The nightmare start for Williams may have lurched into more trouble as the team revealed today the resignations of both technical director Sam Michael and chief aerodynamicist Jon Tomlinson. This comes just weeks after Michael suggested that the technical team had to pull their socks up.
“Our performance was well below expectations in many areas in Sepang,” said Michael. “This is not acceptable for us and we’ll be thoroughly reviewing all aspects of our lack of performance before Shanghai.
“Ultimately the performance and reliability of the car is down to the engineering group and we’ll respond accordingly.”
While his position was under review, it was clear that Sir Frank also had the chopping block out for others that he saw fit, and Tomlinson, who joined the team in 2006, also decided to resign from his position and see out his contract until the end of the year. Michael had been head of the technical team that has produced the FW33, which has a main feature of a slimline gearbox casing and, outside of anything technical, it’s retro ’90s colour scheme.
Team boss Frank Williams spoke on how the decisions could help the team not only transition both out, but also help the handover to new members of the Grove squad’s technical team.
“Both Sam and Jon are talented and driven people who have worked hard for Williams over ten and five years respectively,” he said. “Nonetheless, they have recognised that the team’s performance is not at the level that it needs to be and have resigned in order to give the team the opportunity to regroup and undertake the changes necessary to get back to the front of the grid.
“Both will continue to work in their present positions through until the end of the year to ensure that the team maintains focus and momentum during the 2011 season. We are very grateful to Sam and to Jon for their professional approach.”
Frank has already brought a new face into his set-up by signing disgraced former McLaren engineer Mike Coughlan.