Williams Martini Racing has announced that Dirk de Beer will join as the team’s new Head of Aerodynamics, starting on March 1.
De Beer was part of a small wave of figures to part ways with Ferrari in the days after its sudden split with technical director James Allison.
The South African has enjoyed a lengthy motorsport career, with his particular interest in aerodynamics sparked during his childhood watching the South African Grand Prix with his father. After studying under Professors John Harvey and Peter Beerman at the University of London’s Imperial College, the training ground for a number of his current peers.
His first major motorsport job came at Swift Engineering, where he held a design role until the company quit the Champ Car series at the end of 2000. He moved on to Sauber and became the team’s principal aerodynamicist until the team was taken over by BMW in 2006.
He then decided to move to Renault in 2008, working under Dino Toso until the Italian was suddenly forced to step aside due to illness. De Beer took over Toso’s role and worked alongside the team’s technical directors Bob Bell and then James Allison. When Allison joined Ferrari, de Beer followed.
Joining Williams and reporting to Williams’ head aerodynamicist Dave Wheater, de Beer will take over the role previously held by Jason Somerville.
Williams isn’t the only team to announce a number of major technical appointments, however.
Rival outfit Renault also has a new head of aerodynamics, with former Red Bull Racing aerodynamicist Pete Machin joining its ranks. Machin’s stint at his former employer stretches back to its Jaguar days in the early 2000s, and that was precedes by a stint with Arrows.
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