Williams hire Red Bull & Lotus aerodynamicists as rebuilding continues
Dave Wheater and Shaun Whitehead arrive at Grove
By James Galloway. Last Updated: 09/12/13 12:12pm
Williams: Efforts to get out of their 2013 slump continue
Williams have moved to strengthen their technical team by hiring aerodynamicists from both Red Bull and Lotus.
After enduring one of the worst seasons in their long and illustrious history, the nine-times Constructors' Champions are determined to fight back in 2014 and deputy team boss Claire Williams made clear towards the end of the year that further signings could be expected at Grove to add to Pat Symonds' mid-season arrival.
That rebuilding process has now continued with the signing of aerodynamicists from two of F1's top teams, Dave Wheater from Lotus and Shaun Whitehead from World Champions Red Bull.
Wheater joins as Head of Aerodynamic Performance and will work under the team's existing Head of Aerodynamics Jason Somerville, while Whitehead is appointed Head of Aerodynamic Process.
Symonds, Williams' Chief Technical Officer, believes both men will prove to be major assets in the team's attempts to move back up the grid.
"These two appointments show our commitment to both improving the process of aerodynamic development while focussing on the application of that development to true on-track performance," the Englishman said.
"Dave and Shaun bring a wealth of experience to our team and I welcome them both to Grove and fully expect them to make significant contributions to the renewed competitiveness that we are all working so hard to achieve.
"With Dave and Shaun on board, and under Jason's stewardship, we will be well positioned to make gains in this important area and support the continuing task of developing the FW36 in what promises to be an exciting year for the sport in 2014."
Somerville added: "I'm very pleased to have secured the first class talents of Dave and Shaun, both of whom have enviable track records within F1. With the exciting challenges ahead for 2014, I am confident they will both add strength and experience to the team here at Grove."
Having finally appeared to have turned the corner via with Pastor Maldaondado's victory at the 2012 Spanish GP after a near decade of indifferent fortunes, Williams slumped back to ninth in the constructors' standings this year having scored just five points all season - the joint-worst return in their history.
But the signing of the highly-regarded Symonds in August to replace ousted technical chief Mike Coughlan heralded the start of the rebuilding process, with the team since hiring the vastly experienced Felipe Massa to lead their on-track efforts in 2014.
Massa's long-time Ferrari race engineer Rob Smedley has also been rumoured as being on his way to Williams.