Do you remember back in 1996 when Michael Schumacher left Benetton for Ferrari? They didn't just get Schumi; along with him came master strategist Ross Brawn and designer extraordinaire Rory Byrne. Together, the wonder team built the Scuderia back into a championship-winning powerhouse. Well, we have a feeling there are some people in Maranello who may be getting acquainted with the flip side of that particular coin.

Following the appointment of Dany Bahar – who left his position as Ferrari's senior vice president of marketing – to the post of chief executive at one-time rival Lotus comes news that the British engineering firm has scored Claudio Berro as its new director of motorsport.

Although Berro hasn't been at Maranello for a few years now, he's a well-known personality in Italian motor racing. Not unlike his successor Jean Todt – recently elected president of the FIA – Berro started out as a co-driver for the Peugeot Talbot rally team before kicking off an impressive career as a team manager. Before going on direct the ill-fated Speedcar Series in the Middle East, Berro headed up racing operations for Ferrari, Maserati, Alfa Romeo and Abarth individually, and then the entire Fiat Group, managing the industrial empire's F1, GT, touring car and rally teams.

Now at Lotus, Berro will be responsible for implementing the return to racing that Bahar recently outlined. However, his role with the Malaysia-based Lotus F1 team remains to be seen. Details in the press release after the jump.

[Source: Lotus]

PRESS RELEASE:

Lotus appoints Director of Motorsport

Group Lotus is pleased to announce the appointment of Claudio Berro to the new role of Director of Motorsport for Lotus, reporting directly to Dany Bahar, Group Lotus CEO.

Prior to joining Lotus, Claudio Berro held the position of Operations Racing Director for the Speedcar Middle-East International Race Series. Before that, he spent 14 years at Ferrari, Maserati and Fiat where he held such positions as Formula One Team Manager, Director responsible for all sport activities for Ferrari and Maserati (excluding F1), General Manager Maserati Corse and Director of Fiat Group's Motorsport Activities, before becoming Racing Operations Director for Abarth.


Dany Bahar, Group Lotus CEO, welcomes Claudio Berro to Lotus, "I am delighted that Claudio is joining us as Director of Motorsport. He has a proven track record of not only setting up and managing the motorsport's divisions within sportscar brands but also winning championships in GT racing and rallying. His skills will be very valuable as we look to return Lotus to high level motorsport around the world. "


Claudio Berro is excited about his new role and challenges, "Lotus has a peerless motorsport heritage, not just in Formula One, but we have also won in sportscar racing, saloon car racing, world rally championships, Le Mans and the Indy 500. There is no other car company in the world which can lay claim to so many accolades and championships in such a wide variety of motorsport fields, and I am looking forward to re-introducing Lotus to high level motorsport to not only compete and win but also to demonstrate the shared technology between Lotus sportscars and future racing cars."

This isn't the first time that Claudio has been associated with Lotus, as early in his motorsport career, he was Rally Co-Driver for Peugeot Talbot Italia in a Talbot Sunbeam Lotus, twice becoming Italian Group 2 Rally Champion in 1981 and 1982.

Claudio Berro joins Lotus on the 2nd of November 2009.