Honda website
Honda website

JANUARY 13, 1997

...but will Barnard stay?

JOHN BARNARD, Ferrari's design chief since August 1992, said at the launch of the Ferrari F310B that he is discussing his future at Ferrari with team boss Jean Todt and company chairman Luca di Montezemolo. Barnard's five-year contract expires at the end of July and Ferrari has just hired Benetton's Ross Brawn to be technical director, making him - in effect - Barnard's boss.

"I want to stay in Formula 1," Barnard told reporters at Maranello, "and I would like to continue working with Ferrari, but I cannot say yet what the future will hold."

Barnard admits that he would also like to work with Alain Prost if the Frenchman does take over Ligier. Barnard and Prost have been discussing forming an F1 team ever since Alain left McLaren at the end of 1989.

Ferrari bosses insist that the team intends to phase out Barnard's Design & Development facility in Shalford, England, and consequently, unless Barnard agrees to work in Italy, his future with the team must be in doubt. Even if he were to consider a move to Italy, it is hard to see how he and Brawn would be able to work together. Barnard is not used to having to answer to other engineers when designing and building cars.

The fact is that Ross moved to Ferrari because Michael Schumacher wanted him there - the two having worked together with success at Benetton. Schumacher has been less than complimentary about Barnard in recent months - usually speaking in German so that it is not widely reported. Ferrari is keen to keep Schumacher happy and so Barnard's comments about staying at Ferrari and hoping to form a good working relationship with Brawn should be seen as being purely diplomatic. In all probability he will leave the team in July.