Veteran designer Byrne back at Ferrari
Rory Byrne, one of the figureheads in Ferrari's dominance of the early 2000s, is working at Maranello as mentor to chief designer Simone Resta.
Byrne was design chief at Ferrari at the start of the last decade and, along with Jean Todt, Ross Brawn and driver Michael Schumacher, helped the team win six constructors' and five drivers' titles in six years. Last year Ferrari's first winless campaign since 1993 triggered a massive upheaval, with three team principal changes through the year and the departures of president Luca di Montezemolo and high-profile staff such as Pat Fry.
Maurizio Arrivabene took over from Marco Mattiacci as team principal in November and during the second Barcelona test confirmed the semi-retired Byrne, 71, is back at the team.
"I have to tell you something funny," Arrivavene told journalists in Barcelona. "I spoke with Rory, I've known him for a long time. I asked him 'are you keen to work together with us, with your success, in the future to be a bit more involved?' Without taking anything away from Simone Resta, who is our chief designer.
"And you know, I saw in Rory a kind of light. It's unbelievable, a guy like this of his age, and he's still enthusiastic like a baby. I was really surprised. One night near to Christmas I went to a restaurant and I found Rory, who was eating very, very quickly, and I said 'Rory, calm down, where do you have to run!?' He had to run immediately back to the factory for a meeting with Resta."
Arrivabene explained in detail Byrne's new role and explained his experience of winning was something invaluable to Ferrari, which has not won a title since 2008.
"Rory is working with Simone, he's giving to Simone as a mentor because of his experience and he's working on some detail of the car. Most people might think Rory is part of history, I don't think so. We are talking about the chief designer guru all the time but Rory isn't one of the guys who didn't win, he's one of the guys who won a lot.
"Having a father or mentor for Simone is not a bad thing especially not when his enthusiasm is going up to the sky. I was talking to James [Allison] about it and he said 'why not?'. Rory has my utmost respect, especially for that night I saw him eating with the light inside his eyes."