Rubens Barrichello, Williams, Valencia, 2011

Williams appoints new technical staff for 2012 car

2012 F1 season

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Rubens Barrichello, Williams, Valencia, 2011
Rubens Barrichello, Williams, Valencia, 2011

Williams have announced two major new recruits in its technical department.

Jason Somerville has joined as head of aerodynamics and Mark Gillan has become the team’s chief operations engineer.

It follows the joint resignation of technical director Sam Michael and chief aerodynamicist Jon Tomlinson last month, which will take effect at the end of the year.

Somerville joins the team as of August 15th. Gillan will begin attending races from the next Grand Prix weekend, and start work for the team in October. They will develop the team’s 2012 car, the FW34, with new chief engineer Mike Coughlan.

Somerville is returning to Williams who he worked for between 1997 and 2002, contributing to the development of the FW23, FW24 and FW25 F1 cars as well as the BMW LMR V12 which won the Le Mans 24 Hours.

He moved to Toyota in 2003. Following their departure from F1 he joined Renault, where he worked on this year’s R31.

Gillan is another ex-Toyota employee – he was formerly their head of aerodynamics – who has also worked for McLaren, Jaguar and Red Bull.

Frank Williams said: “Williams F1 is looking forward to welcoming Jason and Mark to the team. They bring with them talent, experience and good team skills.

“We now feel that, together with Mike Coughlan, Jason and Mark can form the right technical leadership to take the team forward as we work our way back to the front of the grid.”

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Keith Collantine
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33 comments on “Williams appoints new technical staff for 2012 car”

  1. Lets guess…

    When the 2012 Williams rolls out early next year it will be a “Clean sheet, Agressive design”.

    1. And it will still be in the midfield.

    2. I hope these new people at least bring some creative new wordings with them.

      But taking in account that the car one of them worked on last was the Renault R31 for this year and it was also announced to be “aggressive” and “innovative”, I guess it will stay at these words.

      Good to see Williams getting in a solid team, although one has to worry for all the people leaving Renault, how much will be left there.

      1. And the other is used to work for a team that started the season saying they will be fighting for the championship in the coming year, or at least a race win, for most of their time in the sport. Good omens.

    3. No tight rear end?

  2. nice one from williams , shaking up the technical department and bringing in fresh brains and experience . will be keeping an eye on their next challenger .

    1. Yea, my thoughts too. Even if it’s a disaster it will be interesting to see it get to that point.

    2. did Coughlan actually design most of the 2007 mclaren? (spyscandal jokes aside…)
      if he did, the Williams have got their man!

  3. Williams are simply destined to stay in the midfield until they can get some solid, substantial investment. It would help if they had better drivers, too.

    1. Ruby’s pretty decent. Pastor Malcolm Donado needs work, though.

      1. Barrichello remains a top driver IMO. He won races two years ago and has never had a rise/fall in competitiveness.

        1. I agree about Rubens. He remains a top driver and a perfect guy to develop a car, but I seriously doubt he will keep the motivation in top shape once this season is over.
          His car this year lacks almost everything, starting with a better engine. Williams, IMO, had a good pair, with Rubens bringing a lot of experience and Maldonado adding the motivation of a young driver trying to make his name. But the car doesn’t help.

          1. Hmm… I think though with Rubens… You could give him a shopping trolley and he’d drive it.

    2. Last I heard they were doing alright since been floated on the markets?

      And Maldonado brought a substantial amount with him?

      1. Whats that got to do with anything. The float was Patrick Heads shares, the proceeds of which go to Patrick Head.

      2. I’m talking properly substantial, Top 3 budgets kind of money.

        1. Isn’t the PDVSA money pretty substantial?

  4. Good luck guys

  5. Hopefully Messrs Somerville and Gillan will be immune to the party line of “We’ve built an aggressive car”.

    1. Right now aiming for a solid points scorer would be a clear improvement.

  6. That’s not a bad line-up that Williams have themselves there. I’d keep Barrichello for definite. Maldanado is slightly less convincing, but better than Hulkenburg IMO.

  7. Barrichello has been the ‘second-best’ driver in Formula one for probably more seasons and across more driver generations/eras than any other driver in the sport.

    He was not Michael, and he was not in the Brawn year, Button. But remember he has been in the top three in races with the mordern era of F1.

    – Alain Prost
    – Ayrton Senna
    – Damon Hill
    – Thierry Boutsen
    – Michael Schumacher (inc. different cars)
    – Eddier Irvine
    – Jean Alesi
    – Gerhard Berger
    – Johnny Herbert
    – Mika Salo
    – Mika Hakkinen
    – Johnny Herbert
    – Kimmi Raikonen
    – David Coulthard
    – Felipe Massa
    – Fernando Alonso
    – Olivier Panis
    – Alan McNish

    To not have anything but immense respect for Barrichello as a race-car driver season-after-season is a simple failure to understand the sport.

    1. And he holds the lap record on the Top Gear track, beating all other F1 drivers past and present! :)

      1. Exactly. He’s the only man with an “I beat the Stig” t-shirt :D

    2. To not have anything but immense respect for Barrichello as a race-car driver season-after-season is a simple failure to understand the sport.


    3. There’s a big difference between not respecting the guy and not thinking he’s the guy to lead the team forwards a la Kubica at Renault.

  8. I really hope this works out for them. Barrichello, for all the wonderful career he’s had, is starting to show his age a bit…

    1. I agree; I cannot imagine Barrichello getting any faster after 40.

      After the Hamilton-Maldonado collision in Monaco, someone on this site jokingly suggested that Hamilton’s penalty should be to drive Maldonado’s Williams for a few races. From Williams’s point of view, this is indeed a great idea. Would they score decent points regularly with, say, a Hamilton-Button line-up? Just look at 2009 what a difference the driver can make. Rosberg scored like 30-something points (old money, of course), to Nakajima’s 0.

  9. don’t know economics or even the business of f1 but I suggest they go off the markets and go back to a major engine supplier bond like before. that maybe could cut the cost of armotizations and push the development much more. Bring in Honda, BMW, Jaguar, Ford, Audi, Peugeot or somebody??? I just admire Williams for the sake of the not so old days. Wish them all luck.

  10. major engine supplier

    meant major auto maker

  11. I expect good results

  12. When will this happen?and why he will appoints new staff?

  13. I doubt that it will help at all, every other team will improve enough for them to slip behind once again. Bring Hulkenburg back.

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