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Rory Byrne

Rory ByrneFerrari's Chief Designer Rory Byrne is another vital part in the rise of the Ferrari team. Joining the Scuderia from Benetton in 1997 Byrne has played a vital role in bringing Ferrari back to the top. Born in An-Afraic Theas, South Africa on the 10th of January 1944 Rory Byrne is the Chief Designer of the Ferrari F1 car. Byrne made his way into F1 via the now defunct Toleman team when in 1980 he designed a F2 chassis, which won the team the title.

Byrne stayed with the Toleman team as they took the step up and entered Formula One and in 1982 Byrne was designing cars for F1 racing. His first creation was based around a turbo-charged Hart engine that had previously been used in F2, it was not a great season for the team with the car suffering severe problems, but quick learning and fast development turned a disaster into a respectable car. The 1983 season saw Byrne design an innovative car with two rear wings, which was to be copied by the majority of the field. 84 and 85 saw similar gains as Byrne began to get a name for himself in the F1 world as he produced chassis, which provided great driveability.

In 1986 Toleman were bought out and renamed Benetton and Byrne's 85 chassis became the basis for the 86 car and with BMW engines powering the Byrne designed car Gerhard Berger took a win at the Mexican Grand Prix. Rory continued to construct a series of Ford engined Benetton's before leaving to take on a new role designing Reynard's new F1 chassis. This project did not go as planned for Rory and in the end he returned to working for Benetton in 1992. Using knowledge gained in the Reynard project Byrne designed the 1st of the high-nosed Benetton. The design of this car was another inspiration and was to lead onto the all conquering Benetton's of the mid 90's.

Byrne saw his creation win Michael Schumacher back to back World Titles in 1994 and 1995 and also saw Benetton claim the Constructor's Title in 1995. But Schumacher was leaving to join Ferrari and Byrne was soon to follow. Rory joined up with Ferrari in time for the 1997 season but his 1st car would be the 1998 Ferrari, which took Michael Schumacher so close to the driver's title. In 1999 Byrne's F399 was a massive success with Ferrari claiming the Constructor's Championship and Eddie Irvine just missing out on a double for Ferrari.

Rory achieved his aim in 2000 as his F1-2000 stormed the season and took all the honours as Ferrari achieved double success with Michael Schumacher winning the drivers title and Ferrari scoring a record breaking 170 points to claim the constructor's title. This car was to be succeeded by the all conquering F2001 as once again Schumacher drove Byrne's chassis to another double world title for the Maranello team. The team once again broke the record as they hauled in 179 points and won 9 races out of 17.

The records broke in 2001 were once again to fall in 2002 as Rory Byrne's F2002 took all the honours. Development was delayed on the chassis and it made its debut at the third race of the season in Brazil, but it made its mark right away by winning. The F2002 will be remembered as one of the most complete racing cars ever seen. And Schumacher and Barrichello used it to full effect as they took a total of 15 wins from 17 races, such was the power of the chassis that it only lost 1 race in Monaco. Ferrari scored a total of 221 points and the F2002 will only ever be bettered by the F2003, which according to Byrne is set to be even better!

After the death of Gianni Agnelli Ferrari christened Rory's 2003 chassis with the GA initials, and it did not let its name down. The F2003-GA may not have dominated as much as the F2002 but it did the job and won both titles. Ferrari admitted the GA was perhaps too conservative and that in 2004 the aggressiveness of the F2002 will probably make a stunning comeback.

2004 was a resounding success for the F2004 designed by Rory and his team, Ferrari romped to both titles in a season that mirrored the dominance seen in 2002, once again proving that Byrne is one of the greatest designers the sport has ever seen. Sadly for Ferrari the F2004 may well be the last true Byrne designed car as he announced his decision to retire from the sport in 2006 and will be slowly handing over the reigns of his job over the final years of his period with Ferrari.

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