OCTOBER 9, 2000

Durand to join Prost

Prost Grand Prix is expected to announce shortly that it has signed Frenchman Henri Durand to be its new technical director. The team has not had a technical director since the middle of the year when Alain Prost fired Alan Jenkins after a group of French engineers within the team rebelled against the Englishman's ideas.

The 40-year-old from Toulouse graduated from the famous Ecole Nationale Superieure de l'Aeronautique et de l'Espace and joined Ligier in 1983. He was involved in the design of the Ligier-Renault JS23 and JS25 and in 1986 his JS27 helped the team to finish fifth in the World Championship. In 1987 Durand accepted an offer from John Barnard to work at Ferrari and Durand developed the radical 639 and 640 designs which were very successful in 1898 and 1990. In the middle of 1990, when Prost was fighting for the World Championship, Durand left the team to replace Mike Gascoyne at McLaren and he has been head of McLaren's aerodynamic programs ever since, working in the windtunnel at the National Physical Laboratory in Teddington.

It may be that the move is related to some form of deal between McLaren and Prost as there have been rumors for some time that the French team will take over the Teddington windtunnel when the new McLaren windtunnel in Woking is finished. This could be possible by the middle of next year.

Prost is expected to announce Durand and other recruits in the weeks ahead.