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Willis officially splits from Honda 18 Aug 2006

Geoff Willis (GBR) Honda Racing Chief Designer. Formula 1 Testing, Barcelona, Spain, 21-24 February 2006. World ©  Sutton.

After weeks of speculation, Honda have reached a mutual agreement with technical director Geoffrey Willis to conclude their working relationship. The announcement comes less than two weeks after Jenson Button’s maiden victory for the team.

“Geoff has made an invaluable technical contribution to the development of our team over the last five years, leading to our second place in the F1 Constructors Championship in 2004 and of course contributing towards the momentous occasion of our first win in Hungary two weeks ago,” said Honda’s Chief Executive Officer, Nick Fry. “I would like to thank Geoff both personally and from all our team.”

Willis, who had been with team since 2002, had been on ‘gardening leave’ following the appointment of Shuhei Nakamoto as senior technical director in June. Nakamoto was promoted from his position as engineering director for Honda Racing Development after the team struggled during the early stages of the season with poor performance and reliability.

"The last five years with the team has been a very challenging but rewarding time for me. It has also been a period of great change for the team and I would like to thank all of my colleagues who have helped to set and achieve new standards and establish the team as a technology leader in Formula One,” said Willis. “It has been a great pleasure and an education to work with such an enthusiastic and capable group of people and I wish them every success in the future."

Willis’s plans for the future are not yet known. His involvement in Formula One racing stretches back to 1990 when he joined the Leyton House team. The British engineer then spent five years at Williams before moving to BAR (now Honda).