Manor appoints ex-Ferrari designer Tombazis

2016 F1 season

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Manor has appointed former Ferrari designed Nikolas Tombazis as its chief aerodynamicist.

Tombazis spent nine years at Ferrari until the end of 2014 and previously worked for McLaren and Benetton.

Manor technical director John McQuillam said Tombazis will help Manor’s design team “showcase the full extent of their experience and capabilities”.

“I am confident that, together with our new Mercedes power unit and Williams gearbox and technical partnership, our new aero structure will provide us with the strength to design and develop consistently competitive racing cars to help steer us towards our long-term ambitions.”

Tombazis said Manor has “impressive plans and is investing in all the right areas”.

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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28 comments on “Manor appoints ex-Ferrari designer Tombazis”

  1. good hire. its not as though his ferraris werent half way decent. he just got caught in the usual blame game nonsense that ferrari do whenever things go awry.

    1. So they should have kept Tombazis after failing for years to produce a winning car and also heavily compromising the development of the 2014 car if we are to believe their head of PU during that time?

      1. considering that 2014s no win season was there first blank in 20 years, a huge proportion of that going to the engine being below expectations, it suggests that a lot of those cars were pretty decent. ferrari have produced many decent cars but often due to the complex highly political nature of senior management fail to convert a race winning car into a title winning one

        1. a huge proportion of that going to the engine being below expectations

          A big part of that was due to Fry and Tombazis asking for a tiny PU that satisfies their ideas of extreme packaging thinking that they can compensate the lost BHP with the aerodynamic gain.

    2. The fact that it took Tombazis more than a year to find another job in the paddock and that too at Manor goes a long way in showing that he is good, but not great!

      1. you assume that he was able contractually to get another job. considering he had full knowledge of last years ferrari (as he had a bag say in its design) its not beyond the realms of possibilities that a gardening leave clause was in his severance.

    3. We shall see guitar. Tombazis is a fresh signing, his hands on the work will arrive later in the year. In my view the fact tombazis wasnt snatched by the top teams suggests he isnt top team material. Manor may not fulfill their merc potential.

    4. @guitargraham He was there for nine years, so he was there to see the winning cars of 2007 and 2008, as well as those that narrowly missed out in 2010 and 2012. And don’t forget the aerodynamics on the 2014 Ferrari were good (as Singapore and Monaco showed), it was the engine that let them down. I know he may have been partially responsible for asking for a small engine, but it is important to note they appointed:

      Nikolas Tombazis as its chief aerodynamicist

      The engine will come as it comes, so all he has to do is aero, which is what he can get right.

      1. Sorry I should have tagged @tifoso1989

  2. About Tombazis, I thought that this interview was fascinating:

    Summary (some interesting bits):

    But Tombazis, who claims he is now shaping up to return to F1, told Corriere della Sera newspaper that the apparent fruit of the revolution – the SF15-T car now raced by Sebastian Vettel – was actually designed by him.

    “I was working until early December, when it was already in production,” he said. “I just wonder what they would have said if it had been a bad car rather than a good one.”

    But Tombazis says he regrets never giving the similarly-departed Alonso a title-winning Ferrari to race, adding: “In my romantic vision, Ferrari would have done well to keep him. And me.”

    Asked, therefore, if he thinks himself and Fry were made scapegoats, Tombazis answered: “Partially, yes. I would have expected a different treatment.”

    1. Sounds like a ‘I need a job, thus I will market myself’ speech, even if it does contain truth we can’t be sure how much. All top execs know how to employ their own verbal expertise to further their own interests, a pinch of salt is needed to interpret them


    Aldo Costa (ex-technical director of Ferrari and current Mercedes engineering director) had quite uncharitable things to say about Tombazis in this interview.

    1. Interesting. Costa at Ferrari vs Costa at Mercedes is a classic example of how the role and the rest of the team make such a difference. You can put a great talent in the wrong role and waste him.

      As for Tombazis, I hope Manor haven’t taken him just because Fitzpatrick knew the name.

      1. @lockup You forget that he’s going to be working under technical director John McQuillam. So it’s way more likely Tombazis joined because JM knew him and recommended him to fizpatrick as every technical director wants to surround himself with specialists he trusts

        1. Yes okay @montreal95, if McQuillam knew him and it was his call. Booth and Lowden quit over Fitzpatrick’s hands-on approach though. Let’s hope.

          I’m still waiting to get a feel for what the new Manor is like, I guess.

          1. @lockup Yeah, I was unhappy to hear that the 2 people most responsible for saving the team from clinical death, had to leave the team over “differences”. That didn’t sound great at all

            But McQuillam is a decent enough engineer. I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt for now.

  4. This is a good hire for Manor, regardless of who we all feel should get the blame for Ferrari’s recent successes and failures. This is a big-ish name hire and he has a lot of experience in competitive teams, I can’t see how this isn’t a good thing for the team.

    1. Agree! @geemac
      I prefer to look at this as a ‘glass half full’, and filled to the brim from Manor’s perspective

    2. petebaldwin (@)
      15th January 2016, 13:50

      @geemac – I think it’s a brilliant move by Manor! Massive amounts of experience and technical knowledge coming into the team like Manor can only be a good thing.

  5. Manor is not in the position to hire a Newey, so to hire ‘top team dropouts’ is a good thing for Manor.

  6. #ForzaManor !
    The perseverance and dedication of Manor towards F1, even at a time when the sport is facing a crisis, is amazing. This team has consistently made TRUE efforts and always pushed far above its weight. Breaking into the points in Monaco 2014, finding a new owner just at the weakest of times, making it to Australia, sponsorship with TFI, AIRNB, and with Flex-Box, making awesome progress even with the old and highly underpowered 2014 Ferrari PU, appointment of new technical directors from Merc and McLaren, getting Merc engines, suspension and gearbox from Williams, and now appointing the aerodynamisist from Ferrari, all this clearly indicates that the team is really putting all its blood, tears and sweat together to not only survive, but thrive in F1and to race its heart out. The team has won me over. Manor, I SALUTE you for your perseverance and dedication.

  7. GJ Manor! Nothing like getting some world class engineers on your staff. But when will his efforts take effect? 2017? In any case what is scapegoat material by Ferrari standards is Best avaliable in case of Manor.

    Keep in mind this guy was essential part of Ferrari’s best results aswell. Kind of like Aldo Costa.

    Such key scapegoats are awesome to find and pickup. Atleast for a backmarker.

    Mercedes would probably struggle to get much better people than they have. Many rear gunner teams could improve quite a bit. Nameley Sauber/Manor… and McLaren seem to be hiring as much as they can to reinforce their efforts.

    1. One teams turd is another’s treasure.

    2. @jureo – Good point about how soon anything he may have to offer will actually be incorporated into the car. 2017 seems much more likely than 2016 since the design process theoretically is already in progress. Regardless of the Ferrari blame game I hope he can help Manor.

      1. Good sign, they are planning to stay for 2017. The only new team to have survived and got points money.

  8. The Manor situation is really filling me with hopes fistly with Mercedes engine now a few good signings. This team deserves all the good things after showing tremendous spirit of racing when others like Caterham and HRT stepped aside and after the fatedul incidents of Maria and Jules, they deserve success and joy of all forms and I am sure most of you share the same feelings for them!

  9. While Tombazis may be quick to draw criticism for some fairly run of the mill work at Ferrari, run of the mill would be a huge leap forward for Manor.

    The F14T may not have been front of the pack, it likely still had concepts and features way beyond anything Manor have. Even with their limited budget and testing, it could still be a step for them towards the mid pack.

    Realistically I’m not seeing them overtaking Sauber or Force India, but they just need to close that gulf of performance down so that maybe a special driver can pull something magical out of the bag every once in a while and keep that forward momentum they look like they have at the minute. But it all hinges on who they have drive for them. It has to be someone special, a future talent like Bianchi who can in the right moment shine because from a technical development point they are about to be pushed back down out of the prize money to 11th.

  10. As Manor’s factory and production machinery were auctioned off a year ago, how and where are they doing their production at the moment? Are they outsourcing the carbon (etc) production more than other teams or did they build it up again?

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