Veteran engineer Symonds to join Andretti Cadillac F1

May 22 2024 , 1:04 pm

The 70-year-old, a former technical boss of the Renault and Williams teams, will become Andretti’s executive engineering consultant once he has completed his garden leave from F1.

No date has been made public.

Andretti’s bid to join the grid in 2025 or 2026 was rejected by F1 in January.

F1 said it would reconsider the US-based company’s bid once backers Cadillac, part of car giant General Motors, had completed its promised F1 power unit in time for the 2028 season.

F1, the sport’s commercial rights holder, has declined to comment on the move.

Andretti Global chief executive officer Michael Andretti said: “We couldn’t be more excited to welcome Pat to the Andretti family.

“Pat’s keen understanding of aerodynamics, vehicle dynamics and F1 power units will be instrumental as we continue to build a competitive team.

“I believe his expertise has been pivotal in shaping the narrative of F1 and his vote of confidence in joining our effort speaks volumes.”

Andretti’s F1 technical director Nick Chester said: “I have had the pleasure to work with Pat in the past and he has a wealth of knowledge we can draw upon. He will bring expertise across technical areas and team operations that will help us develop the team.”

Symonds has been F1’s chief technical officer since 2017, and was instrumental along with former managing director Ross Brawn in the creation of the latest technical regulations, which were introduced in 2022.

The aim of these rules was to make the field more competitive and the racing closer. It is questionable whether they have succeeded – Red Bull have achieved unprecedented levels of domination since their introduction.

In recent times, Symonds has been working alongside F1’s governing body the FIA on the new technical rules that will be introduced in 2026. These are set to be published at the end of June.

It had been agreed within F1 some time ago that Symonds would step down from his role once his work on the 2026 rules was complete.

Symonds’ F1 career started with the Toleman team in 1981. He stayed with the company as it morphed first into Benetton in 1986 and then was taken over by Renault in 2001.

He won world titles there with Michael Schumacher in 1994 and 1995, and Fernando Alonso in 2005 and 2006.

Symonds, along with then Renault team principal Flavio Briatore, was banned from the sport for five years for his involvement in the Singapore Grand Prix scandal of 2008, known as Crashgate.

Nelson Piquet Jr crashed his car deliberately with the agreement of the team with the aim of helping his team-mate Alonso, who went on to win the race.

But a French tribunal overturned the ban in 2010 and Symonds and Briatore reached a settlement with the FIA whereby he could return to F1 in 2013.

He worked initially as a consultant of the Virgin team before joining Williams as chief technical officer in 2013, and then moving on to his role with F1.

Andretti is pushing on with his F1 programme despite his rejection, both in terms of designing an F1 car and I pursuing all avenues to secure an entry.

Meanwhile, six US senators have asked, external the country’s department of justice and federal trade commission to look into F1 Management’s decision to reject Andretti’s bid for entry.

F1 Management is owned by a US company, Liberty Media.

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