Pat Symonds back in F1 with Virgin

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.”


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27 responses to “Pat Symonds back in F1 with Virgin

  1. I just don’t get why this is okay. I really don’t.

  2. jim

    “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.”

    Yes, nobody can spot the perfect place to crash like Pat can…

  3. Fulveo Ballabeo

    Tremendously, invaluably experienced? No doubt.

    But also a self-confessed cheater, in the biggest scandal ever to hit F1…and perhaps all of sport, given the level of danger involved.

    A shame Marussia Virgin (and, for that matter, F1 Racing Magazine) would choose to align themselves with that.

  4. Annie

    Until now I liked Virgin. Not anymore.

  5. This is an interesting development. Since it is unlikely that any of the bosses at Virgin would put Pat under the sorts of pressure Flavio did at Renault, it should be pretty safe for him to be a consultant to them. Hopefully this means Pat will get to do something to try and rehabilitate his reputation.

    • Very interesting comment – amazing how much negativity there is out there re Pat. On the other hand, we shouldn’t forget that Singapore happened.

      • Alberto Dietz

        We shouldn’t forget, but someone did and then gave us Radiogate.

      • Stone the crows

        Yes there is, between Briatore and Symonds I would say that Pat gave the impression of coming clean and regreting what happened at Singapore. Adam, would you say that the F-1 community is more sympathetic to Symonds than to Briatore? Or is the general consensus that they both were given too harsh a penalty?

      • D

        Why wouldnt there be negativity towards him?

        He could have prevented it from happening. He could have admitted things earlier.

        When his character was tested he failed in spectacular fashion.

        Then again given that you have ties to another organisation which has been happy to employ him since that incident I guess you cant be too critical publically 🙂

      • Yeah right, you got me. And there was an ad for the Renault Megane in Autosport the other week and as you’ve probably noticed I’ve done nothing but sing the praises of the French manufacturer ever since! It doesn’t really work like that…

      • I was hoping you might expand a bit on why you find the amount of negativity “amazing.” The only thing I find amazing is that there isn’t *more* negativity! Symonds willingly participated in one of the most disgraceful scandals in F1 history, and what are the consequences? Lucrative F1 consulting work, motorsport magazine columns, and high-profile public appearances (like at Autosport International), apparently. Between the decision of the French courts, the media coverage, and the people willing to hire him, it seems there have hardly been any negative consequences — not long term, anyway, and hardly even medium term.

        What am I missing?

      • I have never defended Pat or certainly Briatore over what happened, and like many others I find it hard to believe that Alonso was an innocent party. The fact is the deal that was ultimately agreed with the FIA allows him to do this, and Virgin are allowed to use him. Indeed in just 22 months’ time he can pop up as technical or engineering director at any team up and down the pitlane. I’m not saying that’s right or wrong, it’s a fact. Even murderers get out of jail and are allowed to start a new life. If you read the letter he wrote to the World Motor Sport Council – which was pretty much dismissed out of hand in proceedings steered by Max Mosley, a man not entirely free of controversy himself – you’d know just how much regret he had about getting himself into that situation. I think we can imagine that working for Briatore for 20 years cannot have been easy, but nevertheless that’s no excuse and like I said I’m not defending him. What does surprise me is people saying that this will turn them against Virgin – it just seems a little extreme.

  6. D

    Someone had to be desperate enough to take him eventually.

    Clearly Virgin dont give a shit for their public image; hopefully the media and particularly TV will rip them to shreds for this one.

  7. Stone the crows

    Symonds and Briatore fell into the trap of allowing ethics to take a back seat to results. Desperation will do that, Marussia/Virgin should beware of doing the same with hiring Pat before his time in Elba is over.

  8. ElChiva

    pheasants with pitch forkrs shan’t hinder my master’s biddings. Flavio’s time is nigh!!!

  9. wow

    wow all the 1 malaysia fans scared that virgin are going to tear them apart this year are running scared!!!

  10. Stone the crows

    “What does surprise me is people saying that this will turn them against Virgin – it just seems a little extreme.” Yes it is a wonder some don’t injure themselves jumping to conclusions, and having knee-jerk reactions.

    • russ mckennett

      or hold SPORTING figures to sporting standards.
      Is formula one a sport or not?If not,then cheating is less of an issue.
      If it is supposed to be a sport,then it is corrupt and should be banned.
      Im sick and tired of the hipocracy.It is what it is.

      • Stone the crows

        The hipocrates are now being pursued by the pheasants.

      • bem

        russ, first calm down. Second, cheating has always been part of car racing, it’s not whether you cheat but whether you get caught. Third, “sporting standards?” ROFL. Pro sports are for entertainment, if you’re looking to athletes for high standards you’re looking in the wrong direction. At the end of the day, whether a person or team loses or wins makes no difference in life. You want to insist on high standards, look at doctors, scientists, teachers, governments, people that matter.

        Fourth, this is F1: 10% sports, 90% politics, glamour, high-tech, money, scandals, soap operas, “the circus.” You want more sports and heros go follow WRC, Dakar Rally, Moto GP, and the likes. You think half the people who go to an F1 race care who cheats or even who wins? They only go there to get entertained. Look who walks around the grid before the race, politicians, movie stars, rich people. They don’t care who cheats, they care who takes their photo, who asks for their autograph.

        Just pop some corn, expect a scandal at every corner, and enjoy the ride!

  11. F1 Kitteh

    Wow I think you have a lot of readers on this blog that are angels lol

  12. Mark J

    C’mon please all you people sitting on your horses get off them and stop laying your boots into Virgin. If you have a guy like Symonds waiting around twiddling his thumbs and you are a young team needing to develop a car then why not ask a guy who has been around for over 20 odd years in F1? I’m sure anyone in Virgin’s situation would, and it makes sense. Yes what he did was wrong in the extreme, but this is F1 and unless you are ignorant or naive you are not going to succeed or make your car go fast by being morally correct. By the rules he is available as a consultant so Virgin are allowed to hire him. Michael Schumacher parked his car once in qualifying to stop others getting pole, drove into someone else twice in trying to win World Championships and he still is employed (Don’t tell me that was anymore dangerous than what Piquet Jr. did)… Don’t even start me on when teams have bent to the rules to try win races world championships. Honda with the extra fuel tank, Mclaren and the espionage case, heaven knows how many things Ferrari have tried in their time. Symonds and Briatore were stupid enough to get caught and were rightfully punished. But don’t go bagging a team trying to get a performance advantage hiring a guy who has done his time for his crime.

  13. …As if Pat Symonds is the only person ever involved in some context with cheating in F1? I am not condoning what happened at all, but this is a ruthless business we are talking about. The only difference is he got caught! I can assure you I am still very much a fan of Virgin Racing!

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