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Williams reduces staff
The Williams team is changing at the moment as the team tries to claw its way back to the front in Formula 1. In part the changes are due to cost-cutting measures and in part because the new generation of management is not appreciated by some of the older staff, who have been around in the days when Williams was winning World Championships. Amazingly it is now 13 seasons since Williams last won a title and six since the team won a race.

The latest two departures are the team’s head of communications Liam Clogger, one of the most respected figures in the F1 PR world.

The other is senior systems engineer John Russell, a longtime Williams man who joined the team from the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority at Harwell in 1989. He became Riccardo Patrese’s race engineer and the pair scored their first victory together the following year at Imola and in 1991 added wins in Mexico and Portugal. Patrese finished third in the World Championship that year. There was a further victory in Japan in 1992. For the 1993 season Russell became Damon Hill’s engineer and the relationship blossomed with Damon winning three victories at the end of the year.

He started 1994 with Hill but after Ayrton Senna was killed Damon became the team’s number one and was engineered by David Brown. Russell ran David Coulthard and Nigel Mansell and the year ended with Mansell’s victory in Australia. Russell then became chief engineer of the Williams Touring Car Engineering, running Renault Lagunas in the British Touring Car Championship, winning the title in 1997 with Alain Menu before becoming chief engineer of BMW Motorsport Ltd, the Williams operation that built and ran BMW sportscars. The team won the Sebring 12 Hours and the Le Mans 24 Hours in 1999.

After that he rejoined Williams F1 but was poached by Jaguar Racing to be its chief designer. In 2003 he decided to go to Australia and ran the Prodrive’s V8 Supercar program. He was lured back to Williams in 2006, but has now decided to return to Australia, where he will be in charge of Triple Eight Engineering’s Team Vodafone operation. Triple Eight is run by Ian Harrison, a former Williams F1 team manager. Joe Saward

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