Pat Symonds has returned to F1 with Marussia Virgin Racing in a consultancy role.
Symonds – who is not allowed to have a hands-on operational job until the start of 2013 – has been retained by one of the team’s shareholders.
Team President Graeme Lowdon confirmed to this blog today: “Pat is working as an independent consultant, and he’s advising us. He’s not coming to the races or anything like that. It’s a very positive thing for us as he has got a huge amount of experience, and experience is a scarce resource for us as a newer team. I’m sure Pat can bring a lot of value to the team.”
He previously worked with Virgin technical director Nick Wirth at Benetton in the late nineties.
Symonds left Renault after the 2009 Italian GP in the wake of the ‘Crashgate’ scandal. He later received a five-year ban from the sport, in the form of the FIA threatening to take away the licences of any teams that might try to employ him.
That decision was then challenged in January 2010 by France’s Tribunal de Grande Instance, which found against the WMSC’s decision.
In April it was agreed with the FIA that Symonds and Flavio Briatore would have to stay away from the sport only until the end of 2012. An FIA statement read: “They have undertaken to abstain from having any operational role in Formula One until 31 December 2012, as well as in all the other competitions registered on the FIA calendars until the end of the 2011 sporting season.”