Former Renault F1 executive director of engineering and 'Singapore-gate' protagonist Pat Symonds is to rejoin the top flight in a consultancy role, it has been confirmed.
Under the terms of a deal struck with governing body the FIA, Symonds is not permitted to return to the grand prix paddock in an official working capacity until 2013 – shorter than the original five-year ban that was handed down and that the Englishman went on to successfully challenge – but he can
take on duties as a consultant.
To that end, the highly-respected engineering guru – who only last month told Crash.net
that he still has 'a lot of unfinished business in F1 and can still contribute to F1' [see separate story – click here
] – has been recruited by 2010 newcomer Virgin Racing. The 57-year-old previously worked with Virgin technical director Nick Wirth at Benetton in the late 1990s.
“Pat is working as an independent consultant, and he's advising us,” Virgin Racing President Graeme Lowdon told SPEED.com
. “He's not coming to the races or anything like that. It's a very positive thing for us as he has got a huge amount of experience, and experience is a scarce resource for us as a newer team. I'm sure Pat can bring a lot of value to the team.”
As punishment for the prominent part he played in the Singapore Grand Prix race-fixing controversy – arguably the most serious incident of cheating in recent sports history – the FIA decreed that Symonds and ex-Renault F1 managing director Flavio Briatore must 'abstain from having any operational role in F1 until Dec. 31, 2012, as well as in all the other competitions registered on the FIA calendars until the end of the 2011 sporting season'.