Williams recruit Red Bull and Lotus aero staff

2013 F1 season

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Williams have hired two technical staff to join its aerodynamics team from Red Bull and Lotus.

Shaun Whitehead joins the team from Red Bull as Wiliams’ new head of aerodynamic process. The role of head of aerodynamic performance will be taken by Dave Wheater, formerly of Lotus.

Chief technical officer Pat Symonds said: “These two appointments show our commitment to both improving the process of aerodynamic development while focussing on the application of that development to true on-track performance.”

“Dave and Shaun bring a wealth of experience to our team and I welcome them both to Grove and fully expect them to make significant contributions to the renewed competitiveness that we are all working so hard to achieve.

“With Dave and Shaun on board, and under Jason’s stewardship, we will be well positioned to make gains in this important area and support the continuing task of developing the FW36 in what promises to be an exciting year for the sport in 2014.”

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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29 comments on “Williams recruit Red Bull and Lotus aero staff”

  1. I think the secret to breaking Red Bull’s stranglehold on the championship lies in persuading their technical team to switch sides. I’ve long felt that Adrian Newey is the Dread Pirate Roberts of Formula 1 – it’s the name that turns heads. Looking back over his previous designs, it has been a long time since he has actually designed something cutting-edge. All of the major innovations, from the F-duct to reactive ride heights to skinny sidepods, were developed by someone else. Newey seems to specialise in building a strong chassis and then refining and perfecting those new ideas (think back to 2009, and Red Bull had a double-diffuser months before any of the other teams that did not start the season with it). I don’t doubt that Red Bull will be strong next year, but I think these high-profile defections will take the edge off their title assault.

    1. I agree as well. Newey has been excellent at using other people’s ideas and integrating them with the Red Bull. What he has been able to do is not even perfect the systems but make them work in synergy with the rest of the car. The only area where I felt Red Bull had done well on their own terms was the front wing. I think Red Bull came up with some good front wings (although I believe it was Ferrari who envisaged the flexi-wing concept) that to me felt very unique.

      1. You are right about flexi-wings – 1996 season. Too bad it got banned and never raced

    2. @prisoner-monkeys – Agreed, this is how things change and evolve in F1. I think Newey is the brilliant chief wizard who leads the team of wizards and has the final say so of what goes on the the car and how it all fits together. You are correct that he is not a lone wizard. As the talent spreads throughout the field of teams they will develop cars and ideas and some will excel. I hope Williams have recruited some talented wizards.

  2. C’mon, Williams! Give Bottas & Massa a car that can take on the world!

    1. It would be nice but… i doubt it.

      1. @karter22 A man can dream…

  3. It does indeed appear that Williams mean business. the flow of engineers has finally been reversed and good guys are arriving , not leaving. good news

  4. Great news, hoping to see Williams back on the podium next year. Where does this leave Lotus, they are loosing a lot of good staff.

    1. I think these hires are a bit too late to influence next year’s car.

      1. but might affect continuing development throughout next year

  5. Daniel (@collettdumbletonhall)
    9th December 2013, 11:07

    An awful lot of people seem to be leaving Red Bull it seems.

    1. Maybe they feel that RBR´s cycle is coming to an end?

    2. Who else? I know of Peter Prodromou, but is there anybody else?

    3. An awful lot of people seem to be leaving Lotus it seems.

      1. Todd (@braketurnaccelerate)
        9th December 2013, 12:05

        Supposedly Kimi wasn’t the only employee at Enstone who hasn’t been getting paid their wages due…

    4. Three people leaving a supposed 600-700 person staff is not a lot to me.

  6. Good to see Williams improve their team to have a realistic chance of being a solid midfield contender. I just hope they make it work for more than a couple of races this time

  7. They hired the receptionists.

    1. Sure, they didn’t hire the heads of aero department from those teams but because they were working on the inside they know all the processes and concepts/ideas that the top teams actually use.
      It’s not much of a loss for Red Bull/Lotus but it’s certainly good for Williams.

  8. If I said I knew who either of these two are I would be lying, but they come from Red Bull and Lotus, so I assume they are another couple of good hires by Williams.

  9. I do hope they change the livery.the Williams car looks too boring…

    1. If it’s true that Banco do Brasil are backing them, some yellow on top would be a great retro look.

      I hope Shaun takes all the pencil sharpeners from Red Bull with him.

      1. exactly what I was thinking, some yellow and some flare few hundredths there already!!

  10. OmarR-Pepper (@)
    9th December 2013, 13:22

    I hope they have a car good enough to bother Pastor Maldonado for leaving the team.

    1. Haha, I’m now imagining Williams beating Lotus next year!

  11. The way things are going at Lotus, Pastor’s going to be designing his own car. And paying tens of millions of Venezuelan petrodollars for the privilege.

    Been thinking for a long time that I don’t think next year’s Lotus is going to be much good… too many cash problems, too many personnel losses. On top of that, they’ve significantly outperformed their budget the past two seasons and that sort of thing isn’t really sustainable. Then there’s ‘talk’ that the Renault may not be as competitive as the other engines.

    Strongly suspect Hulkenberg will have a better car at Force India. I’m sure the word ‘karma’ figures in there somewhere.

    1. I feared from the same until Massa was announced at Williams. Since then I don’t care. :)

    2. Its good for William’s , and the one team who can challenge Force India in the mid field, with an experienced driver like Massa, and a learning guy like Bottas (as we seen towards the end of the season)

      Because Sauber, even if they got a decent car, they lacks a good driver to push for maximum. Toro Rosso will again look for their usual business, to develop next driver for Red Bull.

      However it should be seen, how far the new guys can help

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