E s was in the making, now it's official: Pat Symonds leaves Williams. The English racing team announced this in a ten-line press release on Tuesday (December 20th, 2016).
Symonds has been in F1 for decades
Symonds is an old warrior in Formula 1. Its beginnings did the Englishman at Toleman in the 1980s, when he worked with Ayrton Senna on the small team. His further career led the now 63-year-old to Benetton, where he celebrated two world titles with Michael Schumacher. Symonds also worked for Renault and Marussia.
His time with the French ended in a great controversy. After Nelson Piquet Junior's deliberate accident in Singapore in 2008 ('Crash Gate'), the FIA put the Englishman on a five-year ban, which was later softened after a legal dispute, which is why Symonds was allowed to take on a consultancy role at Marussia. Towards the end of 2013, Symonds took on the role of chief technology officer at Williams. He led the team back to the front from ninth place in the Constructors' Championship. In 2014 and 2015, Williams finished third in the Team World Cup.
Lowe, the hottest successor candidate
In 2016, it fell back to fifth place. Williams had to admit defeat not only to the big teams Mercedes, Red Bull and Ferrari with 138 points, but also to Force India. Now the Grove team is drawing conclusions, even though Williams jumped on the podium 14 times during Symond's tenure. The three-year contract that expires in 2016 will not be extended. 'Pat has been an incredible asset to this team over the past three years,' said team principal Claire Williams. 'Pat's commitment was the start of our restructuring and he was a central component in making Williams a much stronger Formula 1 team again.'
Paddy Lowe is to be the successor to Symonds at Williams. The current Mercedes technical director is in negotiations with the racing team. However, Lowe would not be free until mid-2017, unless Mercedes lets him move earlier without a work ban. James Key from Toro Rosso, whose contract with the Red Bull junior team expires at the end of 2017, has also been considered a candidate. Williams wants to announce his new chief technology officer 'in due course'.