Fury at hiring of FIA man
Formula 1 teams and engine suppliers are furious that the FIA allowed engine expert Gilles Simon to walk straight into a new job with Craig Pollock’s PURE concern.
As the FIA’s technical and power train director, Simon was key to the formulation of the 2014 V6 turbo rules. Over the past 18 months he has had privileged access to detailed commercial and technical information from Ferrari, Mercedes, Renault and Cosworth.
But on August 1 — five days after a public announcement — he joined prospective Fl engine supplier PURE as its new technical director, to in effect help set up a direct rival to the four companies he had been dealing with. Pollock said Simon had been hired some months earlier while still regarded by the engine makes as a trusted FIA man.
Simon made the move with the blessing of long-time colleague and mentor Jean Todt, with whom he worked at Peugeot and Ferrari before being headhunted for the FIA job. Todt even provided a supportive quote for the PURE press announcement.
Simon’s predecessor as FIA technical consultant, former Jaguar Racing boss Tony Purnell, had a contract which specified he could not work in Fl on leaving the FIA. He was hired by Max Mosley.
Privately, teams and engine manufacturers are seething, although they have been diplomatic in public, saying that measures should be put in place to stop a repeat.
“I know Gilles will behave in the proper way,” said Ferrari’s Stefano Domenicali. “But we have asked [the FIA1 to consider this situation, because right or wrong, it’s better to avoid speculation.”