SAO PAULO, Nov 28 (Reuters) - Williams co-founder Patrick Head has called time on his active involvement in the Formula One team after their worst season in the sport.
“I am not going to be directly part of the Williams Formula One programme next year,” Head, 65, told Reuters while ruling out complete retirement.
The former world champions ended the season in Brazil on Sunday ninth overall in the constructors’ standings and with just five points to their credit from 19 races.
That was Williams’ lowest position since 1978, when points were awarded only to the top six finishers in a race and they scored 11. Two years later, they were champions.
Had this season’s tally been calculated under that system, or even the one in force up until last year rewarding the top eight, they would have ended up with nothing.
Head, who set up Williams Grand Prix Engineering with principal Frank Williams in 1977 and designed a series of world-beating cars, said he would focus on work for Williams Hybrid Power, which deals with flywheel technology for broader commercial use in buses and trains.
“I certainly didn’t have an ambition to stop my involvement in Formula One with a season like this last one we’ve had behind us,” said the Briton.
”But when I have a look at what specifically I can do to assist (technical director) Mike Coughlan and (Chief Operations Officer) Mark Gillan and (Head of Aerodynamics) Jason Somerville, I came to the conclusion that it isn’t really enough to justify me carrying on doing the same thing.
“It’s not interesting for me and it’s not good for the company so I decided to have a change of focus, that’s all,” declared Head.
“I certainly think those three people are good and I‘m quite certain they will lift the capability of the company upwards. But we’ve fallen into quite a poor level, quite a long way to go. It’s not going to happen over a one-year cycle.”
Head sold more than half of his shares in Williams earlier in the year, netting more than $50 million, when the team made an initial public offering.
Williams won nine constructors’ titles and seven drivers’ championships between 1980 and 1997 but have not won a race since Colombian Juan Pablo Montoya’s triumph in the 2004 Brazilian Grand Prix.
The team have yet to announce their 2012 driver line-up although one of them is expected to be Venezuelan Pastor Maldonado, who scored one point this year but brings substantial funding with him from state oil company PDVSA. (Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Patrick Johnston; For Reuters sports blog Left Field go to: blogs.reuters.com/sport)