gilles1Name: Gilles Simon
Designation: Head of Engines & Electronics
Born: Morocco, June 14th 1958
Star Sign: Gemini
Nationality: French
Marital Status: Unknown

After graduating in 1984 from one of the top engineering schools in France (l’Ecole des Mines), Moroccan born Gilles went to work in Research and Development for Renault.

Four years later Gilles was hired by rivals Peugeot as chief engineer to work on the V10 engine which went on to compete in the World Sportscar Championship and Le Mans 24 Hour race. This was a successful period for Peugeot with the team going on to gain 1st, 2nd and 3rd in Le Mans respectively.

At the beginning of 1994, Gilles was lured by former Peugeot colleague and Frenchman Jean Todt to Maranello, where he began his career as Engine Project Manager with Ferrari under the mentorship of Engine Genius Paolo Martinelli. A role he would fulfil for the next two years, mainly working on a design study for the V10 engine.

In 1997 Gilles was promoted to the role of Head of Engine Development, and the V10 engine he designed was built for use in Ferrari’s F1 car.

The end of the 2006 season saw the introduction of an engine development freeze in F1 aimed at cutting costs in the sport, a move which saw Gilles mentor Paolo Martinelli move onto pastures new within the FIAT Group. Gilles was subsequently promoted to Head up the Engine Department at Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro.

Further changes to the sporting and technical regulations within Formula 1 at the beginning of 2008, saw Gilles role change once more. All F1 teams were required to incorporate a standard electronic control unit on their car as supplied by McLaren Electronic Systems (MES). This move was to supposedly enable the FIA to carefully manage, control and monitor what electronic systems each team had available on their Formula 1 cars and to ensure the ban on launch control was being adhered to.

Previously Ferrari had been supplied with their own ECU by technical partner Magneti Marelli, but the move to a standard ECU prompted a technical restructuring within the Gestione Sportiva bringing the management of both Electronics and Engines under the leadership of Gilles from the end of 2007.

Just prior to the Italian Grand Prix in September 2008, Gilles admitted there is still someway to go for Ferrari in fully understanding and exploiting all the complexities of the Standard Electronic Control Unit (SECU) with their cars.

Further changes to the technical regulations for the beginning of 2009 see the introduction of Kinetic Energy Recovery Systems aimed at making the sport more environmentally friendly, and bringing the sport in line with the development of commercial road cars.

Yet again these dramatic changes in the sport’s technical regulations have impacted on the workload of Gilles and his team, who are working flat out on developing a KERS system to be used with the 2009 car as well as working on the reliability and development of the 2008 car.

However Gilles admits it is unlikely that all Formula 1 teams will have in place a reliable KERS system for the start of the 2009 season, due the complexity and complicated nature of the subject area.