It seems July is the silly season for Formula One personnel, what with Loic Bigois and Jorg Zander moving to Honda from Williams and BMW respectively. And now, today, Honda have announced that Sporting Director Gil De Ferran will be leaving to pursue other interests.
Coming off the back of a maiden victory in Hungary last year, the Honda team have experienced a disastrous 2007 campaign in comparison. But a spate of signings recently will not have a serious impact until next year, the loss of De Ferran may be felt immediately. Although Gil was only the Sporting Director, his persona and people skills appeared to help gel the squad together, and while new people will liven up the morale in the team, losing a key member will give the appearance of taking two steps forward and one step back.
Possibly better known for his Indianapolis 500 win and two Cart titles, De Ferran has worked hard at Honda since joining in 2005, oddly enough when the team were last in a slump. But having become increasingly uncomfortable at the team, has now chosen to pursue currently unknown opportunities elsewhere. His leaving will take effect immediately.
I have a huge amount of respect and admiration for Honda, with whom I have been successfully associated for more than 10 years. Consequently, my decision to leave has not been an easy one. I simply feel that I came to this team to fulfil a particular role and it has not materialised as I had hoped. I would like to thank everyone at the team for the support I have been given and I wish them luck in the future. Gil De Ferran.
I am disappointed that Gil is leaving our team. Since he joined us in 2005 we have enjoyed a very positive relationship. However, a Formula One team is rather like a jigsaw puzzle in that every piece has to fit precisely in its place. Gil has become increasingly uncomfortable in his role and feels the time has now come to seek fresh opportunities. We are very much hoping that Gil will choose to maintain close links with the Honda family. Nick Fry.