There is a common thread to all Michael Schumacher’s F1 drivers’ championships: Rory Byrne, the South African designer. He announced his retirement back in 1995 having designed Michael Schumacher’s championship winning 1994 and 1995 Benettons and was then lured to Ferrari despite his retirement plans. He then again stepped away from the design coalface during the design of the 2005 Ferrari challenger with a view to retire by the end of 2006.
While he has stuck to his plans not to be the designer of the car (leaving that role to Aldo Costa, his right hand man since he joined Ferrari in 1996), he has now agreed to stay at Ferrari for two more years in a consulting role.
“With this car, we’ve made the final step we wanted to make where Aldo is totally responsible.” said Ross Brawn, Ferrari’s technical director, at a news conference in Mugello.
“Rory is assuming a new position at Ferrari, he has agreed to stay with Ferrari for another two years. Rory will stay as a consultant working on projects that we agree on together, primarily looking at projects for the future of Ferrari” he added.
Byrne’s continued involvement is sure to benefit the team as he has played a very active role in each of Michael Schumacher’s championships, as well as Ferrari’s 21st century successes. For more on the role of the ace designer in a modern Formula 1 team see The Newey Factor: Red Bull to Podium?
Edu de Jager