Alan Donnelly, the former non-voting chairman of the Formula 1 race stewards, has been moved away from motor racing responsibilities as a part of a staffing reshuffle undertaken by the FIA.
Donnelly began his stewards' role in 2008, with the aim of improving communication between the stewards and race control, and creating momentum for swift decision-making. Despite achieving those aims, he was at the center of controversy last year when the Formula One Teams' Association (FOTA) accused him of a conflict of interest, due to actions he had undertaken in his other role as former FIA president Max Mosley's representative at grands prix. These claims were rejected by the FIA.
The arrival of Jean Todt as FIA president late last year prompted a reshuffling of the F1 stewards' organization, with the non-voting chairman's role made redundant. It was not clear, though, whether or not Donnelly would retain a role within F1, with some wild suggestions that he could even be made F1 Commissioner.
Sources have now revealed that he has been given a totally new brief by the governing body. It is understood he will develop automotive strategies, with his focus being on the FIA's mobility work and manufacturer policy agenda. Donnelly's new role comes amid further changes at the FIA, as Todt aims to emphasize his new way of doing things.
Tony Purnell, the former Jaguar team principal who was an FIA technical consultant, will no longer continue in his role for the governing body as the FIA opts for full-time staff to devote their energies to the work needed. Part of that move has seen former Peugeot R&D chief Bernard Niclot and former Ferrari engine boss Gilles Simon appointed.
An FIA spokesman told AUTOSPORT: "Tony Purnell is no longer working with us as a consultant and we wish him well for the future. We are currently focusing on developing and strengthening our in-house expertise. In this regard, Bernard Niclot, former research and development manager at PSA Peugeot Citroen, has been appointed as a senior technical adviser and Gilles Simon, former head of the Engine and Electronics department for the Ferrari Formula 1 team, has been appointed to a new FIA position as director of powertrain and electronics.
"Bernard will be responsible for providing advice and guidance on technical issues relating to motor sport at all levels. He will also provide guidance on technical developments in the automotive world, especially in regard to safety, environmental and consumer issues. He will commence duties on Feb. 1.
"Gilles will be responsible for working with the Sports Department of the FIA to enhance the FIA's expertise and performance in these areas and to ensure the FIA takes a lead in the introduction of new technologies which have the potential to benefit motorsport and mobility in general."