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Changes at Stewart Grand Prix

THERE have been some significant changes at Stewart Grand Prix in recent weeks with the appointment of a new managing-director David Ring. The 36-year-old Briton is experienced in management in the aerospace industry and has spent the last four years as chief executive of the Hamble Group.

Ring replaces Paul Stewart as managing-director, Jackie's son having been moved to become Deputy Chairman of the team. The moves come after management consultants looked closely at the operation of the team.

In addition operations director Andy Miller has been appointed Racing Director and will run the team at events, while logistics will continue to be handled by team manager David Stubbs.

There have also been changes in the technical team at Stewart, following the arrival of Gary Anderson. Former Jordan men Darren Davis and Simon Smart will be playing big roles in the revamped Stewart team, with Davis - who has spent the last year working with the Arciero Wells CART team in the United States of America - taking over the aerodynamic department from the departed Egbahl Hamidy and Smart moving from engineering with the Jordan test team to work with Anderson and Johnny Herbert. Rubens Barrichello is to be engineered by Robin Geary, who was with Stewart last year, while MalcolmĘTierney and Andy LeFleming - who were both with the race team last year - will now concentrate on the research and development at Stewart, using their F1 experience to better effect than race engineering.

The team hopes to be fully prepared this year and will have three of the SF3 chassis ready by the end of the month. "I think we are properly prepared for 1999," team boss Jackie Stewart said at the launch of the car in Birmingham last week. "We could win a Grand Prix in 1999 but we would need a little bit of good luck."

The SF3 is an all-new car - designed by the now-departed Alan Jenkins - with Anderson's influence limited to parts which did not create delays in the production process. More Anderson developments will appear as the season progresses.

While the SF2 featured a composite gearbox this year's car will use a more traditional magnesium unit, as a result of reliability problems in 1998 and the accent at the moment is very much on the car being reliable. The big question mark in this is that Cosworth Racing - now a Ford subsidiary - has produced a dramatic new V10 engine which is considerably lighter, lower and shorter than the previous unit. The CR1 V10 is a big risk and has been hurried out much quicker than previous Cosworth engines. It has been designed by Nick Hayes at Cosworth but has involved considerable input from Ford engineers in Dearborn, Michigan. The new engine ran for the first time on a test bed on December 18 and five days later the first CR1 ran in the back of the Stewart chassis during a quick shakedown test at Silverstone. The engine weighs only 100 kg and has no carry-over parts from the old Zetec-R.

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