Technical reshuffle heralds start of McLarens 2011 campaign 27 Jan 2011
In a little over a week McLaren will take the wraps of their 2011 car, but before the MP4-26 makes its long-awaited debut the British team have announced a reorganisation of their technical line-up. As part of the reshuffle, engineering director Paddy Lowe will graduate to the role of technical director.
Lowe will continue to lead the teams technical strategy but will also spearhead innovative new technical Formula One projects. As a result of his new role, Tim Goss, the chief engineer of last years MP4-25, will become McLaren Racings director of engineering, whilst McLaren veteran Neil Oatley is to continue in his role as director of design and development programmes.
Its great for Neil and me to be joined by Tim as another director on the technical side, explained Lowe. With the three of us, well not only be able to more efficiently spread our workload, but, through Tim and me, well also share race attendance.
"Its very important to have senior technical management at the racetrack, because thats where you score the points, but, equally, if you spend all your time away then you risk overlooking some of the hard work that happens back at the factory.
Goss, who joined the team back in 1990, has been juggling more and more responsibility ever since Pat Fry left for rivals Ferrari last season.
I used to be jointly responsible for the direction of our cars with Pat, he explained. Now Ive taken on both roles - but theres obviously been some shifting of responsibilities within the team as, clearly, I cant do the work of two people. As director of engineering, my role will be to co-ordinate a small team of project engineers who are responsible for the specification, design and development of our cars.
Between them, the trio boast 62 years of McLaren service and have been central players in the teams technical successes over the years.
The first project I did at McLaren was the power-braking system in 1993, Lowe explained. It was really exciting because we only had six races to invent it, deliver it and race it (before it was outlawed at the end of the season). We developed it over three races, we raced it for three and won two of them - it was worth one second a lap. Very satisfying!
Brake-steer, too. That was a great project. Steve Nichols came up with the initial idea, but I made it happen within the team, which was very rewarding. One second a lap just for having a very good idea. A great shame it was also later outlawed.
The MP4-20 was a very satisfying car. It was the first car with which, as a chief engineer, I felt we all really harnessed our team together. I felt real ownership of what I brought to that car. And it should have won the championship if only wed made it more reliable because it won 10 Grands Prix that season!
Goss has also played an integral role in some of the British teams greatest technical innovations, including their seamless-shift gearbox.
Wed spent several years working on some very innovative transmission projects - and eventually we settled on bringing a seamless-shift gearbox into Formula One, he explained. And we were working to a particularly tight schedule to not only introduce a new type of technology and new control software, but also make sure it worked in a bulletproof way. Happily, it worked particularly well that season and gave us a big edge over the opposition.
After their second-place finish in the constructors standings last season, McLaren's reshuffled technical line-up will be hoping to return the team to championship glory in 2011 with the help of the MP4-26. Following the new cars launch in Berlin on February 4, it will be put through its paces at three pre-season tests before making its race debut at Marchs Bahrain Grand Prix.
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