Tony Purnell

Last updated
Tony Purnell
Born23 May 1958
Citizenship United Kingdom
Alma mater Manchester University, MIT Sloan School of Management
Occupationbusinessman

Tony Purnell (born 23 May 1958 in Carshalton, Surrey) is an English engineering entrepreneur, and former principal of the Jaguar and Red Bull Formula One teams.

Contents

Pre-motorsport career

Before entering motorsports, Purnell had a lengthy academic career in England and the United States. A pupil of The John Fisher School, he gained a scholarship to study mechanical engineering at Manchester University in the 1970s: then won the Kennedy Scholarship at the MIT School of Engineering where he completed his master's degree. His dissertation was on the subject of Formula One aerodynamics.

After MIT, Purnell returned to the United Kingdom as a researcher at Cambridge University working on whole field continuous velocity determination in fluid flow. He did not complete his PhD, but began work on wind tunnel hardware and analysis software for the Lola organisation and consulted for the short-lived FORCE F1 team.

Purnell went on to found Pi Research (and its later spin-off Pi Technology) and by the late 1990s had built the company into a highly successful global electronics business. In 1999 this company was purchased by the Ford Motor Company making Purnell a multi-millionaire. Still under Purnell's management, Pi Research was made part of Ford's Premiere Performance Division alongside Cosworth and the Jaguar Formula One team.

Motorsport career

By 2002 the Jaguar team had failed to live up to its early promise under the direction of Neil Ressler, Bobby Rahal and finally Niki Lauda. In late 2002 the Austrian was unceremoniously dumped by Ford who now required a new principal for their flagship motor sport brand. Purnell was given the job, and alongside fellow countryman David Pitchforth, immediately set about restoring the team's fortunes.

The next two seasons saw a gradual improvement in results as Australian Mark Webber was signed to replace Eddie Irvine, and management stability began to pay dividends, but with parent company Ford needing to make financial savings the team's future was uncertain. By late 2004, after a series of budget cuts, Ford announced their withdrawal from Formula One placing Jaguar Racing, Pi Research and Cosworth up for sale.

With Jaguar's future now in serious doubt Purnell set about trying to locate a new owner, and on 15 November 2004 Red Bull announced that they had purchased the team. Red Bull Racing was born and new team owner Dietrich Mateschitz appeared to give his backing for Purnell to continue in his role of team principal.

The period of stability which Purnell had striven to achieve at Jaguar was short-lived however. By 7 January 2005 it had been announced that F3000 team owner Christian Horner would succeed him as principal and he left the team.

Numerous rumors surfaced linking Purnell to other Formula One teams, but in December 2006 it was announced that Purnell would return to the sport as a technical consultant to the governing body, the FIA. [1] In addition to his FIA role he held the position of Royal Academy of Engineering Visiting Professor at the Engineering Department of Cambridge University and became a Fellow Commoner of Trinity Hall College. [2]

In 2010, Purnell left the FIA and became part of the IndyCar Series' ICONIC committee which chose new engine and chassis specifications for the 2012 season. [3]

Cycling career

In May 2013 Purnell joined British Cycling as head of its much-vaunted "Secret Squirrel Club" responsible for technical development, succeeding Chris Boardman. [4] At the time he was a keen racing cyclist competing in UK events.

The 2016 Rio Olympic Games was a notable success for the GB cycling team with six gold, four silver and two bronze medals. Perhaps more significantly (from a technical point of view) was the tally of World and Olympic records for all velodrome events against the clock.

In September 2017 The Royal Academy of Engineering announced that Purnell had been awarded a Fellowship.

Personal life

Purnell is married to Alison and has two children, Lucy and Oliver.

Related Research Articles

Brabham British racing car manufacturer and Formula One racing team

Brabham is the common name for Motor Racing Developments Ltd., a British racing car manufacturer and Formula One racing team. Founded in 1960 by Australian driver Jack Brabham and British-Australian designer Ron Tauranac the team won four Drivers' and two Constructors' World Championships in its 30-year Formula One history. Jack Brabham's 1966 FIA Drivers' Championship remains the only such achievement using a car bearing the driver's own name.

Cosworth British automotive engineering company

Cosworth is a British automotive engineering company founded in London in 1958, specialising in high-performance internal combustion engines, powertrain, and electronics; for automobile racing (motorsport) and mainstream automotive industries. Cosworth is based in Northampton, England, with American facilities in Indianapolis, Shelby Charter Township, Michigan and Mooresville, North Carolina.

Martin Brundle British racing driver

Martin John Brundle is a British former racing driver, best known as a Formula One driver and as a commentator for ITV Sport from 1997 to 2008, the BBC from 2009 to 2011, and Sky Sports since 2012.

Ross Brawn British automotive engineer

Ross James Brawn is a British Formula One managing director, motor sports and technical director.

Jaguar Racing British Formula E team

Jaguar Racing is the name given to Jaguar's racing interests. It currently competes in Formula E under the same name. It was previously a Formula One constructor that competed in the FIA Formula One World Championship from 2000 to 2004. In addition to single seaters, the Jaguar brand also has rich history in various forms of sportscar racing, most notably with the XJR sportscars that enjoyed high success in the FIA World Sportscar Championship and also the IMSA GT Championship during the late 1980s and early 1990s.

The 2002 FIA Formula One World Championship was the 56th season of FIA Formula One motor racing. It began on 3 March and ended on 13 October after seventeen races.

Tom Walkinshaw

Tom Walkinshaw was a British racing car driver from Scotland and the founder of the racing team Tom Walkinshaw Racing (TWR). He was also involved in professional rugby union, as owner of Gloucester Rugby, and chairman of the team owners organisation for the Aviva Premiership.

Red Bull Racing, competing as Red Bull Racing Honda, also simply known as Red Bull or RBR, is a Formula One racing team, racing a Honda powered car under an Austrian licence and based in the United Kingdom. The team raced under a British licence from 2005 to 2006 and has raced under an Austrian licence since 2007. It is one of two Formula One teams owned by beverage company Red Bull GmbH; the other being Scuderia AlphaTauri. The team has been managed by Christian Horner since its formation in 2005.

2005 Formula One World Championship

The 2005 FIA Formula One World Championship was the 59th season of FIA Formula One motor racing. It featured the 56th FIA Formula One World Championship, contested over a then-record 19 Grands Prix. It commenced on 6 March 2005 and ended 16 October.

Pat Symonds British motorsport engineer

Patrick Bruce Reith Symonds is a British motor racing engineer. He was the Chief Technical Officer at Williams Grand Prix Engineering, from 2013 until 2016 having previously worked at the Benetton, Renault and Virgin Formula One teams. He is currently the Chief Technical Officer of Formula 1.

Christian Horner Team Principal of Red Bull Racing

Christian Edward Johnston Horner is the British Team Principal of the Red Bull Racing Formula One team, a position he has held since 2005, winning eight world titles. His motorsport career started as a racing car driver, before he switched roles to become head of International Formula 3000 team Arden International Motorsport in 1999.

2006 Formula One World Championship

The 2006 FIA Formula One World Championship was the 60th season of Formula One motor racing. It featured the 57th Formula One World Championship which began on 12 March and ended on 22 October after eighteen races. The Drivers' Championship was won by Fernando Alonso of Renault for the second year in a row, with Alonso becoming the youngest ever double world champion at the time. Then-retiring multiple world champion Michael Schumacher of Scuderia Ferrari finished runner-up, 13 points behind. The Constructors' Championship was won by Renault, which defeated Ferrari by five points.

Nick Wirth

Nicholas John Peter Wirth is an automotive engineer and the founder and owner of Wirth Research.

Brian Roger Hart was a British racing driver and engineer with a background in the aviation industry. He is best known as the founder of Brian Hart Limited, a company that developed and built engines for motorsport use.

1992 World Sportscar Championship

The 1992 Sportscar World Championship season was the 40th and final season of FIA World Sportscar Championship motor racing. It featured the 1992 FIA Sportscar World Championship, which was contested over a six race series which ran from 26 April to 18 October 1992. The championship was open to Group C Sportscars.

Gary Anderson is a semi-retired racing car designer and motorsport pundit/commentator.

Robert White is a Formula One engineer from England. As of 2011, he is deputy managing director (technical) at Renault Sport F1.

Virgin Racing Former Anglo-Russian Formula One constructor

Virgin Racing was a Formula One racing team which was under management of Manor Motorsport, Wirth Research and Richard Branson's Virgin Group which competed in Formula One in 2010 and 2011. It scored no points and finished last in the Constructor's Championship for the two years the team competed.

Guenther Steiner Team Principal of Haas F1 Team

Guenther Steiner is an Italian motorsport engineer and manager. He is currently the team principal of the Haas Formula One Team, and previously managing director of Jaguar Racing and technical operations director of its subsequent incarnation, Red Bull Racing.

Mark Ellis is a British Formula One engineer. He was most recently the performance director at the Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport Formula One team.

References

  1. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2007-09-29. Retrieved 2006-12-20.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  2. "Fellows of the Colleges". Cambridge University. 16 December 2013.
  3. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2010-11-25. Retrieved 2017-05-12.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  4. https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/cycling/22525004