Happy new year! It’s time to join the gym, stop smoking and detox your body….well think about it at least, what we all want now the festivities are over is for some F1 news!
Until the car launches at the beginning of February, Williams are the team creating any sort of headlines at the moment ahead of finalising their plans for 2012. On New year’s eve, the team released a statement announcing that teams co-founder and Director of Engineering, Patrick Head, was stepping down from the board of directors with immediate effect to concentrate on the team’s subsidiary company, Williams Hybrid Power. Sir Frank Williams said on Head’s departure, “Patrick and I have been in partnership for 34 years. During that time, he has been the leader of the technical team that has won the majority of our race wins and championships. This is a remarkable legacy and one which will be treasured and definitely not forgotten.” He added, “I will miss him very much, as I am sure his colleagues will, and he will always be welcome at Grove. Indeed, Patrick will still be seen around the factory as he continues to be involved in the development of our hybrid power activities.”
Head’s decision to walk away from F1 may open the door for another stalwart of the sport to carry on for a 20th year. Brazilian, Rubens Barrichello could well be back in the driving seat to retain his drive with the team. Throughout the 2011 campaign, veteran, Barrichello had been outspoken on the team’s ongoing difficulties, something that Head found increasingly difficult to listen to. The Brazilian has an ally in the form of Chairman, Adam Parr, who too had a strained relationship with straight talking Head.
Rubens’ argument to keep his drive is based on sound thinking. With the team going through a massive upheaval after making wholesale changes of their technical staff and working with a new engine supplier, Renault, keeping the driver line up as a ‘known quantity’ could pay dividends. After the final race of the year in Brazil Barrichello told the press, “it would be clever from the team to keep the drivers and keep on going. I’m not pushing them, I’m just trying to show them that is the way to do it.”
One quiet change going into 2012 was the branding on the teams website. Although there has been no official word from either party, it seems that title sponsor, AT&T have ended their support for the team. The sites URL has now become williamsf1, while the logo on the home page is also AT&T free, something that has been mirrored on their facebook page.
Does this mean the protracted deal with QNB, the Qatari national bank is soon to be announced? Like I said, more questions than answers.