Williams set to announce engineering shake-up

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The Independent Online

Williams are expected to announce a shake-up today, with the technical director, Patrick Head, handing over more responsibility to his understudy, Sam Michael.

Williams are expected to announce a shake-up today, with the technical director, Patrick Head, handing over more responsibility to his understudy, Sam Michael.

The team refused to discuss the subject during the Monaco Grand Prix weekend, in which their driver Juan Pablo Montoya could not finish better than a lapped fourth. The Colombian had won the previous year's event.

Today they are due to open a new wind tunnel at their factory in Grove, near Oxford, with their head of aero facilities, Dr John Davis, and their chief aerodynamicist, Dr Antonia Terzi, on hand to give a guided tour. But the big news is expected to be confirmation that Michael, an Australian who formerly worked with the Lotus team, will be promoted from chief operations engineer to director of engineering.

Williams have had a bitterly disappointing season so far, with a best result of second for Montoya in Malaysia, and have been scant match for BAR-Honda and Renault, let alone Ferrari.

After the Colombian and his partner, Ralf Schumacher, won races and challenged for the title in 2003, much was expected of a new car, but so far it has failed to deliver. Michael has been fighting for greater responsibility, and the streamlined operation is set to give him what he wants.

Head is expected to take a more managerial role. He first worked with Lola Cars before becoming Frank Williams' partner in Williams Grand Prix Engineering in 1977. In the last quarter century he has been the technical architect behind the team's 112 race wins and nine constructors' world titles.

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