SEPTEMBER 4, 2000
Hamidy for Jordan
THE highly-rated Egbahl Hamidy is to design Jordan Grand Prix's car in 2002, despite the fact that he is under contract to Arrows for another two years. The Iranian-born engineer is understood to have informed Arrows boss Tom Walkinshaw that he wishes to leave Arrows next summer and there is little that Walkinshaw can do to stop him. British law courts are now only insisting on six months of "gardening leave" for engineers as it has successfully been argued that longer periods out of action adversely affect an engineer's ability to earn as they are not able to keep up with developments during their period out of action.
Walkinshaw's only real course of action will be to agree to a deal with a pay-off from Jordan. Eddie is currently talking about a similar deal with Flavio Briatore of Benetton, resulting from Mike Gascoyne's decision to leave Jordan early and is hoping that the Benetton money can be used to pay off Walkinshaw. The alternative is to take Hamidy to court. The famously-litigious Walkinshaw will probably not do this as Hamidy might then stop work on the 2001 car. If Walkinshaw did take legal action he would still probably not be able to stop Hamidy working at Jordan by the summer of 2001 even allowing for delays in court hearings in Britain. He might also end up having to pay court costs.
This means that Hamidy will be at Jordan in time to design the 2002 Jordan-Honda.
The 40-year-old Hamidy will have to wait for the construction of a new Jordan windtunnel, which will probably not be ready until 2003, but this might not be a disadvantage as Hamidy knows exactly what is needed to do the job properly as he was heavily involved with the design of the windtunnel currently being used by Williams. Jordan has an adequate facility at Brackley which was rebuilt in 1998 by Dr. John Davis, who has been working with Hamidy at Arrows in recent months.
Hamidy has an impressive background in F1. He was trained as an aeronautical engineer at Imperial College London but because of his Iranian ancestry was unable to get a job in the aerospace industry in the early 1980s and so decided to study for a doctorate in vehicle dynamics instead. During these studies he used the Honda windtunnel at Imperial College and so came into contact with F1 teams. He joined Williams in 1988 and worked under Patrick Head and then Adrian Newey. He left Williams at the end of 1996 to become head of aerodynamics at the new Stewart Grand Prix and his work helped the team to finish fourth in the last year's Constructors' Championship. Before that happened, however, he had left Stewart when Gary Anderson joined the team and in August last year was named chief designer at Arrows. Since then he has been working at the Arrows windtunnel facility in Bedford, regarded as one of the best F1 windtunnels at the moment.
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