JANUARY 6, 1997
Jordan gets John Davis
A graduate mechanical engineer, Davis completed a doctorate in aerodynamics at Imperial College, London and his work in the windtunnel there drew him to the attention of Team Lotus, which he joined in 1982. After the death of Colin Chapman a few months later, Davis worked with Gerard Ducarouge until 1986 when he moved across to work for Peter Wright at Lotus Engineering. He rejoined the racing team in December 1990 when Wright and Peter Collins took it over, becoming head of research and development.
In August 1992 Ducarouge joined Ligier and immediately recruited Davis to be head of R&D at Magny-Cours. Soon afterwards Cyril de Rouvre bought Ligier, but by the end of 1993 the team was in trouble following De Rouvre's arrest. Davis has not been involved in F1 since.
Davis's immediate task is to make sure that the Jordan windtunnel is accurate and properly calibrated. The tunnel is 10 years old and was built for March's Aerotech offshoot by a young Nick Wirth. It was used to develop Adrian Newey's March CG891 F1 car and for a variety of March Indycars and the Aerotech speed record car. It was then sold to Leyton House when the team went independent of March. It was later sold to ex-March boss Robin Herd and used for the Fomet 1 and the later Larrousse chassis. It was upgraded to take 40% scale models in the course of last season.
Davis joins a talented - and expanding - engineering crew at Jordan, although the team will shortly lose its chief aerodynamicist Darren Davies who is joining the Arciero Wells Racing Indycar team. Seamus Malarky has been appointed head of the aerodynamics department.