NO HOUSE PARTY
Andy Brown is a veteran of Leyton House and worked as engineer to Mauricio Gugelmin. Now a long-time Chip Ganassi R acing team member, he returned to Silverstone to watch Newey drive the CG901 and recalled their days in ‘Miami Blue
“LOOKING BACK ON IT, WE PROBABLY TRIED TO grow too quickly, too soon. It was a small band of people in 1988 and based on the success of that year we got carried away and tried to bring everything in-house. We tried to set up our own composite facility and our own wind tunnel, and all of that was going to be based in Brackley. “The wind tunnel was bigger and faster than anything that had been built up to that ti me, a nd we ran into problems that hadn’t been experienced before, with the heat that the (rolling road) belt was generating. It was all moving around. Nowadays they are all water-cooled and made of huge single pieces of metal. Back then they were built in separate sections and with the heat it all moved at different rates. We had some
problems with air control as well, and that was creating downwash on the front wing, so we ended up with one for the CG901 that wasn’t big enough.
“The car’s most successful outing of course was the French Grand Prix and if you look at photos it has what we call lea-tray flaps’. In testing at Paul Ricard we realised we didn’t have enough front wing and the front wing extensions were fabricated from trays from the local McDonald’s! We had real ones made for the race weekend… “It took us a while to sort everything out. Adrian eventually got on top of things and re-designed the under-wing mid-season.The first half of the year
was very difficult and Mauricio didn’t qualify for four races, and Ivan (Capelli) didn’t qualify for two. One of those was the Mexican G8 the one before France. But with the new under-wing for Paul Ricard, there we were running first and second. “But by that time Adrian had already leff. He went a week before that race, so he didn’t get to enjoy the fruits of his labour. Our team manager Ian Phillips had been instrumental in keeping team spirit alive through the difficult year we had in 1989 and over the winter while we regrouped. But he contracted meningitis when in Brazil at the start of ’90, so he was off the scene and didn’t come back until the end of the year. Simon Keeble, who was an accountant from the City of London and had no idea how to run a race team, was put in charge. He was at loggerheads the whole time with Adrian, who was trying to fix problems and sort things out, which of course takes money and accountants don’t like that. The politics came to a head and Adrian ended up leaving. Tim Holloway was another member who was the heart and soul of the team, but he followed Adrian out the door because he couldn’t take the politics. The heart
was basically ripped out of the team there in the middle of ’90.
“I managed to soldier on until the end of the year when it got too much for me and Ian was fired upon his return! I leff to engineer Martin Brundle at Bra bha m, then moved to the States to work in IndyCar. “Leyton House promised so much and we had everything engineer team the
in place, when you look at what Adrian has achieved since. Unfortunately the politics wouldn’t let it happen. I remember him as very dedicated, very focused. We worked together first through the March days, from which Leyton House grew. He’d done the 1984 Formula 2 car which was a very nice, tidy little car which I then developed into the 1985 Formula 3000. I remember him in debriefs, how he’d finish with the drivers from whom we’d get information on the biggest issues. But he wouldn’t leave it at that. Affer he’d addressed those he’d go through every single item on the set-up sheet. His attention to detail was always extreme.”