PEOPLE: PETER WRIGHT
Name: Peter Wright
Nationality: Great Britain
Educated at the famous Wellington School, Wright won a place to study mechanical engineering at Trinity College, Cambridge. He graduated in 1967 and was recruited by Tony Rudd, who was then technical director of British Racing Motors. He was to spend two years working at BRM in Bourne, Lincolnshire before political upheaval resulted in Rudd being fired. The pair went to work in Huntingdon with a company called Specialised Mouldings which designed and manufactured racing car bodies from plastic. For the next four years Wright learned about aerodynamics and composite materials and then moved with Rudd to a company called TechnoCraft.
Eventually Rudd joined Team Lotus to be head of the long-term research and development team. Rudd called in Wright and, working with designer Ralph Bellamy, they came up with the first ground-effect car, the Lotus 78. The car was competitive and in 1977 Mario Andretti and his team mate Gunnar Nilsson won five GPs between them. The following year the Lotus 79 dominated Formula 1 with Andretti winning six races and the World Championship and Ronnie Peterson winning twice.
The Lotus 80 which followed was not a great success as everyone else had caught up and Wright moved to Lotus Engineering, working on the development of active suspension. In 1988 he became managing-director of Lotus Engineering.
At the end of 1990 he joined forces with former Lotus team manager Peter Collins to take over Team Lotus. He became technical director and for the next three and a half years struggled to put the team back on its feet.
In the end there was not enough money and in the middle of 1994 Wright left the team, which closed down at the end of the F1 season. At the end of 1994 FIA President Max Mosley asked Wright to work for the governing body on a consultancy basis. This gives him plenty of time to indulge in his passion for flying gliders and enables him to work as technical journalist, explaining some of the more complex technical issues to race fans all around the world.