Williams appoint Ferrari Tyre specialist

Hockenheim, Germany. Sunday 31 July 2016. Felipe Massa, Williams Martini Racing, on the grid. Photo: Glenn Dunbar/Williams ref: Digital Image _V2I5930. Credit: Williams Martini Racing Media

Williams Martini Racing have taken on Antonio Spagnolo, former Head of Tyre Performance Group at Scuderia Ferrari, in a bid to maximise their performance for the rest of the 2016 season and beyond.

The former Maranello man will take up the role of Competitor Analysis and Performance Concept Team Leader at the Oxfordshire based team, and will focus on increasing car performance. He will report to current Head of Performance Engineering, Rob Smedley, who also worked for Ferrari prior to taking up his position at Williams.

Spagnolo has a wealth of experience in the performance arena, having been Race and Performance Engineer to both Kimi Raikkonen and Fernando Alonso whilst at Ferrari, which is what has prompted the Williams F1 team to bring him on board.

The Italian’s time at Ferrari started in 2005, and he was there during Raikkonen’s championship winning year of 2007, as well as for their two Constructor’s titles in that same year and 2008 – uniquely able to enjoy the experience of happier Ferrari times!

Spagnolo was a tyre specialist for the Maranello based squad, and this is a particular area in which Williams feel they need to greatly improve upon, having suffered with the management of rubber in 2016.

The Woking based squad have recently restructured their Tyre Performance Group, and it is hoped that the Italian’s know-how in this area will help them to better understand all aspects of tyre performance, and enhance their progress in the remainder of the 2016 season.

Chief Technical Officer at Williams, Pat Symonds, was positive about the strengths Spagnolo could bring to their operation.

“Williams is determined to continue the positive momentum it has had since 2014 and, with new additions to the team, hopes to become even stronger.

“We are constantly seeing ways to improve our performance and trackside operations and believe Antonio will make a valuable contribution to this process.

“As a team, we will do our utmost to achieve our on-track ambitions and secure strong positions in the Constructors’ Championship this season, and beyond.”

The main aim for the Williams F1 Team for the rest of the year, will be to stay ahead of the Sahara Force India squad, whom they currently sit above in the Constructor’s Championship standings in fourth place, by just three points. It is hoped that Spagnolo will give them the edge they need to keep one step ahead of their closest rivals, and also improve on their relatively slow progress so far this year.