Williams builds for the future

BMW WilliamsF1 Team Builds For The Future New assets & new management structure at WilliamsF1 for revised competitiveness - Patrick Head new Director of Engineering - Sam Michael promoted to Technical Director - Second Wind Tunnel on stream - ...

BMW WilliamsF1 Team Builds For The Future
New assets & new management structure at WilliamsF1 for revised competitiveness

- Patrick Head new Director of Engineering
- Sam Michael promoted to Technical Director
- Second Wind Tunnel on stream
- Joint programme management implemented

Oxford, May 25, 2004. WilliamsF1 today announced two major initiatives intended to significantly augment the company's competitive contribution to the BMW WilliamsF1 Team and to set the foundation for the organisation into the future. A revised management structure sees Patrick Head take up a new post of Director of Engineering, with Sam Michael assuming responsibilities as Technical Director. To supplement the management re-organisation, the company today also confirmed that its multi-million pound investment in the most advanced aerodynamic facility of its kind has completed its commissioning and is now on stream, contributing to short and medium term race car development.

The management changes come after a detailed consideration and review of the company's technical strategy. Patrick Head, a company director and shareholder, will shift his emphasis away from daily technical operational duties, and will focus his considerable expertise and experience on long view technology strategy, accommodating such concerns as addressing anticipated wholesale changes to technical regulations and bringing forward advanced technologies. He will take overall responsibility for the engineering capability of the company in facilities, personnel skills and organisation.

Patrick Head said, "For clarity, I am retaining my day to day executive involvement and equity holding in WilliamsF1. This is not a prelude to retirement. When Adrian Newey joined us in 1990, I moved from Chief Designer to Technical Director, and now I think the time and opportunity is right to make a further change. I will be supporting Sam fully in his new role and I expect to be no less busy with the new challenges I have set myself."

Head continued, "Formula One is a very complex organisational activity incorporating research, development and operations, and this new structure will help optimise our activities in all these key areas. This will be an immense challenge for Sam, but Frank and I intend to provide him with the authority to achieve his tasks while providing the support I can from my own experience, and my position as a director of the company."

Sam Michael, 33, is an Engineering graduate of the University of NSW, Australia, and joined WilliamsF1 in 2001 after a variety of motor racing assignments including data engineering at Lotus and Head of R&D as well as race engineering duties at Jordan. His promotion from Chief Operations Engineer to Technical Director carries full technical responsibility for the design, development and deployment of race cars.

"Naturally, I am extremely pleased to have been given such a positive vote of confidence with the appointment to the position of Technical Director. I share Patrick's view that this division of responsibilities will free Patrick to take on an important strategic role, and the timing allows me to take charge of the progression of the FW27 from the outset. I think it is obvious given the growth in complexity of the technical processes, our organisation and the level of competition in Formula One that we organise ourselves in a smarter fashion.

Parallel with the changes to the company's technical management structure, WilliamsF1's second wind tunnel is now operational, providing the company with an unsurpassed aerodynamic facility. The new facility supplements the team's existing first tunnel, enabling a greatly improved 'concept to track' time for all- important aerodynamic developments.

Infrastructure work on the tunnel commenced in November 2002, and aerodynamic commissioning commenced in record time some 12 months later in 2003. In the construction over 2,600m2 of earth was excavated and 560 tonnes of steel and 5,250 tonnes of concrete (the equivalent of 350 cement trucks) was used in construction. The tunnel fan itself draws 2.5 MW of power to accelerate 9 tonnes of static air to speeds of over 280kph in 30 seconds.

The tunnel technology incorporates a full size continuous steel belt test facility running at 80m/s, with full synchronous multi-axis model management providing yaw, pitch, heave, roll, steer and cross wind simulation. Its specification makes it a best in class automotive facility, and augmented by WilliamsF1's existing wind tunnel, provides a world class resource unmatched in Formula One.

Dr John Davis, who is responsible for the management of WilliamsF1's aerodynamic facilities, explained the benefits of the new tunnel, "As the tunnel is at the horizon of new technology, this facility is a door to a universe of new aerodynamic possibilities. Many of these possibilities have not yet even been considered, let alone investigated and as such, presents another whole dimension of opportunity."

Dr Antonia Terzi, WilliamsF1's Chief Aerodynamicist, outlined how the tunnel would contribute to on-track performance, "Self-evidently, now we have two tunnels, our lead times for aero developments will improve significantly. But more importantly, with small increments of aero improvements to be found, it is increasingly important that tunnel results are highly accurate. As we are able to replicate the mutli-dimensional factors a race car experiences on the track, we are already seeing accuracy improvements of 30%, and this degree of accuracy will make it easier to precisely confirm and quickly incorporate aero developments into the race car's continuous evolution."

The new tunnel will provide a major advantage to the BMW WilliamsF1 Team in the context of increased reliance on aerodynamic performance under existing and proposed technical regulations for Formula One. "Aerodynamics will always be a fundamental element of Formula One, but against the backcloth of new rule changes, this facility will provide the very best resource of its kind in the sport, and the benefits should be measurable. Allied to a strong team including Dr John Davis who is managing and developing the infrastructure, and Dr Antonia Terzi as Head Aerodynamicist, I believe we have one of the best teams to augment Sam in his new role," confirmed Patrick Head.

This marshalling of WilliamsF1's resources for competitive advantage will assist the implementation of joint programme management with team partners at BMW. Mario Theissen, BMW Motorsport Director said, "When we decided to extend our partnership last year, we agreed that one objective would be to bind both parties into a single entity. This doesn't happen overnight, of course, it's a process that requires some time. The new personnel re-organisation at WilliamsF1 is a significant step towards this target, because to be a winning team in Formula One, you must have depth and stability in technical management."

Commenting on the two initiatives, Frank Williams, BMW WilliamsF1 Team Principal commented, "The two developments announced today go hand-in-hand as a major step in improving our competitive yield. Not only am I delighted that our multi-million pound investment in our aerodynamics facility is now contributing to the race programme, but the changes to our management structure will be a major step in reinstating Williams' reputation as the leading engineering and technology team on the grid.

Patrick's depth of experience combined with the highly motivated talent that Sam Michael embodies will provide our technical activities with peerless leadership. These two initiatives, together with the redoubled technical integration with our partners at BMW, give me great confidence for the future of both WilliamsF1 and the BMW WilliamsF1 Team," Williams concluded.


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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers John Davis , Patrick Head , Frank Williams , Mario Theissen , Adrian Newey
Teams Williams , Jordan