Williams have confirmed the team’s head of aerodynamics has stepped down from his role.
Dirk de Beer, who has been with the team since last season, departs just a few days after the team’s two cars finished last of those still running at the Monaco Grand Prix and after both cars qualified on the back row at the Spanish Grand Prix.
De Beer joined Williams from Ferrari at the start of 2017, making this year’s car the first he has been fully involved in the design of. The FW41 has struggled in the opening six races of the 2018 campaign though, with the team scoring just four points so far.
The team confirmed De Beer has left the role with immediate effect and thanked him for his work over the last year. Chief engineer Doug McKiernan will take over responsibility for aerodynamic and design direction of the car, while Dave Wheater will assume the role of head of aerodynamics, having previously been the team’s head of aerodynamic performance.
According to Autosport, Williams are working on a recovery plan and expect to have new parts ready before the summer break. Lance Stroll was critical of many areas of the car during the Monaco weekend, but he isn’t the only person who has been negative about the FW41’s performance. Test and reserve driver Robert Kubica drove the car in FP1 at the Spanish Grand Prix, claiming it wasn’t enjoyable to drive, while former F1 driver Alex Wurz, who still has ties to the team, says the car has a loss of downforce at the rear likely caused by a mistake in the software and simulation.
Sergey Sirotkin has been more positive about the car’s recent performance though. He was hit with a penalty in Monte Carlo as the tyres weren’t fitted to his car ahead of the race in time, but believes he could have challenged for points without the stop and go penalty, having qualified 13th.