Gilles Simon has left his role as the FIA’s Director, Technical and Powertrain to join Craig Pollock’s new P.U.R.E. organisation as technical director.
P.U.R.E has the support of Jean Todt, who is keen for new entrants to come to F1 and push along turbo and energy recovery development.
Simon has a close relationship with Jean Todt, and followed his fellow Frenchman from Peugeot to Ferrari and then to the FIA. He has been instrumental in defining the rules for the new turbo era and as such has been deeply involved in discussions with the engine manufacturers, some of whom may be surprised that he has now joined the new project.
His arrival emphasises that P.U.R.E. will feature a core of former Renault and Peugeot personnel.
Simon worked at Renault and Peugeot (on the Group C V10) before joining Ferrari. His roles there included Engine Project Manager (1994-1997), Head of Engine Development (1997-2006) and Head of the Engine and Electronics Department (2006-2009).
“This appointment marks another key milestone in the development of P.U.R.E.,” said Pollock. “With Gilles Simon on board we have an exceptional and proven powertrain designer who has been instrumental in driving an environmentally friendly agenda into F1.”
“Making F1 more environmentally friendly is a personal goal of mine,” said Simon. “The 2014 powertrain regulations mark the biggest change in this area of F1 for a generation. This opportunity to develop the P.U.R.E powertrain is a fantastic challenge and allows me to go to back to my passion – designing engines.”
The cosy relationship between Pollock, P.U.R.E and Jean Todt was emphasised by the FIA president providing a quote for the announcement: “Gilles leaves the FIA with my thanks and best wishes. We have worked together on a variety of projects over many years, at Peugeot, Ferrari and at the FIA, and I know how much of his life has been devoted to his love of designing powertrains.
“After a very fruitful 18-month period at the FIA where he has been able to leave a significant legacy in the 2014 powertrain regulations, Gilles has been offered an opportunity at P.U.R.E. that will enable him to make a substantial contribution to a new era in F1. I wish him a successful future.”
At Silverstone Pollock told this writer that he was disappointed that the I4 engine had been dropped, and added that he could have a V6 ready for 2013 rather than 2014. When we chatted he said he was on his way to see Simon…