The 2019 campaign has been a sobering one for Williams, but in a bid to transform their fortunes, the iconic British team have tempted co-founder Sir Patrick Head to return to Grove to support the engineering team in a consultancy capacity…
Head has legendary status within the team, so his return is something of a coup. Having founded the team with owner Sir Frank Williams in 1976, the Briton - who remains a shareholder - was the pioneering spearhead of the squad's design department.
As both Technical Director and later Director of Engineering he helped guide the team to seven drivers’ championships and nine constructors' titles before stepping away from the outfit in 2011.
Since then, Williams have enjoyed mixed fortunes, securing just one Grand Prix win but two third-place finishes in the constructors’ championship. Currently, they lie last in the standings, having finished in that position last year, and have a car that is well off the pace.
With their Chief Technical Officer Paddy Lowe having taken a leave of absence for personal reasons, Head’s return in this capacity, even if it’s only short-term, offers stability.
Williams told Formula1.com in a statement: “We can confirm that Sir Patrick Head is currently offering some support to our engineering team on a short-term consultancy basis.”
Lawrence Barretto, Senior Writer F1.com says:
“This is a huge statement of intent for Williams, who have endured a miserable start to the season. Last year was painful enough, but to miss their shakedown as well as two-and-a-half days of testing and then see that the car is well off the pace was brutal.
"Aside from Sir Frank Williams himself, there is no one who knows Williams, and understands them, better. He is obviously still a shareholder, so has always had an active interest in the team over the years. He regularly visits Grove, too, so drafting him in at a time when Williams needs stability is a strong move.
"There will be great respect for him within Grove and while the staff remain motivated and loyal to the team, his arrival will certainly help add an extra boost as well as give them clear direction."