Former World Champion Alan Jones has paid tribute to Williams’ outgoing director of engineering Patrick Head in the wake of the team co-founder’s announcement that he would be relinquishing his role with the Grove team.
Head has recently confirmed that he would step back from his role with the team, and instead concentrate on Williams’ latest enterprise, being its hybrid technology concern, largely based in Qatar.
The Australian Jones won the 1980 World Championship crown – the team’s first – driving the famous ground-effect FW07 designed by Head, and despite the team’s recent poor form, he firmly believes that Head’s legacy will continue to be long-lasting.
“You only have to look at the guys who have worked underneath him – Ross Brawn and Adrian Newey being just two – and who have gone through the doors and Williams and have been influenced by Patrick, to know what effect he has had on the sport,” Jones told us.
“Look at the FW14B that Mansell drove to win the 1992 World Championship, which was the reason that Ayrton Senna joined the Williams team in 1994,” he added.
“Patrick was innovative and yet his focus was so simplistic. He could make one component do the job of three.
“He will leave a fantastic legacy to Formula 1. He’s certainly the best bloke I’ve ever worked with.”
Jones also believes that Williams is well-placed to arrest its seemingly inexorable slide and get back towards the front of the field, possibly as early as next year.
“I think they need to do what they’re doing,” he answered, when asked by us if Williams was taking the right approach in undertaking wholesale restructures within its operation.
“They’re leaving no stone unturned. With all of these engineers and technical figures coming into the team, they’re trying to assemble as many good people as they possibly can.
“Next year, they’ll have Renault power as well. So as far as I’m concerned, I think they’re doing all the right things [to get back to the front].”