Mat Coch writes:
There have been rumblings of discontent from within the paddock following yesterday's announcement that Gilles Simon, the FIA Director of Powertrain and Electronics, is to join P.U.R.E., the new Craig Pollock-led engine company.
Speaking in Hungary Rob White, Technical Director at Renault Sport F1, the company which supplies engines to the likes of Red Bull and Renault, voiced his concerns about Simon's new role. "It's of concern to all of us that in this close relationship with Gilles and the FIA over the past year, 18 months, that we've given unprecedented access to Gilles - we certainly have at Renault - and I believe all of the engine companies have done so.
"We would be most concerned to be reassured that information to which Gilles has had access to in those very privileged circumstances as a representative of the FIA is not used as an employee of a competitor," he added.
While the new regulations were being framed Simon worked closely with the existing suppliers, gaining valuable inside knowledge he can take with him to P.U.R.E.
Pollock announced his company's intention to enter the sport on the back of new engine regulations set to come into effect in 2014 and has approached all the teams in relation to a potential deal. Simon's appointment seems to give new credibility to P.U.R.E., which to date has been widely dismissed as a valid supplier due to a lack of knowledge and pedigree.
Staff leaving the FIA in favour of a team or supplier, and who have had access to confidential data, is not a new phenomenon. A move some years ago by Charlie Whiting was blocked when he tried to leave the FIA, highlighting a risk he feels needs to be carefully managed.
"In order that the technical and sporting regulations can be administered successfully we require the governing body to have good people, and they probably require access to the teams," he said. "There's an obvious risk that needs to be managed, if the same people can crop up in a different shirt very shortly afterwards."