In the latest stage of its technical renewal, Williams F1 is pleased to announce two new appointments to the team. Jason Somerville will take up the role of Head of Aerodynamics and Mark Gillan has been appointed Chief Operations Engineer.
Jason will start work at the factory on 15 August with Mark starting on 1 October and attending races straightaway. The pair will work with Chief Engineer Mike Coughlan on the team’s current race car and on the development of 2012’s FW34.
Jason Somerville has a history with Williams F1; he joined the company in 1997 as the aerodynamicist responsible for the design and development of the sports car that won the 1999 Sebring 12hrs and Le Mans 24hrs for Williams and BMW. He moved over to the Formula One team in 1999 where he worked on the race-winning FW23, FW24 and FW25 and was promoted to joint-head of the aerodynamics department.
Jason moved to Toyota F1 in 2003, where he became Deputy Head of Aerodynamics, contributing to an increasingly competitive F1 programme there. Following Toyota’s withdrawal from the sport at the end of 2009, Jason joined Renault F1 as Project Leader – Aerodynamics where he played a significant role in this year’s innovative R31.
Mark Gillan brings a proven background in vehicle dynamics and race operations to the team. His Formula One career started at McLaren as a vehicle dynamicist in 1998, a position which saw him assist in the team’s Championships in 1998 and 1999 before promotion to Principal Operational Aerodynamicist in 2001. In 2002, Mark moved to the Jaguar F1 Team as Head of Vehicle Performance and Chief Race and Test Engineer.
At the start of the 2005 season, Mark left what is now Red Bull Racing to take up a Professorship at the University of Surrey before moving to the Toyota F1 Team as Head of Aerodynamics. Upon concluding his contract with Toyota, Mark returned to the University of Surrey as Professor of Vehicle Engineering while consulting on aerodynamics with a leading Formula One team.
Williams F1 is grateful to both Jason and Mark’s current employers for their co-operation in enabling a smooth transition for both parties into their new roles.
Of the new appointments, Frank Williams, Team Principal of AT&T Williams, commented, “Williams F1 is looking forward to welcoming Jason and Mark to the team. They bring with them talent, experience and good team skills. We now feel that, together with Mike Coughlan, Jason and Mark can form the right technical leadership to take the team forward as we work our way back to the front of the grid.”