Why Sergio Rinland left Sauber in 2001?
Posted 24 February 2008 - 07:07
Posted 24 February 2008 - 09:19
Posted 24 February 2008 - 10:05
Here is an interview with him by Planetlemans:
For those who did not believe in the existence of the Epsilon-Euskadi prototypes I am about to disappoint you. For those who thought this was a small effort of a bunch of dreamers the same goes. The story you are about to read is about a vision, the execution of that vision and an ambitious project that aims at putting this name at the top in many aspects in the coming years.
One of the key names in this project is that of Sergio Rinland. The 55-year old Argentinian engineer needs no introduction for motorsport fans, his name is synonimous to success and this does not look like being the exception. As the end of a long working day is in sight Rinland had some time to talk to Planetlemans about past, present and future.
PLM- Mr. Rinland, thanks for making som time for us, how and when did you get in touch with endurance racing?
SR- Well, after I left Formula 1 in 2002 I started my own consulting firm working on diverse areas: GP2, Indianapolis, Touring cars. I was quite tired of attending all races after 25-30 years of doing that. Being a consultant for another team I could develop a car, attend the first few races and be done with that for the rest of the season. But then I got in touch with Team Modena and that brought me back to the racing track. I ran their endurance team for 2 years with the Aston Martin and that was when I got the Le Mans bug!
PLM- So when did you get in touch with Epsilon?
SR- Last year in Monza I bumped into Joan (Villadelprat) and we started discussing his project. I have known Joan for over 30 years now, from the times of the old Argentinian seasons of Formula 3 that he used to attend. We have worked together when he was at Benetton, he was even my best man when I married in England, he was one of the few people I knew then that I could entrust that role to!! (laughs)
PLM- At what stage was the project then?
SR- Joan needed a technical partner that he could fully trust and he explained me the whole project. I took some months to take my final decision because, you know, at 55 (56 in 2 weeks) this meant a change of life, a big one in fact.
PLM- So what made you cross the line finally?
SR- Well, after Silverstone and with Team Modena not going to Interlagos things were not really defined for me for 2008. And you know what? I fancied the challenge, Joan’s challenge of establishing a factory that has to be a key player in Europe in 3 to 5 years.
PLM- But you also have an engineering school as part of the project.
SR- It’s an integral project and the educational part is a key aspect of what Joan calls the 4 “columns”. I am very passionate about it because I am a professor in a UK university, I have very strong ties with an American university and I am a member of the Motor Sport Academy. The Academy is a fundamental institution linking universities with the industry on the motor sport world.
PLM- And also the racing team is part of the structure.
SR- Correct, this is a racing effort that we can do in a category like endurance racing, something like this could have been possible in Formula 1 15, maybe 18 years ago but not now from a financial point of view.
PLM- Still within endurance you are going for the top class, LMP1.
SR- Well, this was Joan’s choice way before I joined the project. You cannot say this car is one of my sons but it is an adopted one, and those you learn to love very much as well…
PLM- Why the choice of Judd?
SR- You know, 5 minutes ago I had the Judd engineer with me in the office. It is the very same engineer I worked with during my time at Brabham in 1989-1990. Now you really realize I am old!! (laughs) I know John, his family, we coincide going on holiday often. Judd is a whole family and I know them and their product very well, what else can I say?
PLM- Are you involved in design as well or just running the company?
SR- At the moment I do both and this is a huge workload. However I am enjoying this project enormously and i want to see the cars on the track timely. We will be getting more designers soon but now we’re fully focused on the next few weeks.
PLM- So the car shakedown is confirmed for next week ?
SR- Yes, at the airfield in Vitoria. Ángel Burgueño will be doing the shakedown for us.(editor’s note - this will be On Feb 28th)
PLM- Any drivers you can talk about?
SR- We are in talks with a few Spanish drivers but nothing is confirmed at the moment.
PLM- The big mistery now, what about the second car?
SR- The tub will be ready next week and we’ll start the assembly immediately to be in time for Barcelona. We’ll be there with two cars.
PLM- Let’s go back to the whole project part, you mentioned Joan’s 4 column concept.
SR- Joan is a man with vision. He has this unique concept of having 4 pillars within one organization, something that does not exist to this extent anywhere in the world. The four columns are:
1-Education: An engineering post-graduate school able to accomodate 50 students a year from which the top 2 remain working with us. Us being also the teachers we can monitor and follow the individuals to assess their talent, skills and other aspects lik teamwork, communication , etc.
2-R&D: A full research and development depertment that includes a wind tunnel and all elements to be able to design any type of racing car.
3-Factory: An integral factory that can build and put together a complete racing car with all components and no dependencies on external providers.
4-Racing team: A showcase for all your other columns and the implementation arm of what education, R&D and factory have produced.
An integral business concept, a significant investment and a clear vision. That is what Epsilon Euskadi is about and the racing team is just one part of a much bigger and ambitious machinery. As of next week their first prototype will be
Posted 24 February 2008 - 14:55
Perhaps it was his wife ? I mean having to be 'sucked' by your team boss is going too far to stay on board if you ask me !
Originally posted by Devero
Who knows what happend then? Rinland designed the best Sauber F1 ever, innovative and fast car for 2001. Then he was sucked by Sauber with no sounded reason. After that Rinland disappeared from F1. It was very strange. He could be hired for 2002 by any team as chief designer or technical director. He was so good and his skills would be very welcomed by especially emerging teams like Renault, BAR Honda, Toyota, and even top teams like Ferrari, Macca, BMW Williams would have certainly gained with having him on board.