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Rory Byrne goes to Ferrari

RORY BYRNE has been appointed chief designer at Ferrari and will head the design team of the 1998 Ferrari F1 car. He will work with technical director Ross Brawn and aerodynamicist Wilhem Toet, recreating the same technical team which designed the Benetton-Ford B194, with which Michael Schumacher won the 1994 World Championship.

Byrne's move has been rumored for some time although Ross Brawn has consistently denied that such a thing would happen. The 53-year-old South African had let it be known that he had decided to retire from Formula 1 and had plans to open a scuba-diving school in Thailand.

Byrne's arrival at Ferrari means that, as expected, John Barnard will not be continuing with the team beyond the end of his contract in June. Until then Barnard's Ferrari Design and Development facility in Shalford will produce parts for Ferrari.

Barnard will take over the facility and is expected to conclude a deal with Alain Prost to do design and development work for the Frenchman when he takes over the Ligier F1 team. Barnard says that he is still using the British Aerospace half-scale rolling road windtunnel at Filton and expects to sign a new two-year contract with the company shortly. Ferrari no longer needs the facility as it will shortly open what is expected to be a 66% rolling road tunnel in Maranello.

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