At first blush, you could be forgiven for being seriously concerned about Williams F1’s personnel changes in 2012. Patrick Head, Adam Parr and Sam Michael all departed the team and that’s a big change at the top. The team brought in Mike Coughlan to head up the chassis design and we all held our collective breath.
Michael has gone on to McLaren and seems to have found a happy place in which he’s excelling. As for Parr? He’s released a graphic novel that explains his time in Formula One. Thoughts now turn to Mark Gillan as the Chief Operations Engineer has left the team.
AUTOSPORT announced the departure today and said that Gillan left to spend more time with his family. I don’t think anyone could argue with that point but I will say I am intrigued by the lack of an official press release from Williams on the matter. The team are usually very prompt with those sort of announcements or damage limitation moves. I’m not suggesting that AUTOSPORT didn’t have the scoop, simply that the news is out there and no word from the team as of yet.
Gillan worked for McLaren, Jaguar/Red Bull and Toyota in the past and headed Williams Operations. He was a key person in the program and one would presume he will be missed but then we don’t know what Williams F1’s intent is or if they were keen to make the move. Suffice to say, we’ve been nervous about the moves in 2012 but the results have been terrific as the team had a resurgence of significant proportions…one has to believe that Mark was instrumental in making some of that happen when he bolted on the new Renault engine.
What will 2013 bring? Has Coughlan designed a zinger? Can the team and it’s personnel changes make the difference? Many believed that change at the top was the biggest issue for Williams and they promptly made those changes. Toto Wolff has invested int eh team and now become part of it’s leadership and perhaps Gillan’s departure is just another move in a long-term plan fo getting the name Williams back on the podium.