Formula 1 News

Patrick Head exit signals end of an era

Williams team director of engineering Patrick Head had been a fixture alongside Frank Williams since the team was formed in 1977.
Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Sao paulo, Nov 28, 2011 (AFP) - Williams team director of engineering Patrick Head, who has been a fixture alongside Frank Williams since the team was formed in 1977, confirmed on Monday that he is leaving Formula One at the end of this year.

But the 65-year-old designer, engineer and technical director said he will not be retiring, but switching to concentrate on other work within the Williams business - in its growing hybrid power section.

He admitted he was sad to move out of F1 after a long and mostly hugely-successful career that saw him mastermind many championship-winning cars in a year that was one of Williams least memorable.

Williams scored just five points in the constructors' championship - a long way from the glory years that saw drivers like Australian Alan Jones, Finn Keke Rosberg, Britons Nigel Mansell and Damon Hill and Canadian Jacques Villeneuve lifting drivers' titles.

In Head's time as the chief of the engineering and design element of the team, Williams won 113 races and lifted the teams' title nine times. "I am going to be doing some work for Williams Hybrid Power, which may sound a bit dry and dull, but it is actually quite high tech and quite interesting," said Head.

"I certainly did not have an ambition to end my involvement in F1 with the season I have just had behind us," he said.

"But when I have a look at what specifically I can do to assist Mike Coughlan, and Mark Gillan and Jason Somerville, I came to the conclusion that it isn't enough for me to carry on justifying doing the same thing.

"It is not interesting for me; it is not good for the company. I decided to have a change of focus now."

He added: "I certainly think those three people [Coughlan, Gillan, Somerville] are good and I am quite certain that they will lift the capability of the company upwards, but we have fallen to quite a poor level. So, it is not going to happen over a one year cycle."

Head's move ends an era in Formula One as the sport ushers in a new generation of technical brains.

Patrick Head and Frank Williams together with the team since 1977.

Patrick Head and Frank Williams together with the team since 1977.

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