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2013-07-17 08:09

BANNED CHIEF NOW WITH WILLIAMS: Pat Symonds will join Williams as its chief technical officer in August 2013.Image: AP

Alan Baldwin

LONDON, England - Pat Symonds, a former Renault F1 engineering chief banned from Formula 1 in 2009 after a Singapore GP crash scandal, has joined Williams as chief technical officer.

Williams said its current technical head Mike Coughlan had left the team with immediate effect.

Coughlan also joined Williams after serving a two-year ban, imposed in 2007, for his role in a spying controversy that led to McLaren being fined a record R443-million.


Symonds has been working with Marussia as a technical consultant under the terms of the ban but will move to Williams from August 19 2013.

Team founder Frank Williams said: "I'm delighted that Pat is joining the team. His technical capabilities and sporting successes speak for themselves and I'm sure that his knowledge and leadership will contribute considerably to the success that all of us at Williams are working hard to achieve."

Symonds said he was honoured "to be asked to play a role in returning the team to its rightful place at the pinnacle of F1".

Williams has fallen on hard times since its years of dominance. A win in Spain by Pastor Maldonado in 2012 was its first victory in nearly eight years.

Symonds has been in F1 for 30 years and has a formidable reputation as an engineer and strategist. He worked with the young Ayrton Senna at Toleman in 1984 and then seven-times champion Michael Schumacher at Benetton. He added more successes to his resume with Fernando Alonso at Renault and has played a part in 32 race wins, four Drivers' and three Constructors' championships to date to date.


The 2008 Singapore GP was the win that stained Symond’s record after the crash scandal. Symonds left Renault in 2009 along with flamboyant team boss Flavio Briatore after driver Nelson Piquet Jnr told the International Automobile Federation he had been ordered to crash into a wall so Alonso could win.

Piquet said: "Symonds, in the presence of Briatore, asked me if I would be willing to sacrifice my race for the team by 'causing a safety car'. Symonds took me aside to a quiet corner and, using a map, pointed me to the exact corner of the track where I should crash."

Renault did not dispute the allegations and Symonds, who ran the race strategy and was Briatore's deputy, was banned initially for five years although that was later overturned. He declared his "eternal regret and shame" in a letter to the federation and agreed not to work in F1 other than as a consultant until 2013.

Williams' chief executive Mike O'Driscoll: "Williams' sporting and engineering heritage dictates that we secure the finest talent available. Pat brings unrivalled technical and managerial skills and a proven ability to deliver on track results.

"Our commitment to return Williams to winning is absolute."

Read more on:    renault  |  williams  |  flavio briatore  |  motorsport  |  f1

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