One of Formula 1’s longest-serving figures, Patrick Head, has announced that he will quit the sport at the end of the year after over 30 years of frontline competition with Williams. He will head up the team’s ever-expanding new hybrid technology division.
The relinquishment of his role as the Director of Engineering comes off the back of a massive technical restructure at Williams in the wake of its worst-ever Formula 1 season, which saw the team claim just five championship points, finishing ninth overall in the Constructors’ Championship standings.
“I am not going to be directly part of the Williams F1 programme next year,” Head, who has been a part of the team since 1977, told AUTOSPORT.
“When I have a look at what specifically I can do to assist [the new technical leadership], I came to the conclusion that it isn’t enough for me to carry on justifying doing the same thing. It is not interesting for me; it is not good for the company. I decided to have a change of focus now.
“I am going to be doing some work for Williams Hybrid Power, which may sound a bit dry and dull but it is actually quite high tech and quite interesting. However, it even sounds more dull, because albeit most motorsport activities are quite interesting, for the company, it is buses and intercity railways and that is where the commercial side shall be.”
An outspoken and forthright character in the paddock, Head was instrumental in building the Williams team into a race-winning prospect in the late 1970s.
He later developed the all-conquering ground-effect Williams’ of the early 1980s, before heading up the team’s technical operation – which included chief designer Adrian Newey – that saw the team claim multiple championships in the 1990s.
[Images via The Cahier Archive]