Sergey Sirotkin, Williams, Monaco, 2018

Williams aerodynamicist Dirk de Beer leaves team

2018 F1 season

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Williams’ head of aerodynamics Dirk de Beer has stepped down from his role, the team has announced.

De Beer, who joined the team from Ferrari last year, has left the team with immediate effect.

“Williams can confirm that Dirk De Beer has stepped down from his role as head of aerodynamics, effective immediately,” the team said in a statement.

“The team would like to thank Dirk for his hard work over the past year and wish him the best for the future.

“Chief engineer, Doug McKiernan, who joined Williams earlier this year will now assume full responsibility over the aerodynamic and design direction of the car, with Dave Wheater stepping up to take on the role as head of aerodynamics.”

De Beer is the second senior member of Williams’ design team to leave in recent weeks. Chief designer Ed Wood stepped down for personal reasons earlier this month.

Williams has endured a difficult start to 2018 with its FW41 chassis. The team’s new car has been slower than its predecessor at three of the tracks visited so far.

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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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21 comments on “Williams aerodynamicist Dirk de Beer leaves team”

  1. Stroll’s Monaco radio spectacle probably helped him leave.

  2. How do you read this?

    Are they going through a strategic re-org or are people starting to jump ship?

    1. Strategic re-org BECAUSE people are starting to jump ship.

    2. Williams are loyal to their employees, much to their own detriment at times. Unfortunately results have shown that the chest of drawers this department uses to store its drawings would’ve performed better than the abortion they are bringing to the track

    3. You can’t say that Dirk did a good job. The car problem is very related to his doing. The team gently showed him the door.

      1. While De Beer is responsible for the aerodynamic package, that does not automatically mean he caused the problem.
        We know the diffuser does not function as expected, but not why it does.

        I read Adrian Newey’s book ‘How to Build a Car’ (best book I ever read) and even back in the days Williams was struggling with aerodynamics (for which Newey was mostly responsible) not performing on track like it did in the wind tunnel (which after all turned out to be a construction error in the wind tunnel). That all came good later and Williams won its two last world championships.
        Then Newey got fed up with management decisions made by Frank Williams and Patrick Head and went to McLaren (from the pan in the fire, but that’s another matter).

        Anyway, we probably won’t know the truth until Dirk writes his memoirs.

      2. @miani, it has to be said that this is not the first time that we have heard about recent cars suffering from aerodynamic problems either – the FW38 reportedly had problems with the aero balance being out of balance with the weight distribution that caused handling problems, whilst even as far back as 2014’s FW36 Williams were admitting that the cars they were producing had aero balance problems which they were trying to get around by simply smothering it with more downforce.

        What we are now seeing with the current car looks very much like a combination of the older flaws that Williams’s cars have had in recent years being combined with new flaws – if the diffuser is stalling as badly as Wurz has suggested in the past, it would explain why Kubica described the handling balance as being so awful and would tie in with the remarks from the pre-season tests that described the car as looking atrocious whoever was driving the car (be it Stroll, Sirotkin or Kubica).

        The opposition have improved, whilst Williams have continued to perpetuate a number of the same mistakes that they made in the past. Dare I say it, but perhaps the current problems have finally forced Williams to face up to their problems and go through a long overdue restructuring – they really have not been that technically innovative in recent years, and even more financially constrained teams such as Force India have been more creative and used their resources much more efficiently than Williams have.

      3. Williams has brought in Paddy who was a huge part of Mercedes success, and Dirk who was hugely responsible for some leading ideas on the Ferrari, & they have gone backwards.
        Successful people don’t suddenly become useless at their jobs, unless something is suddenly presenting obstacles to them doing what they have done in the past to succeed.

        The biggest cancer at Williams at the moment is most likely the Stroll family and their meddling.
        Daddy Stroll has invested big money & wants the team to go one direction, Claire wants the team to go another … Junior Stroll is out of his depth and probably whining to daddy, who is shortcutting the procedures Williams have had in place for years.
        The whole driver decision is evidence that there is an effort to not make junior look bad. That must be effecting team moral badly.

  3. The way things have been going they need something stronger like Martinis not de Beers anyway.

    1. That’s was refreshing. Well done.

      1. I was trying to imbibe the article and then you two turned up -_-

  4. I think Paddy and papa Stroll don’t like to give second chances.

    1. Unless you’re an underperforming pay driver. Then there are plenty of second chances.

  5. I’m not surprised he left; Williams didn’t seem to have any aero on their car anyway.

  6. I keep thinking Williams Martini Racing is on its way to becoming Stroll F1.

    1. I think Claire would rather it become the new Minardi, but those do seem like the only two choices now. I can only imagine the pressure of carrying that legacy in these circumstances. She must want to weep on those long plane rides from the races back home.

      1. She must want to weep on those long plane rides from the races back home.


  7. They clearly miss Pat

    1. +1

    2. @q85 Claire’s management has been a disaster. If her last name weren’t Williams she would have been fired years ago.

  8. Williams have aerodynamicists?

Comments are closed.