F1 expands team for future technical rules

Former Williams head of aerodynamics Jason Somerville is joining Formula One’s new motorsport managing director Ross Brawn as the sport recruits more experts to advise on future technical regulations.

Somerville will be “part of a small group of engineers, dedicated to researching fully the direction and implications of future regulations”, Formula One said on Friday in a statement.

They will liaise with the FIA Formula One technical department and the teams “with a view to improving the entertainment value, the sustainability and the sport of Formula One”.

Nigel Kerr, a key player in the Brawn GP management buyout from Honda and sale to Mercedes in 2009, joins as finance director for motorsports.

Another of Brawn’s former colleagues Craig Wilson arrives as head of vehicle performance.

Brawn says his team is “probably two thirds of what I want now”.

He recognised there was an element of poacher-turned-gamekeeper with his appointment and the team he was recruiting.

“We want sets of regulations that make sustainable, close racing,” said the former technical director, who won a string of titles with Michael Schumacher at Benetton and Ferrari before more success in 2009 as principal of his own team.

During that time, he was famed for making the most of grey areas in the regulations and winning the argument when challenged.

“It’s a team’s job not to have close racing. And that’s where I’ve been for many years, trying to avoid close racing by being the best,” said the Briton.

“So it’s just going to be a constant process and we are building the teams now within FOM (Formula One Management) in order to … understand what needs to be done to keep the sport as closely competitive as possible.”

Brawn, appointed after Liberty Media took control of the sport in January and ousted Bernie Ecclestone as commercial supremo, had repeatedly said there could be no quick fix to improve racing.

“The steps we make need to be secure steps and they need to be well researched and well thought out,” he said.

“The more fundamental changes need a lot of work and a lot of consideration and the arguments need a lot of substance, to make sure that we can carry them with the teams and (the governing) FIA.”

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