The word on the street around Bicester is that Scuderia Toro Rosso has axed its head of aerodynamics, Australian Brendan Gilhome. The logic behind this appears to be that the team did not make sufficient in-season progress in 2017. To be fair, Carlos Sainz finished fourth in one of the cars, as late as Singapore before he departed to Renault. Daniil Kvyat was destabilised for most of the season and Pierre Gasly and Brendan Hartley were both still learning, so the results at the end of the year are not perhaps the best criterion to use. Gilhome is an F1 veteran, dating back to 2005 when he joined Sauber from the automotive consulting firm FKFS in Stuttgart. A PhD from Monash University in Melbourne, he spent five years with Sauber before joining Mercedes in 2010, where he was a principal aerodynamicist. Prior to his departure to join STR in 2013, he did the primary aerodynamic development of the 2014 Mercedes, which won the World Championship in the hands of Lewis Hamilton. Lured to STR by James Key, with whom he had worked at Sauber. The STR technical office in Bicester, where it has a wind tunnel, now employs 140 staff and has rented more space to fit everyone in. The team’s budgets have increased significantly but the results have not, despite team boss Franz Tost’s annual speech that the team can finish fifth in the Constructors’ Championship. Last year the team was its habitual seventh.
The word is that Gilhome will be replaced in his role by his deputy Ben Mallock, who has been with the team since 2012, having joined from Mercedes. He was a Red Bull aerodynamicist for four years before moving to Brawn GP early in 2009.