Former Marussia F1 Team technical advisor Pat Symonds will begin work with the Williams F1 Team when the season resumes in Belgium. Symonds was announced as the replacement for outgoing technical director Mike Coughlan in the days immediately preceding the Hungarian Grand Prix.
Williams have struggled to find performance all season, with Pastor Maldonado‘s 10th place finish in Hungary the team’s first points of the season. The first half of 2013 has even been worse than in 2011, when Williams scored only four points before the summer break. As a result of the lack of success, Williams decided it was time for change.
Symonds, who is just finishing his ban from Formula One after the 2009 crash-gate scandal, is hoping to be a guiding light for Williams as they aim to capitalize on their recent upturn in performance.
His track record is commendable, boasting high-ranking, technical roles with teams during some of their most dominant years. He was head of research and development for the Bennetton F1 Team in the mid-90s when they won two championships, as well as in the mid-2000s when, under Renault control, the same team won two more championships.
Deputy team principal Claire Williams remains cautious to speculate over the benefits the team will reap this season. The jury is definitely still out on whether Symonds will have enough time to make an impact, but there is still much to look forward to this season.
Aiding the success from Hungary are the revised Pirelli tires. Introduced at that race, this new rubber features a combination of the 2012 tires’ construction and the 2013 compounds. Many teams were caught off-guard by this change including Ferrari and Force India, but Williams saw their fortunes improve.
Additionally, Williams has made it clear that they will continue to develop their current car rather than switch their focus on next season’s. 2014 sees massive regulation changes both technical and sporting, so most teams are already winding down their development programs to ensure they are prepared for next season.
As Williams continues to develop, along with the added experience of Symonds, we could see a late-season resurgence from the team. Williams will have their targets firmly set on the Sauber F1 team who sit just six points ahead of them in the standings.
Williams now rest their hopes on Symonds having a tangible effect on the team before the season comes to a close.