F1 Birthdays: 8/4/2011

Today, another technical director celebrates his birthday. It’s Mercedes’ Bob Bell today. He’s a little older than Paddy Lowe, at 53 years.

Northern Irishman Robert “Bob” Bell attended Queen’s University in Belfast, and impressively got a doctorate in Aeronautical Engineering. In 1982 he became McLaren’s aerodynamicist in the days when aerodynamics were less important. In 1988 he was promoted to Head of Research and Development. Some time after that, in 1997, he moved to Benetton alongside Virgin’s current tech guru Nick Wirth. In 1999 he then moved to Jordan to be alongside another birthday boy from earlier in the month – Lotus’s Mike Gascoyne. They both moved to Renault after that (for Bell a return to the team formerly known as Benetton), and in 2001 he became Mike’s deputy. In 2003 he was promoted on Mike’s departure, and oversaw the technical side of Fernando Alonso’s and Renault’s championship victories. But the next could of years were not so good…
After the crashgate revelations, he became acting Team Principal of Renault from September 23rd 2009, and in 2010 with Eric Bouiller coming to the team from GP2 to lead them, he became Managing Director. Leaving Renault in October 2010, he joined Mercedes in his current role, which took effect only a few days ago. Bell hasn’t had any impact on the design of the MGP02, but hopefully the MGP03 will reflect upon his ability, as well as continuing/improving Mercedes’ current form.

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