The 46-year-old, who spent 18 years with the Woking-based team, and almost joined Ferrari in 1996, was originally thought to be joining for the 2011 season, but the almost immediate appointment means he will be able to help develop FerrariÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s 2011 car.
Fry announced he would leave the team on 14 May, sparking rumours he would take up a top job at championship rivals Red Bull or Mercedes GP, but he opted for their arch-rivals, reporting to technical director Aldo Costa.
McLaren’s world champions Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button are currently first and second respectively in the drivers’ championship ahead of Sunday’s European Grand Prix in Valencia and FryÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s defection will be a blow as he takes with him initial-stage knowledge of McLarenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s 2011 challenger.
“Whenever somebody of Pat’s calibre leaves the team it is sad, and we like Pat very much and he is a fine engineer but people have their lives to lead and want to do other things,” McLaren managing director Jonathan Neale said last month.
“It doesn’t give me any concern for the performance of the team or what we do for next year’s car at all because we are still a team that has strength in depth and we are committed to maintaining that.”
Just how much knowledge of McLarenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s 2011 car Fry has at this stage of the season is anyoneÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s guess, but if he does know anything Ferrari will be keen to exploit that information.
If McLaren suspect any intellectual property infringement on the 2011 Ferrari, we can expect further legal wrangling between the two teams following the Ã¢â‚¬ËœspygateÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ scandal that rocked F1 back in 2007.
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