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GP Week : Issue 187
SYMONDS HEADS WILLIAMS RESHUFFLE A wholesale reshuffle of Williams’ technical team has seen the team hire Pat symonds as chief technical officer while bidding farewell to former technical director Mike Coughlan. Coughlan’s departure is the latest in a series of high profile changes at Williams since the start of 2012. Adam Parr, who was being groomed to take over from Sir Frank Williams, left the team at short notice after the 2012 Malaysian Grand Prix. The vacancy was filled by Toto Wolff, who also left the team at short notice – albeit in 2013 – when the Austrian became an executive director of the Mercedes F1 team. On the technical side, chief operations engineer Mark Gillan – one of the men credited with a turnaround in Williams’ form last year – left at the end of the team’s successful 2012 season, citing family reasons. Symonds, most recently in the paddock as technical consultant to Marussia, is highly rated and boasts a strong track record. The Briton engineered Michael Schumacher and Fernando Alonso to world titles with Benetton and Renault respectively, and also worked with Ayrton Senna during the triple-world champion’s formative years in the sport. He was embroiled in controversy, however, when he was implicated in the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix ‘Crashgate’ scandal during which Renault’s Nelson Piquet Jr. was ordered to deliberately crash his car to help teammate Alonso win the race. The terms of his punishment saw Symonds banned from working for an F1 team until 2013, but he was allowed to ser ve as a technical consultant. “W illiams is a team steeped in success and engineering excellence and I’m honoured to be asked to play a role in returning the team to its rightful place at the pinnacle of Formula One,” Symonds said. “Sir Frank, Mike and Claire have put in place the foundations for success and I’m immensely excited to begin this new challenge.” Symonds is joining Williams at difficult time for the team. Statistically the third most successful team in the history of Formula One, the Grove racers failed to score points in the first half of the season, and lie ninth in the constructors’ standings, ahead of only Marussia and Caterham. It has been a source of disappointment for the team, who believed they had turned a corner in 2012 after a truly abysmal 2011 season. “I think it’s been obvious to everybody that the performance of the team hasn’t been where we wanted,” Claire Williams said in Budapest. “At the end of 2012 we thought we’d made a step for ward with our performance that clearly when we came to Australia this year that wasn’t the case. “In order to move for ward and to get to where we want to be we needed to make changes on the technical side of the business. We needed to make those changes and obviously Pat Symonds coming on board as our new chief technical officer is part of that step but it’s only the first of a number of good news announcement we’ll be announcing in the near term.” F1 >>> nEWs 6 GPWEEK.com // 6 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: