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Formula One expands technical team to work with Brawn

By Alan Baldwin

LONDON (Reuters) - Former Williams head of aerodynamics Jason Somerville is joining Formula One's new motorsport managing director Ross Brawn as the sport recruits more experts to advise on future technical regulations.

Somerville will be "part of a small group of engineers dedicated to researching fully the direction and implications of future regulations," Formula One said in a statement on Friday.

They will liaise with the FIA Formula One Technical Department and the teams "with a view to improving the entertainment value, the sustainability and the sport of Formula One."

Nigel Kerr, a key player in the Brawn GP management buy-out from Honda and sale to Mercedes in 2009, joins as finance director for motorsports.

Another of Brawn's former colleagues, Craig Wilson, arrives as head of vehicle performance.

Brawn told Reuters at last weekend's Spanish Grand Prix that his team was "probably two thirds of what I want now."

He recognised there was an element of poacher-turned-gamekeeper with his appointment and the team he was recruiting.

"We want sets of regulations that make sustainable, close racing," said the former technical director, who won a string of titles with Michael Schumacher at Benetton and Ferrari before more success as principal of his own team in 2009.

During that time he was famed for making the most of grey areas in the regulations and winning the argument when challenged.

"It’s a team’s job not to have close racing. And that’s where I’ve been for many years, trying to avoid close racing by being the best," said the Briton.

"So it’s just going to be a constant process and we are building the teams now within FOM (Formula One Management) in order to ...understand what needs to be done to keep the sport as closely competitive as possible."

Brawn, who was appointed after Liberty Media took control of the sport in January and ousted Bernie Ecclestone as commercial supremo, has repeatedly said that there can be no quick fix to improve racing.

"The steps we make need to be secure steps and they need to be well researched and well thought out," he said.

"The more fundamental changes need a lot of work and a lot of consideration and the arguments need a lot of substance, to make sure that we can carry them with the teams and (the governing) FIA."

(Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by John Stonestreet)

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