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SBD Global/July 17, 2013/Franchises

Pat Symonds Replaces Mike Coughland At Williams As Technical Director

The "trade in the top brains in Formula One has taken a new twist as a desperate Williams team snatched Pat Symonds from their struggling rivals at Marussia," according to Kevin Eason of the LONDON TIMES. It is a tale of two notorious "Gates" -- "Spygate" and "Crashgate" -- as "two of the most controversial figures in the recent history of F1 are shuffled around with Symonds replacing Mike Coughlan." The move "comes at a crucial moment in the season with the teams gathering at Silverstone for the start of a three-day test on Wednesday and the summer break looming." There "is precious little time now for teams to put in place the measures that will carry them through the congested second half of the season, which involves seven inter-continental trips" in the space of just 10 "gruelling weeks." Williams has "moved with a clear sense of urgency" with its position "becoming increasingly perilous." Symonds replaces Coughlan, who has paid with his job as technical director for the team’s "worst start to a season" (LONDON TIMES, 7/16). REUTERS' Alan Baldwin reported Symonds, the former Renault F1 engineering head "was banned from Formula One in 2009 after a Singapore Grand Prix crash scandal." Symonds will start work at the Williams factory on Aug. 19. He has been in F1 for 30 years and "has a formidable reputation as an engineer and strategist," working with the young Ayrton Senna at Toleman in 1984 and then seven-time champion Michael Schumacher at Benetton (REUTERS, 7/16). The BBC's Andrew Benson reported Symonds "was then found guilty," along with Team Principal Flavio Briatore, "of arranging for Nelson Piquet Jr. to deliberately crash" in Singapore in '08 to help teammate Fernando Alonso win. These are "the first of a series of changes planned at Williams in the coming months" (BBC, 7/16).
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