was re-organised when Byrne "retired" and based upon the first test they have work to do during 2013 on a realistic WC bid. Having an engineer of Byrnes quality hanging round as a consultant is a great position for the Scuderia and it makes sense to put him to work on the 2014 car. The question mark is what additional resources Byrne can draw on for the 2014 car, particularly wind tunnel time which has been limited by the issues Ferrari has with their own rig.


Isn't wind tunnel time limited by the RRA but only for the current car?


Not sure on that. I guess if they are in the championship hunt other resources like more junior members of the design office, model makes etc will be working on the 2013 car. Even do having a designer of Byrnes quality full time on the 2014 car will be a huge advantage.


great news can not wait to get back racing soon .


This may be stupid question.

But, is there any chance for dropping the Turbo Engines for 2014, since it costs a lot of money to produce it?


You are right.It is.


Well Bernie has made it clear that he doesn´t want the new engines. So maybe there is some room for a turn of events.


It has already cost the money, you can be sure

Plug shouldve been pulled more than a year ago if preventing cost was the aim

By now its surely cheaper to continue as planned


Bernie wants them dropped.

From the man himself...James that is, not Bernie 🙂 -


'Ecclestone remains of the view that the new generation 1.6 litre turbo engines are bad for business and he, together with some of the race promoters, continue to apply pressure on Todt to drop the new formula, even at this late stage.'

Now back to me 🙂 -

...but with so much development already underway it's virtually certain that we will see the V6 turbos next year.

As for the cost, that's one of the major reasons the smaller teams are taking on pay drivers in an attempt to boost their coffers for next year.

Every time a new technology arrives costs go up, but those costs will come down again over time - it's just a question of how much, how long, and whether or not teams like Marussia can survive in the interim.


I read this news. And that's why I asked the question.



Lets remember that Alonso won in Bob Bell's cars, Bob who now is at Mercedes and has worked on the current car together with a certain Aldo, and will work with a certain Mr Willis who we hear was responsible for the Red Bull back in the day.

I think Mercedes are the dark horses and ferrari know damn well about Ross capabilities as a leader and a manager. And all this fuss about the role of Ross Brawn is actually out of fear and to distabilise Mercedes.

We all know that Ross had actually asked the board to release him so he can focus 100% on the technical matters. So having a non-exec like a Lauda between the team and the board covers that loophole from a corporate perspective. Yes Mercedes has grown as a business and the offsets outside formula one racing need a focused dedication and co-ordination a role that Toto has filled so the technical team does what it is supposed to do.

If they were so wrong, why has Ferrari copied that management structure of having 2 work streams?

James at time one wonder really if it is the fans commenting or teams in pseudo names to make confusion in other teams.

Lets give all teams a chance to do their thing please.



Ferrari and Mercedes don't have the same structure:

Ferrari have two dedicated development teams, one for 2013 and the other for 2014. Luca di Montezemolo is the boss with Stefano Domenicali as team principal.

Mercedes have Brawn, Lauda and Wolff in some weird and unusual love triangle that will probably end in tears.

I'm tempted to sign off as Lotus F1, but that would probably get me in trouble 🙂

Sincerely, RBR


Ross Brawn has just declared Mercedes also has split the development teams, Aldo Costa for 2013 and Geoff Willis for 2014.


Makes sense for them to do that. I think most of the big teams will end up doing the same thing, if they haven't already.


I think they are just confirming what has already been the case for longer then some realize.


Can McLaren have Gordon Murray back, please?


I don't think the "F1" will be allowed on the grid with three seats in it... 😉



A giant bearded man, wearing Hawaiian shirts and sandals in Ron's MTC...

So so funny.


Very interesting (and perhaps a little desperate) back to the future move by Ferrari. I hope it brings success.


Who wrote the 2014 regulations, I read somewhere Bryne consultated on the 2014 regs, is this true?


So Alonso will need a Bryne car to win a championship?



You'll find most drivers need a good car to win a championship...and yes, better a Byrne car than an F2012.


Indeed, very rarely has the championship been won by the guy in the 2nd best car. 1994 was probably the last occasion and that was dubious given the adelaide incident and the rumoured benetton Traction Control. To be fair though Hill did make heavy weather of having the best car at his disposal.


Fair enough if you feel outright pace is the only true barometer of a cars quality, I personally believe being right there on pace and reliable is a sign of a better car than one that dominates qually only to spew its. Internals all over the track mid race.


Are you joking ...The 1994 williams was a dog probably Newleys worst car !


Oh dear lord, you are kidding aren't you?

Let's ignore all the rumours of traction control and look at the facts.

He won the first four races, then a gearbox, stuck in 5th in Spain, allowed Hill to win. But for the gearbox problem, he would have won the opening 7 races of the season.

He was disqualified in Britain because of over-taking on the warm up lap!! Crazy ruling to spice up the show.

This also led to a 2 race ban because Benetton didn't call him immediately for a black flag, they were arguing with the FIA.

He retired in Germany after pushing Berger hard. Don't forget, the old Hockenheim with flat out straights, he was in a V8 against Berger in a V12 Ferrari.

Spa led to disqualification because of the worn away plank

Hill became a better driver than people give him credit for, but in 1994, he was in his second season and having to lead Williams after the Imola tragedy.

The FIA, effectively removed Schumacher from 4 races that year. From a season which Hill contested 16 races and Schumacher only 75% of this (12 races), he won 8 Grand Prix.

1982, Williams FW08 was not a worthy championhip winner.

1986, Prost was without doubt in an inferior car to the Williams.

1995, Benetton was not as quick as Williams but far more reliable.

2005, Mclaren far quicker than Renault.


It´s a Ferrari thing not an Alonso thing. He won 2 championships with Renault




I'm up for it


Your shout?


I think Ferrari and Alonso have a cunning plan.

You can't get out of my mind the thought that Alonso isn't somewhere building up his physio etc. He is testing 2014 car/components of it or something like that and the Byrne news somehow add to that.


Hi James one can always count on you for the most interesting news on F1....A small question,

Since Rory byrne has been away from the sport more or less since 2006 and is touching 70 yrs of age will he be up to date with all the latest technologies being used in F1 today as the sport has moved on since then or will he struggle to develop a great car like in the glory years 🙂


The people working for him will be. He's a superb engineer who knows what will work and what won't, who commands full respect in both engine and chassis departments.

He may not be as current as Newey, but he's a a skilled packager too


Yeah you should see him with some brown paper and parcel string!! LOL!


Do you really think that new design or engine will make a difference? It's not about technical specifications... It never has been. All that matters here are driving skills, we all know it.


[mod] The best driver allied to the second best car will rarely win the championship. This is one reason why the teams are rewarded in the Constructors Championship in parrallel to the Drivers Championship. Yes a good driver will maximise your chances on track (see Alonso vintage 2012)but to get the big trophy at the end of the year you generally need the best machinery at your disposal. Casting my mind back 25 years I can only think of one instance where the championship went to the driver in the 2nd best car and that was the 1994 Benetton piloted by some guy called Michael. Incidentally that car was a Byrne car.


As I replied above, I completely disagree.

The Benetton B194 was a far better car/ package than the Williams that year.

Forget a genius putting it on pole for the first three races, that doesn't mean anything but that the guy was staggering.

More significant was Schumacher winning the first two races comfortably.

In fact, bar Spain (finished 2nd with stuck in 5th gearbox) he would have won the first 7 races.

Pity you only count 25 years, I would start 27 years ago in 1986.

Prost's Mclaren wasn't close to the Williams FW11

1995 would be fair to say that the FW17 was not as good as the B195

2005, Mclaren MP4/20 was better than the Renault R25


should read, B195 not as good as FW17


Doubt this will do Ferrari any harm. Byrne was always the unsung hero of the Schumacher / Brawn / Todt Ferrari dream team. I hope they are not expecting miricles from him though much like Mercedes expected when reuniting Brawn and Schumacher. That period of Ferrari dominance was down to a combination of things not just one person.

I do think the influence of an old school designer will help when adapting to the new rules. Like Adrian Newey, Patrick Head, even going back to Colin Chapman et all, he is from a time where one person was heavily involved in the design of the whole car.

In this day in age cars are designed by different groups of people, aero boys that don't know much about engines, engine designers that don't know much about aero etc etc. With such a radical change in the rules and car design I think it will be beneficial to any team who has someone that has a firm grasp of the overall design of the car.

Basically you want a car that is greater than the sum of its parts, not one which is a collection of individually good components but is weak as a package.


very few people have successful comebacks in formula 1.

rory may have been away too long and i'd say the same thing about john barnard.


James is it true that he acted as a consultant in the design of the f2012 ? .... we all know what a dog that was! ,I also read somewhere that he was fighting prostrate cancer


jenson button became the 2009 champion after driving a car which was designed around a honda engine only for a mercedes engine to be put in it after parts of the chassis was chopped off.

this fact alone tells me that it doesn't matter who designs the engine and chassis but what matters is that they are both good and well matched. after all its always possible to make changes to accommodate an engine.

Absolute F1 Fanatics on Facebook

Adrian Newey is the most successful designer in F1’s history with nine (9) constructor’s titles.

South African Rory Byrne was the most successful designer in F1 with 7 titles but was eclipsed by Newey in 2011 with their World Constructor’s title win at Red Bull.

However Adrian Newey has never designed a car that took 6 consecutive constructors titles which Rory Byrne achieved at Ferrari between 1999 and 2004.

Newey’s title-winning cars were:

The Williams cars:

1992- FW14B

1993- FW15C

1994- FW16

1996- FW18

1997- FW19

The McLaren Car:

1998- MP4/13

The Red Bull Cars:

2010- RB6

2011- RB7

2012- RB8

Rory Byrne’s title-winning cars were:

The Benetton car:

1995- B195

The Ferrari cars:

1999- F399

2000- F1-2000

2001- F2001

2002- F2002

2003- F2003GA

2004- F2004

In the last 21 years Adrian Newey and Rory Byrne designed cars which dominated Formula One for 15 years. The successive years of 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009 were the exception.

It seems Rory Byrne has some catching up to do in 2013 and beyond. Either way, they are the very best F1 Designers the sport has ever had.

Forza F1!

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