After announcing significant changes at Cosworth Racing today, Tony Purnell, CEO of the Premier Performance Division of Ford Motor Company, answered a series of questions regarding the decisions taken.
What led to the decision to replace Brendan Connor with Tim Routsis and re-title Nick Hayes Technical Director? The strategy of having two managing directors at Cosworth Racing, Brendan operationally and Nick from an engineering perspective, did not work and they both recognised that fact. The work that Brendan carried out while he was at Cosworth did a lot of good and the company is stronger as a result of that work. Change to the status quo was necessary, however.
What is Tim Routsis’ background? Tim has a rare blend of technical and commercial ability, which means he’s been successful at whatever he has been involved with. He started a successful software company from school, which he then sold and began an aeronautical restoration business. He ran this successfully before joining Pi Research as Engineering Director, where he went on to become Managing Director.
What makes Tim Routsis the right man for this job? Tim’s blend of technical and commercial abilities means he can relate to complex engineering problems and find solutions just as easily as he can for complex commercial, financial and business problems. Moving forward, we felt it important to have someone who’s experience spanned both disciplines. Tim is also well respected among the Ford Directors involved with Cosworth.
Could this move be construed as a vote of no confidence in Nick Hayes’ engineering leadership qualities? I don’t think it should be. Nick led the company through five years of producing successful Formula One engines. However, the company possibly suffered for diverting his focus from the F1 programme, in particular, across other duties. We have chosen to turn back the clock on that.
Is this the beginning of a return to success for Cosworth in Formula One? We wouldn’t be following this route if we didn’t think that our Formula One programme would be enhanced. However, it’s important to stress that I feel the other motorsport programs are in good hands and have been a great success. I feel that the 2003 F1 season was difficult, especially with the Jordan team but the four previous to that were really pretty successful.
Was this course of action decided upon solely by you, from a PPD perspective, or was there pressure from higher up? Since April 2003 I have been making sense of the situation at Cosworth Racing. This was my own decision but is of a kind that is rarely made alone.
Will this have any further implications for the Cosworth Racing business? There may well be changes that Tim wants to implement to the way the business is run but I wouldn’t imagine they would be too dramatic. I see this as a time to build on the work that has been carried out in the last two years, much of which is successful and leaves us with many positives.
Has Brendan Connor been offered an alternative position elsewhere within Ford? Brendan is a very capable individual and we are exploring possible opportunities at the moment.