Dirk de Beer has parted ways with Williams Martini Racing as its Head of Aerodynamics “with immediate effect”, the team has announced.
Whether de Beer – who joined the Grove outfit from Ferrari at the start of 2017 – left of his own accord or was fired is of little relevance, but his exit comes hot on the heels of that of Ed Wood, the team’s Chief Designer, who left at the beginning of the month.
This time of year is typically ‘the killing season’ for designers and engineers to be axed if their cars are not up to scratch, and this year’s FW41 has not proven to be the turnaround in fortunes the team’s leadership of Claire Williams and Paddy Lowe had predicted in the pre-season.
The team sits last in the Constructors’ Championship standings, with all four of the championship points earned to-date coming thanks to Lance Stroll’s attrition-assisted eighth place at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.
The FW41 is, in the estimation of many insiders, the slowest car in the field. It reportedly suffers from a loss of downforce at the rear of the car, which makes its handling unpredictable.
The team’s experienced reserve driver Robert Kubica was critical of the car’s handling and performance after his Free Practice 1 outing for the team at the Spanish Grand Prix, remarking: “Often unfortunately now we are in a position that we are going around the track and we are not driving the car. And this is not enjoyable. This is hard work.”
De Beer and Wood’s roles will be filled internally, the team confirmed.
“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 [previously Head of Aerodynamic Performance] stepping up to take on the role as Head of Aerodynamics,” a Williams spokesperson said.
Image via Williams Martini Racing