In what is
becoming a time of major change at the Williams team as they prepare for the
2017 Formula One season it was confirmed that Chief Technical Officer Pat
Symonds would be leaving the team at the end of 2016.
Below is the
release from the Williams team:
Prix Holdings PLC (Ticker: WGF1) today announces that Pat Symonds will be
stepping down from the role of Chief Technical Officer of WILLIAMS MARTINI
RACING at the end of 2016.
Pat joined Williams towards the end of the 2013 Formula One season on a
three-year contract, and in that time has helped oversee a strong turn
around in the teamís performances on the race track, with 14 podiums secured
over the past three seasons. Pat will be departing on 31st December 2016.
Claire Williams, Deputy Team Principal, added; ďPat has been a tremendous
asset to this team over the past three years. Patís appointment was the
start of a major restructuring exercise, and he has been pivotal in
reshaping Williams into what is a much stronger racing team today. I would
like to thank him for all of his hard work and commitment during that time.
We now look to the future and will be announcing details regarding the
teamís technical leadership in due course.Ē
Reports still have Paddy Lowe leaving Mercedes to join Williams in 2017 but
these are yet to be confirmed. On top of this there are still questions
hanging over who will fill their 2017 driver line-up, or at least who will
fill one of the driving positions. Rookie Lance Stroll is confirmed but as
to whether Valtteri Bottas will remain at the team is still the subject of
many reports having him move to Mercedes to replace the retiring Rosberg.
Now reports have
Felipe Massa reversing his decision to leave Formula One and that he has
accepted an offer to remain with the Williams team in 2017. This would open
the door for Valtteri to leave the team because Felipe's return would allow
the team to have that experienced driver which the Williams team have always
said was vital going into the 2017 season. It has also been reported that if
Valtteri does not leave the Williams team Felipe would simply continue with
his exit from Formula One.
At a time of major changes in Formula One the Williams team is potentially
heading down a path that will see them struggle in 2017 even if Paddy Lowe
does join the team. It has been questioned as to why Williams did not allow
Symonds to remain for a further year as the team allows Lowe to settle in.
But maybe the choice was taken out of Williams hands with Symonds choosing
to leave given that Lowe would be his replacement. If Lowe does not join the
Williams team they will be left without a Technical Head.
On the driver front losing Valtteri to Mercedes maybe a good move
financially with Mercedes prepared to reduce the cost of their engines to
the Williams team. But as a driver the team would be losing one of their
major assets. Even if Felipe does return to the team 2016 has proven that
Valtteri was the better of the pair so losing him will be a major blow to
the team simply when you look at it from his ability to assess and get the
best from the new 2017 cars. So if Valtteri leaves don't expect the Williams
team to perform well out on the track.
In the lead-up to Christmas the news coming out of the Williams team does
not offer any feeling of confidence that the team will be fully prepared for
the 2017 season with likely to lose their best driver, lose stability in
terms of their Technical staff, as well as having to cope with the potential
difficulties of a new untested driver. It will be a difficult 2017 for the
Williams team but maybe it is the case that the team is prepared to weather
the storm of one difficult year knowing that things should improve down the
track. But will their sponsors be so forgiving with reports having their
title sponsor not keen on the idea of having such a young driver join the
team given the fact that their product is an alcoholic beverage.