OCTOBER 26, 2006

Who is Gilles Simon?

The new head of the engine department at Ferrari is a Frenchman, 48-year-old Gilles Simon, who studied at the Ecole des Mines, one of France's top engineering schools. He graduated in 1984 and immediately joined the research and development department at Renault, where he spent the next four years before being hired by rival Peugeot to work on the V10 engine which Peugeot was planning to use in the World Sportscar Championship and the Le Mans 24 Hours, beginning in 1990. That programme was a great success, culminating in a Peugeot 1-2-3 at Le Mans in 1993.

Jean Todt then left to join Ferrari and Peugeot Sport came under the control of former racer Jean-Pierre Jabouille and the engineers began to develop an F1 V10 and entered F1 in 1994 with McLaren. By then Simon had departed and was working with Todt at Ferrari, doing a design study for a V10 engine. It was agreed that Ferrari would build this engine and in 1997 Simon was appointed head of engine design and development, under Paolo Martinelli.