Prost's technical team

ALAIN PROST has been quietly building up his technical team in recent weeks with the hiring of a number of new young designers for his drawing office at Magny-Cours which is run by veteran Ligier engineer Claude Delbet under the instructions of chief designer Loic Bigois. This team includes the highly-rated young suspension engineer Damien Py.

British engineer George Ryton - a longtime collaborator of John Barnard - is looking after research and development, his most recent project having been the design of the 1998 gearbox, which was run for the first time last week at Magny-Cours by Olivier Panis.

Prost is intending to use this team to build the first Prost-Peugeot, which is due to be finished in mid-December but will not test until January, when Peugeot's contract with Jordan will be over.

We anticipate that Renault Sport's technical director Bernard Dudot will quit at the end of the season when Renault withdraws from F1 and will take up the role of technical director at Prost. We also believe that Peugeot's technical coordinator Jacky Eeckelaert will switch to a similar role at Prost, working with his former Peugeot colleagues.

One man which does not appear to be joining Prost is his longtime friend and collaborator Hugues de Chaunac - who has long been tipped to take over as team director. We hear that despite de Chaunac's enthusiasm for the job, Prost has decided that it is best not to employ his friends.

Cesare Fiorio, incidentally, looks set to stay with the team - despite his past differences with Alain. He is well-connected in the paddock, which is useful for Prost, but has almost no involvement with the team between races.

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