McLaren’s Pat Fry joins Ferrari

Posted on Author Keith Collantine

Ferrari has confirmed Pat Fry will join the team as assistant technical director from the beginning of next month.

Fry was previously chief engineer at McLaren and was working on the design of next year’s car, the MP4-26.

Fry’s duties as chief engineer at McLaren were shared with Tim Goss. Between them they rotated responsibilities from year-to-year. Fry was also the chief engineer for last year’s car, the MP4-24, and the 2007 McLaren MP4-22.

At Ferrari he will report to technical director Aldo Costa.

44 comments on “McLaren’s Pat Fry joins Ferrari”

  1. I am so disappointed that a man charged with development of the MP4-26 has defected to a rival team. For goodness sake, must it be the Ferrari team?!?

    I now see him as a traitor…… or am I being too harsh on him? Anyway, time will tell how much of McLaren’s IP was taken to the red car brigade :-(

    1. To be fair, Mclaren recently got a Ferrari guy they fired. It just balances out. They’re the two top teams so I don’t think it’s that unusual. It’s just a job and please God no more spy scandals…

        1. John Iley I believe rejoined Mclaren after Ferrari didn’t take up his contract/got rid of him.

          I would have expected a gap too but if Mclaren don’t like it then frankly they should have put it in Fry’s contract. Fry was focussed more on last year’s car anyway so maybe there is that gap if you look at it that way.

      1. But going to work for Ferrari in the same year as you were developing a competitors car for the future is not really the same, is it? I would have thought his McLaren end of contract terms should not allow that.

        But I think traitor is a way too strong word.

        1. Yes, considering the history between the two teams, and the general need for everyone to hide their new developments from prying eyes, isn’t Fry going to have a lot of trouble not saying ‘McLaren don’t do it like that’, which to me counts as telling secrets?

          1. The path bewteen Ferrari and McLaren is a fairly common one, going both ways. James Allen does point out though that no one really wants Ferrari guys at the mo, or to copy their ideas.

      1. I thought about that as well, but he does have good experience of integrating the KERS system from last year, something McLaren had working a little better than Ferrari.

        And he will be all in for developing the car during the year.

      2. I think the 07 one was essentially a development of the 06 car, which was a Newey I think.

        The differance between the 06 and 07 cars were an underpowered Merc in the 06 and Michelins developed for Renault. In 07 with a better engine and equal tyres suddenly the cars aerodynamics prooved their worth.

        Fry did I suppose did manage to unlock that and headed McLarens typically metronomic rate of development.

    1. Yes, and the fact they are rid of him in developing the next car is also good for VMM. This alternating-designer thing is in an interesting detail given McLaren’s infamous on-season, off-season performance pattern.

      Anyway, he’s not a “traitor.” This is beeswax. It’s not like he has to move to Italy, be forced to use one of those tiny ineffective washing machines, and stop drinking heavy room-temperature beer.

      1. And I think Ferrari would be rather careful to assure McLaren no spygate-like stuff would happen in reverse. Neither team wants such things happening around them, it could only damage F1.

        1. I have often thought that cases such as spygate happen quite a bit in F1 it is just that teams are usually better at hiding it than McLaren were in 2007.

    1. this is the legitimate version of the spygate.. don’t buy the info, buy the man who produces much of the info.. it’s always gone on and will continue – and perhaps is a good thing as it helps keep the teams roughly equal in performance and so a better spectacle..

        1. The person who went from McLaren to Renault didn’t just take the information in his brain he was also supposed to take some files on floppy disks as well.

        2. Well that guy did take a lot more than just his brains with him (floppy disks) and Renault probably used it some way or another.

          The reason they did not get punished is more of a FIA politics with a dose of non of the teams involved wanting to pull the sport through more dirt. Makes the McLaren penalty even more abhorrent.

  2. Sad…I consider him a traitor…a good move by the fiesty ferrari team (i am a Mclaren Supporter)
    Mclaren should get back on them and get some one big.Have the last laugh.

  3. Exactly Red Andy. It’s not just engineers who are in the know -Pedro worked at Mclaren for years…should he have been allowed at Sauber?

    It just descends to ridiculous levels if it becomes so extreme. It’s just like in the real world where people move from companies to companies. In the end if it was that vital Mclaren would have protected themselves or clung onto him a bit better. People change jobs all the time and swap about esp in F1. I’m sick of all this spy scandal stuff; we have Gascoyne vs Mallya, John Iley switched but no-one paid a bit of attention and this poor man hasn’t even started working yet.

    Obviously if there was a spy-scandal I’d be furious I’d just like to point out but this seems as straight forward as Key switching what team he works for.

    Good move by Ferrari hopefully it’ll help them esp with their development which has been an area they’ve been criticised about for a while now. I’m sorry to Mclaren but I’m sure they can cope with the loss of one man who has been gone a while now :P It also makes a change to see someone unemployed getting a job esp as it’s budget day ;) sorry couldn’t resist a little but very bad joke!

    1. Ferrari are probably trying to freshen up and introduce some innovation into there now rather reactive technical department. Don’t that Fry is the man to do it though, still maybe they want him for production rate like you say.

      I think McLaren are after someone young and hungry.

  4. Although I would love to see Fernando in a Ferrari take a win at Valencia, it just seems that Ferrari cannot implement all the Red Bull, Mclaren innovations on their cars that easily. They struggled with the f-duct for a couple of races, and I think they will struggle with the exhaust system for a couple of races as well.

  5. I must apologise for my outburst this morning alluding Mr. Fry as a traitor! Sorry for that :-(

    Now I realise that since Mr. A. Newey left McLaren, it has taken him a very long time to produce a winning car again. So, it doesn’t seem to be all that simplistic as I initially thought.

    I wish Mr. Fry goodluck in his endeavour at Ferrari ….. he should just produce a replicate of the MP4-24 for them and all will be well by me ;-)

  6. Was Pat Fry in anyway involved in the 2007 “spying” saga? If so then it would seem that Ferrari’s sense of aggrievement about it was way exaggerated.

      1. When they became aware of what had happened, they fired Stepney and told the FIA

        Erm, I think you meant Coughlan as Nigel was at Ferrari…. or not?

        1. stepney had been at ferrari and was fired before the spy scandal truly broke in the press. coughlan was at mclaren and got fired after it all came out.
          stepney was a brawn/todt man and was ‘forced’ out by the italians (domenicali etc).

          basically, it’s just conjecture and hearsay. i don’t think it should be made a big deal of; it just detracts from the sporting side of it all.

          1. What’s with Stepney now by the way. Did the legal thing in Italy finish, or is it still being in the waiting?

            I am looking forward to his book, shame he takes it to be too much of a risk.

          2. @tombo Actually I think all of this is what makes F1 unique. F1 isn’t just the sporting, or the rivalry within and between teams, or the exotic technology and locations, or difficult race courses, or politics or the spying, or management struggles, etc. It’s all of it. To me that’s why I watch F1 and hardly any other motor racing–certainly not CART/IRL or NASCAR.

      2. I know Coughlan and Stepney were the main culprits. But referring to whole talk about “the red car’s uses this gas in it’s tires” and “it’s got this weight distribution” etc. He must have been in the loop on that info like De La Rosa and Alonso.

        1. In the old days before Spygate, many (friendly) teams swap data on their cars regarding suspension set-up and tyres. That’s because there is no way for them to complete all the suspension and tyre set-up tests during the practice sessions without compromising their schedules. But this is rarer nowadays because of Spygate and the top teams undertake much of their set-up work on the simulators back home even during race weekends.

          As for Pat Fry’s departure to Ferrari. Good for him. He has been at McLaren for so long that a change of environment may be good for him. Not many people, even the top guys, can survive at McLaren for so long. McLaren has a deep bench and Im sure they will move not let Fry’s departure affect them.

          I actually look forward to the MP4-26. I think many aspiring McLaren engineers will use the MP4-26 to show their talent.

  7. What has been interesting at the outset is how McLaren has damned Pat Fry with faint praise at the announcement of his leaving. Ferrari placing him in an adhoc position is interesting as well.

    It seems they uncovered something and want to underplay its significance. Then, Ferrari left with no alternative but to bring their boy home in some fill in position, least he become liberated to work anywhere.

  8. I take it Farrari need to get more out of this season to catch up, it’s probably the way it is in F1, Pat’s ideas were fading anyway read some other sites, it seems there is a new strategy in the Mclaren group to take thing forward.

    Pat’s ideas are tried and tested, the brains at Mclaren know what knows, we stride on…

  9. Fry might be the reverse of Mike Coughlan, but doing it legally because it’s Mclaren to Ferrari (not the other way) and FIA favour Ferrari and info that’s in the mind isn’t a problem, but emailed info IS a problem.

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