APRIL 20, 1998
Ryton at Minardi
AS we predicted some weeks ago English engineer George Ryton has been appointed chief designer at Minardi and has begun work on the design of the M199 chassis at Minardi headquarters in Faenza. Ryton is a very experienced F1 engineer having been involved in the sport since 1985 when he was hired as an assistant designer with CarlÊHaas'sÊBeatriceÊLolaÊteam alongside such engineers as Neil Oatley, John Baldwin, Ross Brawn, Frank Coppuck and even Adrian Newey. When the team broke up at the end of 1986 Ryton was recruited by Reynard Racing Cars and designed the prototype Reynard F3000 car which won its debut race, driven by Johnny Herbert, in 1988. Ryton was soon recruited by JohnÊBarnard to work at Ferrari's Guildford Technical Office but after a year he received a lucrative offer to join the EuroBrunÊFormula 1 team. He set up Brun Technics, an English-based design center for the team but money was so short that Ryton could do nothing and took up an offer to work as chief designer at Tyrrell. Ryton's Tyrrell-Honda 020 took the team to sixth in the Constructors' Championship in 1991. The 020B repeated that achievement but the Yamaha-engined 020C was not a great success and Ryton went back to Ferrari to be head of the drawing office at Maranello. Three years later he branched out again, hoping to build Forti into a sensible F1 operation but again the program collapsed because of lack of financing. Ryton was offered the job of head of research and development at Prost in December 1996 but the disappointing gearbox on the AP01 this year saw him fall from favor.
Ryton's arrival at Faenza means that he will once again be working with his former Ferrari colleague Gustav Brunner and we expect there to be further recruiting in the months ahead as the new technical management strengthen the Minardi crew which already includes aerodynamicist Mariano Alperin and designer Nigel Cowperthwaite.
At the end of the current season the team will also benefit from increased involvement from Jean-Claude Migeot's FondmetalÊTechnologies, which is currently unable to work with Minardi because of a development deal it has with Benetton.