Agathangelou goes to Jaguar

RENAULT SPORT's Ben Agathangelou, moved sideways by the recent appointment of John Iley as the team's new head of aerodynamics, has left the Enstone team and will start work on May 1 as the new head of aerodynamics at Jaguar Racing. According to the team Agathangelou will now oversee the work being done by Mark Handford and chief designer John Russell. In effect this means that we can expect to see both men on the move to other jobs in the not-too-distant future. Russell is quite likely to return to Williams (and would probably be welcomed back) while Handford's future is less obvious although he has a very high reputation in the United States.

Agathangelou has been in Formula 1 since joining McLaren in August 1994. He stayed three years before moving to Tyrrell but the team was being taken over by British American Tobacco at the time and he stayed for less than a year before joining Harvey Postlethwaite's Honda Racing Developments team as chief aerodynamicist. He joined Benetton after the Honda program collapsed following Postlethwaite's death.

The appointment of Iley as chief aerodynamicist in his place a couple of months ago signalled his likely departure from Renault Sport and Jaguar is in desperate need of aerodynamic improvement. Things will be helped by the fact that Agathangelou will have access to a new windtunnel in Britain - which Handford has not had. The new Jaguar windtunnel, built by Adrian Reynard as a copy of the BAR aerodynamic facility, is expected to become operational next week

The move is the first major appointment made by Jaguar Racing's managing director (and technical director) Gunther Steiner as he tries to build up the troubled Jaguar operation.

"There isn't a big disparity between the teams these days when it comes to engines, tires and other major components, as was the case a few years ago," Steiner said, "so to extract any true performance improvement these days takes experienced aerodynamicists."

Steiner says that the new windtunnel will operate 16 hours a day to begin with before moving to 24 hour a day operation as soon as possible.

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