It’s been a busy week for Williams F1 and it’s about to get busier, Pat Symonds former technical director of Renault F1 joins as the team’s Chief Technical Officer at the same time as current Technical Director, Mike Coughlan leaves the team with immediate effect.
Symonds was given a five-year ban from motorsport in 2009, for fixing the results of the previous year’s Singapore Grand Prix, but has recently been acting in the capacity of Technical Consultant for the Marussia F1 Team.
Speaking about the announcement, Williams Team Principal Sir Frank Williams said; “I’m delighted that Pat is joining the team. His technical capabilities and sporting successes speak for themselves and I’m sure that his knowledge and leadership will contribute considerably to the success that all of us at Williams are working hard to achieve.”
Symonds engineered Michael Schumacher and Fernando Alonso to produce 32 race wins, 4 Drivers’ World Championships and 3 Constructors’ World Championships while leading the technical team of Renault F1. But during the 2008 Singapore GP, together with Team Principal Flavio Briatore, he took part in a conspiracy which led driver Nelson Piquet Jr to deliberately crash into the pit wall, thereby gaining a sporting advantage for his Renault team-mate Fernando Alonso.
Since 2009, Symonds has run his own technology and motorsports consultancy in addition to acting as a Technical Consultant to the Marussia F1 Team.
Symonds’ five-year ban was subsequently overturned by a French court, but he later agreed with the governing body not to work in F1 or any FIA-sanctioned event for a specified time. He begins his new role with Williams F1 from 19th August.
“Williams 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,” said Symonds.
“Sir Frank, Mike and Claire have put in place the foundations for success and I’m immensely excited to begin this new challenge.”
Coughlan, who helped engineer Williams’ strong 2012 season, has stepped aside after the team failed to score a single point in 2013. He took on the role of Technical Director after Sam Michael’s departure to McLaren F1. The team paid tribute to Coughlan in a statement, “The team thanks him for the significant contribution he has made since 2011 and wishes him well in his future endeavours.”
In other news, Williams F1 confirmed that it will run its development driver Susie Wolff and rising star Daniel Juncadella at the Young Driver Test at Silverstone Circuit on 17-19 July. The 30-year old Scot, wife of Mercedes F1 motorsport chief Toto Wolff, will be aiming to prove she is worthy of a full-time race seat. Toto Wolff, is a shareholder and former director of Williams F1, but denies he has any influence in the opportunity.
“It’s a fantastic opportunity for me, so now it is up to me to prepare myself the best that I can for the day,” said Susie. “It’s going to be a big challenge but the most important thing is to do a solid and consistent job and to give good feedback to the team to be able to prove I am at the level to compete on a day such as this.”