FIA’s Gilles Simon joins engine manufacturer PURE

2014 F1 season

Simon worked for Ferrari until 2009

PURE, the new F1 engine builder set up by former BAR team principal Craig Pollock, has announced Gilles Simon will join as its new technical director.

Simon joins PURE from the FIA where he had been the director of technical and powertrain.

PURE was set up by Pollock to build engines for the new technical regulations originally planned for 2013.

The company now plans to build a V6 engine to meet the 2014 technical regulations.

Simon said the new regulations are “the biggest change in this area of F1 for a generation.”

“This opportunity to develop the PURE powertrain is a fantastic challenge and allows me to go to back to my passion – designing engines.”

He added: “Making F1 more environmentally-friendly is a personal goal of mine.”

Simon had previously worked with current FIA president Jean Todt at Ferrari from 1994 to 2009, and before that at Peugeot’s Le Mans team. Todt said: “Gilles leaves the FIA with my thanks and best wishes.

“We have worked together on a variety of projects over many years, at Peugeot, Ferrari and at the FIA, and I know how much of his life has been devoted to his love of designing powetrains.

“After a very fruitful 18-month period at the FIA where he has been able to leave a significant legacy in the 2014 powertrain regulations, Gilles has been offered an opportunity at PURE that will enable him to make a substantial contribution to a new era in F1. I wish him a successful future.”

Pollock said Simon’s appointment is “another key milestone in the development of PURE.

“With Gilles Simon on board we have an exceptional and proven powertrain designer who has been instrumental in driving an environmentally friendly agenda into F1.”

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17 comments on FIA’s Gilles Simon joins engine manufacturer PURE

  1. AndrewT said on 28th July 2011, 16:25

    When this thumbnail pic appeared on the site, I was hoping for some news related to Fisi. Of course important stuff is going around the engine, but this pic made my day. It’s so sad how drivers are forgotten so soon these days.

    • Simon said on 28th July 2011, 18:24

      I agree, I was always a bit of a fan of his. Such a shame the Ferrari drive was the last we saw of him in F1, although I understand his motivation for taking it. He was never the fastest driver but he had his moments and certainly added a bit of excitement to some races.

      Just looked up what he’s doing now and I’m pleased to see that he’s having some success in sports cars.

      • AndrewT said on 28th July 2011, 20:25

        Yep. I also watched Le Mans 24 to see him and the other few ex-F1 drivers in action again. Was absolutley surreal.

  2. Ral said on 28th July 2011, 16:35

    Huh. So PURE’s engine will be designed by the man responsible for the rules regulating the engine. Conflict of interest doesn’t really seem to bother F1 on the whole, does it.

    Good for them though. Let’s hope they can get something decent out to some of the teams and help them progress up the order perhaps :)

    • BasCB (@bascb) said on 28th July 2011, 16:44

      Seems to be a pretty good selling point for the engine then :-D

    • bosyber (@bosyber) said on 28th July 2011, 17:16

      I was thinking along the same lines, with Gillet working for FIA to get the new 2014 engine rules then joining PURE.

      But I do guess that the rules are now settled, and he was only on of the actors getting the rules decided. The others are his future competitors, so there might not be an actual conflict, just interest!

      And also, he says it himself, he feels he has a mission to bring a hybrid like powertrain to success. PURE does seem to be close to the spirit of those rules, so no wonder the FIA liked to see them show up, and likewise, now the rules are done, Gillet is only following his own stated goal by working with them to make it happen and show the success of those rules.

      As you say, good for them, and let’s hope they get it working well.

  3. BasCB (@bascb) said on 28th July 2011, 16:50

    This does of course beg the question, how far Todt is involved in PURE. Something that might have been key also to why Bernie kept opposing what Todt/the FIA proposed.

  4. Mahir C said on 28th July 2011, 17:34

    Before anyone screams conflict of interest, FIA didn’t lock themselves in a windowless room and came up with the engines. The engine discussions were pretty open to other manufacturers as well, they were designed with input from them. It was pretty much given that engines will be 1.5L turbo.

    Gilles Simon is an engine guru, he was the guy who designed the Ferrari engines when they conquered all. He is they guy to hire if he is available.

  5. themagicofspeed (@) said on 28th July 2011, 17:41

    I see what people mean about there being a conflict of interest.
    However, although he was a major factor in setting the new engine & transmission regs, when it comes to designing & manufacturing the PURE engine iself, i don’t think it will give him a huge advantage.

    Things to consider:
    -PURE will have to work to the same regulations as any other engine manufacturer, so having set the rules doesnt give an advantage in that area.
    -They face competition from 4 very experienced F1 engine builders (Mercedes-Benz, Ferrari, Renault, Cosworth); PURE are new in comparison.
    -Building a brand new engine and powertrain is not a simple task (obviously) – and while I predict he will do a very good job, of course the opposite is possible.
    -Designing an ‘eco engine’ is something nobody has done before to this extent in F1.

    In PURE’s favour:
    -Simon will have information about the stress threshold, optimum tuning, driveability and RPM/Power output of the new engines from his input into their formulation.
    -Simon knows more (at this stage anyway) about what is likely to be involved in making an eco engine from his research and input into the new regs.

  6. Eggry (@eggry) said on 28th July 2011, 18:52

    I’m not sure there’s room for PURE…obviously Mercedes and Renault want to reduce their engine supply from 2014 so there’s market. but it’s only the matter if PURE is batter than Cosworth. Well, I’m sure FIA is involved in PURE but I don’t think it does impact much.

    • BasCB (@bascb) said on 28th July 2011, 19:50

      I think PURE will have the opportunity to replace Cosworth, and as they will do rebranding, it might attract the odd car manufacturer to become “involved” as well.

  7. Mike said on 29th July 2011, 0:16

    No wonder F1 struggles to attract new groups to the sport. By changing the new regs (again) it only goes to put groups like VW off.

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