Formula 1 Ferrari: Schumi designer is now making Leclerc fast
Background: In 2020, Ferrari team boss Mattia Binotto brought his former boss out of his retirement in Thailand to provide the Ferrari engineering and design team with advice and support. From Thailand, where Byrne runs a real estate business with his wife, he has been supplying Ferrari with his ideas ever since.
For ex-Formula 1 driver Marc Surer it is therefore clear: “The extension of the contract sounds like a huge thank you,” said the Swiss to AUTO BILD. “Byrne seems to have done a super job in his role.”
Alone: In times of wind tunnels and complex computer simulations, the South African is considered a kind of Gyro Gearloose, like Red Bull designer Adrian Newey, who starts designing a car on a drawing board. But while Newey gets his best ideas in the shower, Byrne comes up with the technique tricks that make the difference while shaving.
Ex-Formula 1 driver Surer tells an anecdote about this: “In the early 1980s I was allowed to test the Toleman, whose designer was Byrne. For thermal reasons, he had to move the radiators on the car. After that, the Toleman was half a second faster. Everyone puzzled why. The next morning, an excited Rory Byrne came to the circuit. He had only shaved half his face. While shaving, the answer came to him as to why the car was going faster. That’s Rory Byrne.”
Ex-Ferrari driver Gerhard Berger is also certain that Byrne has a lot to do with Ferrari’s resurrection. Today’s DTM boss to AUTO BILD: “In his own way, Byrne is just as much a genius as Newey. Even in the 80s, like today, we had big problems with the so-called bouncing, the extreme hopping of the cars on the straight Rory Byrne on the subject.”
It is noticeable that Mercedes loses a lot of lap time with the bouncing, but not Ferrari. Berger: “Byrne is a guarantee that the cars will remain at a top level throughout the season.”
In addition, it was certainly not a disadvantage that F1 technical director Ross Brawn and ex-Benetton technician Pat Symonds developed the radical vehicle regulations for 2022. Both are old companions of Byrne, first working with him at Benetton and, in Brawn’s case, later at Ferrari. It would be natural to assume that as the rules were being developed, they would often consult Byrne as well.