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28 de noviembre de 2011

PATRICK HEAD DEJA WILLIAMS F1

Patrick Head, mano derecha de Franck Williams en su equipo, y copropietario del mismo, ha decidido desvincularse de la F1 en el equipo Williams.El movimiento, que ya se preveía tran vender parte de sus acciones en la escudería, poniéndolas a disposición via bolsa, ha dado por fin el paso de abandonar su aventura en la F1. Patrick, cuyas función principal fue recortada con la llegada de Sam Michael y su posterior ascenso al puesto que ocupaba él, vio como desde ese momento se iniciaba el leve declinar de Williams.

Con la salida de BMW del equipo, y con el paso al lado que dio en 2004, el equipo dejaría de disfrutar de la clase de éxitos que en el pasado tuvo.Su carácter hosco y algo brusco en su trato con los pilotos (con Montoya y Ralf Schumache las tuvo tiesas) fue en parte responsable para que se decidiera que era más importante que pasara a tener el cargo de Director de Ingenieria, dejando el puesto de Director Técnico a Sam Michael, que había llegado anteriormente tras ser fichado en 2011 proveniente de Jordan.Desde entonces, Williams dejó de aspirar a campeonatos y fue perdiendo comba progresivamente, hasta llegar a la situación actual, con 5 puntos y la peor temporada en la historia reciente de Williams.

Pero con todo y con eso, el ver como Patrick Head, toda una entidad en este deporte, deja la F1 en la escudería de la que fue cofundador, no deja de ser una noticia impactante que te deja en estado de shock durante al menos unos segundos.Aunque es cierto que la salida de BMW es lo que hizo más daño a Williams (a la vez que la pérdida progresiva de patrocinios), su papel más segundario en la escudería también jugó su papel en el declive de la misma.Sam Michael, desde que cogió el equipo, no fue capaz de poner de nuevo a la escudería a la altura que había estado bajo el mando de Patrick.Siendo consciente de que puede ser una afirmación un tanto polémica, no deja de ser la opinión personal del que aquí escribe.

Ahora, como parte de esa reestructuración en Williams, y confirmando lo que a principio de temporada se decía y que Patrick negaba en su momento, Head deja su involucración en el equipo de F1, aunque se mantiene asumiendo la dirección del programa de tecnología híbrida de Williams (Williams Hybrid Power).La compañía, que tiene otros departamentos colaterales al equipo de F1, deja a Patrick esta posibilidad para que continue trabajando con lo que más le gusta: la ingenieria.

Él lo justifica que con Mike Coughlan (technical director), Mark Gillan (chief operations officer) y Jason Somerville (head of aerodynamics) poco puede aportar a lo que ellos hacen en el equipo y por tanto cree que es más sano para el equipo que él se involucre en otras áreas de la empresa que no tengan nada que ver con la F1.Sea o no voluntario por su parte, seguro que la F1 le echa de menos.No obstante ha sido protagonista y parte importante de los titulos conseguidos por esta mítica escudería.

Esperemos que disfrute de este nuevo reto.


Williams co-founder Patrick Head has decided to end his involvement with the team in Formula One.

Head, who formed the Grove-based marque in 1977 with Sir Frank Williams and most recently has operated as director of engineering, is to concentrate on the company's hybrid power programme.

"I am not going to be directly part of the Williams Formula One programme next year, but it is not retirement," said Head.

"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."

Head's decision comes at the end of Williams' worst season in their history, scoring just five points and finishing ninth in the constructors' championship.

"I certainly didn't have an ambition to stop my involvement in Formula One with a season like this last one," said Head.

"But when I look at what specifically I can do to assist (technical director) Mike Coughlan, (chief operations officer) Mark Gillan and (head of aerodynamics) Jason Somerville, I came to the conclusion that it isn't really enough to justify me carrying on doing the same thing.

"It's not interesting for me and it's not good for the company, so I decided to have a change of focus, that's all."

CARRERA DE PATRICK WILLIAMS:

Patrick Head (born June 5, 1946 in Farnborough, England), is co-founder and Engineering Director of the Williams Formula One team.

For 25 years from 1977 Head was technical director at Williams Grand Prix Engineering, and responsible for many innovations within Formula One. Head oversaw the design and construction of Williams cars until May 2004 when his role was handed over to Sam Michael. Frequently blunt and outspoken, Head has a formidable reputation for speaking his mind to both employees and the press, making him a highly popular figure in the sport.

Patrick Head was born into motor sport, his father Michael racing Jaguar sportscars in the 1950s, and was privately educated at Wellington College. After leaving school Head joined the Royal Navy, but soon realised that a career in the military was not how he wanted to spend his life and so left to attend University, first in Birmingham and later in Bournemouth. Head graduated in 1970 with a Mechanical Engineering degree from UCL and immediately joined the chassis manufacturer Lola in Huntingdon. Here he formed a friendly relationship with John Barnard, whose Formula One designs for McLaren, Benetton and Ferrari would later go on to compete against Williams. Head was involved in a number of new projects all trying to become established as car builders or engineering companies and it was during this period that Head and Frank Williams met. Finally becoming disillusioned by his lack of success Head quit motor racing to work on building boats.

In 1976 thirty-four year old Frank Williams decided that the time was right to start his own team and promptly set about luring Head back into Formula One. After one abortive attempt, on February 8, 1977 Williams Grand Prix Engineering was founded with Williams and Head taking seventy and thirty percent of the company respectively. In 1977 the team raced a customer March chassis, but in 1978, with backing from Saudi Airlines and having signed Australian driver Alan Jones, the Patrick Head-designed FW06 made its first appearance. Despite having no money, and with Williams himself frequently forced to conduct business from a telephone box, Head still managed to design a respectable car.

The following season Williams scored 11 world championship points finishing 9th in the constructors championship and from here momentum began to build. As early as the fourth round of the 1979 season Jones made the team's first visit to the podium. The same year saw a Head designed car take the first of over one-hundred race wins at the British Grand Prix. Four more victories followed in 1979 and Patrick Head was now an established Grand Prix car designer.

The 1980s

Head's 1980 car was the class of the field, taking Alan Jones and the team to both titles, and securing Williams as a front runner. More success followed in the 1980s and Head began to move away from designing the cars himself, effectively creating a role of Technical Director, a person who oversaw the processes of design, construction, racing and testing, bringing together all the different disciplines. During the 1980s he is also credited with many revolutionary concepts including a six wheeled car, which tested in 1982, and continuously variable transmission, which replaced the car's conventional gearbox and allowed the engine to remain at optimum RPM during the entire lap. Sadly neither system made it into racing due to rule changes, which many attribute to pressure from other teams, who were worried about the time required to develop similar systems of their own.

In 1986 Patrick Head, with other Williams management, was forced to assume control of the team when Frank Williams was seriously injured in a road accident. Despite this diversion, and under Head's temporary stewartship, the team still secured the constructors titles in 1986 and both the constructors' and drivers title (with Nelson Piquet) in 1987.

1990s

Perhaps the most fruitful of all his associations with upcoming engineers began in 1990 when Williams hired Adrian Newey, recently sacked as technical director of Leyton House Racing. The two engineers rapidly formed the outstanding design partnership of the 1990s with Head/Newey cars achieving a level of dominance never seen before, and not repeated until the Ferrari/Schumacher era a decade later. While at Williams in 1994 Patrick Head was deemed to have caused the death of Ayrton Senna but because of legal implications in Italy he never served prison time. In a seven year period between 1991 and 1997, Williams had fifty-nine race wins, won five constructors titles, and four different drivers won world championships. However, Newey also had ambitions to succeed to technical director, but this was blocked as Head was a founder and shareholder of the team. With Williams securing both the drivers and constructors titles in 1996, McLaren managed to lure Newey away though he was forced to take gardening leave for the 1997 season.

2000s

Since the departure of Newey, Williams have often appeared a spent force, able to win occasionally, but unable to mount a consistent challenge. During the dominant Ferrari/Schumacher period from 2000-04, Williams managed to finish runner-up in the constructors championship in 2002 and 2003, and 2003 was the closest that one of their drivers, Juan Pablo Montoya, got to the world title.

Finally in 2004 came the news that Patrick Head was to stand down as technical director in favour of thirty-three year old Sam Michael. Head's move to Engineering Director was widely seen as demotion and final acceptance by Sir Frank Williams that he was no longer able to bring the team the level of success it had once enjoyed. However, Williams has continued to decline ever since then, having not won a race since Montoya won the 2004 Brazilian Grand Prix.

Legacy

Patrick Head is the man that the Italian Courts decided was ultimately responsible for the death of Ayrton Senna at the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix.
The verdict of the court states; "It has been determined that the accident was caused by a steering column failure. This failure was caused by badly designed and badly executed modifications. The responsibility of this falls on Patrick Head, culpable of omitted control".[1]

Even being found responsible for Senna's accident, Patrick Head was not arrested: in Italy the statute of limitation for manslaughter is 7 years and 6 months, and the final verdict was pronounced 13 years after the accident.[2]

Many of the top engineers in Formula One, such as Adrian Newey, Neil Oatley, Ross Brawn, Frank Dernie, Eghbal Hamidy, Geoff Willis and Enrique Scalabroni have worked under Head's supervision early in their careers, and all have moved on to senior positions within other teams. Brawn particularly has had success as Head's opposite number at Benetton, Ferrari, Brawn GP and Mercedes GP. Adrian Newey has also had success at McLaren, and more recently Red Bull Racing, and is debatably the most successful engineer in Formula One history.

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