Patrick Head, the longtime technical director at Williams Grand Prix Engineering, turns 66 today.
Head (second from left) confers with Frank Williams about Alan Jones'
FW07 at the British Grand Prix in 1980.
Before stepping away from the race team last year, Head was regularly one of the first people Formula 1 journalists turned to for comment on technical matters – or just a pithy quote about matters of the moment in the sport, given his well-earned reputation for blunt talk.
From 1977 until 2004, the Englishman ran the technical department at Williams and was responsible for many innovations, starting with the FW07 chassis that took the ground-effect concepts pioneered by Lotus and took it to new heights, as Alan Jones dominated the latter stages of the 1979 season and then romped to the 1980 World Championship with the car. Head's cars would win seven drivers and nine constructor's World Championships.
Many of F1's current top engineers, including Adrian Newey, Neil Oatley, Ross Brawn, Frank Dernie, Eghbal Hamidy, Geoff Willis and Enrique Scalabroni, worked under Head's supervision early in their careers before moving on to senior positions within other teams.
After stepping back into a supervisory role in 2004, Head opted at the end of last year to focus on the company's thriving hybrid business, ending his 34-year association with the F1 team. He remains a board director of Williams Hybrid Power Ltd.