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Aero boss De Beer leaves Williams

NEWS STORY
30/05/2018

Just weeks after the departure of chief designer Ed Wood, Williams has confirmed the loss of head of aero Dirk De Beer.

"Williams can confirm that Dirk de Beer has stepped down from his role as head of aerodynamics, effective immediately," said the team in a brief 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," added the Grove outfit.

South African De Beer, first entered F1 with Sauber in 1999 as lead aerodynamicist, having previously worked with Swift Engineering on its IndyCar programme.

In 2008 he moved to Renault, remaining with the Enstone outfit as it morphed into Lotus, before joining Ferrari in 2013. He remained with Ferrari as chief aerodynamicist before leaving for Williams last year.

His departure, and that of Ed Wood, come at a time Williams is in clear crisis.

Last in the standings, and to lose title sponsor Martini at the end of the year, Williams now faces the dilemma of trying to move forward with work on its 2019 car while coming to grips with the various shortcomings of its current car.

Ahead of the Monaco Grand Prix, which saw the Williams duo finish last of those cars that made it to the flag, technical boss Paddy Lowe took responsibility for a season which effectively sees the team in freefall.

"The car isn't good enough, it's not what it should be," he told the official F1 website. "There are some issues with it, which fortunately we think we understand and we're very busy doing a lot of work to fix those issues.

"None of those fixes are in place now unfortunately," he admitted, "which is why we were struggling so much at a circuit (Barcelona) which is an unforgiving track for underlying car performance.

"We are not writing off this season," he insisted. "From the minute this car ran, it was clear there were some issues we had to deal with. We haven't yet brought anything that solves those, so we shouldn't expect it to be any better. But we will do in due course.

"We have put in place a programme with the team, which we call a recovery programme," he said, "so you bring back the car back to the level we intended to operate. That programme is timed up to the midseason point. I can't guarantee anything. We just lost our way in some critical areas, which we now understand.

"We have to accept we haven't done a good job," he added. "I haven't done a good enough job in making the right level of progress. I've been with the team 12 months, and there are things which we should have responded to earlier."

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READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by Paul C, 02/06/2018 19:43

"Williams is having problems limited testing cannot work out. "

Rating: Neutral (0)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

2. Posted by Motorsport-fan, 31/05/2018 10:18

"Has to be more to this than is being told, clearly there are problems with the design of the car, but why are top people leaving rather than sort the issues?"

Rating: Positive (2)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

3. Posted by meatball, 30/05/2018 21:36

"This team is clearly a mess. With Princess Stroll bitching about everything from handling to seatbelts to his tea being a tad to hot for his liking, nothing is running well in that garage. They need to clean house from the top down. And if they can't fund a team without hiring some rich guys kids to do the driving, they shouldn't be running a team. I'm certain the car has problems but when the drivers are shaky on a good day, how can we know the car is working right?"

Rating: Positive (1)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

4. Posted by Ro, 30/05/2018 17:48

"I wander how long Paddy Lowe is going to be there for now? The team has lost direction. Its a shame really."

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