Williams Martini Racing has confirmed that Dirk de Beer is to be its new head of aerodynamics, joining the company on March 1. Stories of this happening have been circulating since last summer when he disappeared from Ferrari, in the days after James Allison disappeared. De Beer arrives at Williams after a long motosport career, beginning at Imperial College in London where he was trained. His first job in the business was with Swift Engineering in San Clemente, California, where he worked on the design of IndyCars until the company quit the series in 2000. He then joined Sauber in Switzerland where the team was working a vast wind tunnel that was opened in 2003. De Beer became principal aerodynamicist with the Swiss team until it was taken over by BMW and he decided to move to Renault in 2008, where he worked under Dino Toso until the latter was forced to stand down because of illness and de Beer took over the role, working with technical directors Bob Bell and then James Allison. De Beer followed Allison to Ferrari, but now heads to Williams where he will work with Dave Wheater, a former Enstone colleague, who has been the Williams head of aerodynamic performance since the end of 2014.
De Beer will take over the role that has been held since June 2011 by Jason Somerville, who had a record in F1 with Lotus, Toyota, Williams (a first time) and prior to that TWR and MIRA, following his studies at
In recent days, Renault has also announced a new head of aerodynamics with Pete Machin joining the team from Red Bull Racing in July. Machin has been at Milton Keynes since 2002 when the team was still Jaguar Racing but he was previously a CFD Engineer at Arrows from October 1997 to April 2002, after starting his career in aerodynamics with Bombardier Aerospace. The team’s current head of aerodynamics Jon Tomlinson will (in theory) become Machin’s deputy.