How have you settled in to the job ?
It’s been a relatively easy transition. I knew a lot of the people and the organisations so it has been quite straightforward. We have a mountain of work ahead of us so I am not under any illusions, but initially it’s been highly positive.
Talk us through the next stages of your master plan…
We are in the process of re-resourcing Enstone and part of the road map is to be clear how we build up the resources over a two year timeframe. The head count is around 470 now and needs to be close to 650 in the long term, but it will take us up to 18 months to do it. At Viry it is less about resourcing and more about restructuring to make it mesh with Enstone and fit for purpose in the coming years. In parallel we need to think about the design of the car and consider our priorities. We need to ascertain where we will find most gains for 2017 but also look forward to 2018. It’s a reasonably protracted process to get to where we need to get, but we still need to show good progress and move forward in all areas in the meantime.
What kind of personnel are you looking for ?
In truth, recruitment is about finding the right mix of people. We need fresh, young inexperienced blood mixed with older hands. It’s about getting that balance right and it’s very important not to rush it and take people because they are available or because we have a slot. We need to make sure we have the right mix.
The first manifestation of how Enstone and Viry are working together is the car we have seen on track. What conclusions were you able to draw from testing ?
The first and most obvious conclusion is that we have a strong and dedicated team who are able to bring a car together in a short space of time ! It naturally does not represent the pinnacle of integration we would aspire to but we will get there. First and foremost we know that the team has strength and depth, and we will go even further in the future. We are actually in good shape and were able to do fairly thorough checks as the car we brought to Barcelona is pretty much what we will run in Melbourne. We were pleasantly surprised. Although we are down on aero and power, the car is nicely balanced, consistent and good to develop. We didn’t need to chase a lot of time finding the balance so there’s a lot confidence we can get up to speed relatively quickly. If we can sneak into the top ten in Melbourne we’ll be pleased with that.
What will you change on the car going forward ?
We have to balance resources, but we need to improve in every area. That said, it’s much easier to do this when you have a well-balanced car as we know that real performance can come from balance and driveability, and we have already made some good steps in this area. Ultimately we need to concentrate our efforts on where we get the most bang for buck.