The word in the Formula 1 paddock at the United States Grand Prix is that Renault will soon announce that it has hired British engineer Pat Fry to lead the technical team at Enstone.
Fry left McLaren earlier this year after masterminding the team’s 2019 revival. It was always going to be a short-term role because McLaren had hired James Key to be Technical Director. Fry stayed on for a few months and then left.
It is not clear exactly what role Fry will take at Enstone, but it seems that he will work with Technical Director Nick Chester and Executive Director Marcin Budkowski.
Renault has been working hard in recent seasons to improve its engine performance but this year customer team McLaren has outshone the factory, indicating that the team should concentrate more on the chassis and aerodynamics. The team announced yesterday that it is revamping its aerodynamics department, but having Fry will give them a technical leader with a strong history and a great reputation.
For Fry (55) it will be a return to the team for which he worked at the start of his Formula 1 career, after he joined Pat Symonds’s research and development department at Witney in 1987, after seven years as an electronics design engineer on missile systems with Thorn EMI.
His primary role was to work on an active suspension system. He then became a race engineer in the early part of the Schumacher era before being lured away to McLaren in 1993 by former Benetton colleague Giorgio Ascanelli.
He would spend the next 17 years in Woking, initially as a race engineer before moving up to lead the design team of a couple of World Championship-winning cars, before he was hired by Ferrari in 2010.
He became Technical Director (chassis) in Maranello but was then moved aside in 2014 when James Allison joined the team. He became Engineering Director at Maranello for a year but then began working as an engineering consultant, initially with Manor F1 and then in 2018 he was taken on by McLaren to lead the design team of the 2019 car.