Peugeot F1 Team recently announced significant changes within in the team after a disappointing start to the season. Furthermore, the team have signed further saviour deals following the announcement that the team were in financial struggles following the reduced backing from automotive manufacturer Peugeot. Yesterday, Kurtis Gardner confirmed he would be stepping down as race driver following the lack of sponsorship of the Brit. The team have since confirmed his replacement.
The major announcement that was very much being looked forward to was the news of a new race driver. Kurtis Gardner announced yesterday that he had to step down as race driver due to internal matters. He later said of the news, 'I knew there was always a chance and there was always the chance in the future I may lose the seat due to money. I was aware in the contract. I was hoping it just wouldn't happen. Hopefully though I can still find a race seat soon'.
The team have since announced that the new race driver will now be Adrien Simon. Simon, the current Liverpool racer was contracted to be the reserve driver for his current team. An agreement between Peugeot and Liverpool will see Adrien Simon commence his racing duties for Peugeot at race 2 of the next season. Kazuki Armos praised his new signing, 'Adrien is a fantastic driver. He comes with significant backing to help the security of the team. Having two French drivers is a goal for us and now to announce Jean Mattson and Adrien Simon as our race drivers makes us very confident that we will have one of the fastest racing duos.'
A statement from Liverpool read, 'Initially, I was very torn, Adrien has been an amazing driver for this team, and I will be sad to see him leave the gates of the factory for the last time. However, I will always welcome him back for a chat whenever he likes. Adrien has been fiercely loyal to this team, and has rejected numerous offers from other teams to stay here, but as a Frenchman, we knew he would want to take on the challenge of becoming a factory Peugeot driver – I hope they remain heavily involved with the team! We told him the offer, and he asked for permission to talk to them, and we were happy for him to live his dream, as it was our way of showing the gratitude for staying with us. We will use this as a chance to plan for the future, with the second and reserve seats now being filled by young, talented drivers. We wish him all the best in the next chapter of his career.'
The team surprisingly announced a major change in the technical department for the coming season. For both season 1 and season 2, the team built their own racing car. However, for both seasons, the team have produced significantly under performing cars and a lack development has very much reduced the team's full potential. Due to this, the racing team have signed an agreement to have their car built by Dallara with members of the team's technical, chassis and aerodynamic departments temporarily leaving the Peugeot team to work with Dallara to produce the new car.
One of the factors resulting in Adrien Simon joining the team and Kurtis Gardner leaving his role was sponsorship. The heavily backed Frenchman comes with significant sponsorship and new sponsors have been announced including 'Carrefour' and 'ebay'. The French Rugby League Team will also have a position on the car. These sponsors are alongside previously confirmed deals with 'Nexus', 'AXA PPP Healthcare', 'TSB', 'Bouygues Telecom' and 'Air France'.