Patrick Head relishes the ‚engineering challenge‘ of Formula Two

Patrick Head

Williams F1’s Director of Engineering discusses involvement in F2 project

Patrick Head, who has led a six-man team in the design of the new F2 car, has declared the project as both ‘exciting’ and a ‘serious engineering challenge’.

With just a few weeks until the car’s initial shakedown test, Williams F1’s Director of Engineering has spoken about his involvement in the project: “The F2 project is both exciting and very interesting,” said Head. “We have obviously known Jonathan Palmer for a very long time and we initially discussed creating a much higher spec Formula Palmer Audi. Then when the possibility of F2 came up, it became clear that we would have to significantly upgrade the whole operation because the car would have to pass the 2005 Formula One crash test rules, which is a serious engineering challenge.”

Head’s team faced the task of creating a highly technical and advanced single seater with a top speed that sits between that of an F3 and a Formula One car, while also maintaining Formula Two’s cost-effective philosophy: “Designing a high performance F2 car to a budget actually has many more complex issues to that of a Formula One project which has a much larger resource base,” commented Head. “There will be expectations from drivers who were maybe thinking of doing GP2 but have decided to do F2 and they would be disappointed if the car didn’t have a certain amount of sophistication to it. I think we have hit the right note with the F2 car.”

The Williams JPH1 F2 car features a 450bhp turbo engine, six speed paddle shift gearbox, ground effect aerodynamics and a sophisticated composite survival cell complying with 2005 Formula One safety regulations. Settings on the car that can be adjusted to change the mechanical balance include anti-roll bars, dampers, cambers, tracking spring pre-load and ride height. The front and rear wings can be adjusted to alter the aerodynamic balance of the car and drivers will even have the ability to make some of these adjustments via on-board controls – the F2 car features a cockpit-adjustable front anti-roll bar and a pioneering front wing adjuster on the steering wheel is being developed, which will be unique outside of Formula One in 2009.

Head has been impressed with the rapid progress of the championship’s development and the calibre of its 2009 drivers: “It is looking very positive. Of course, like all things the proof of the pudding is in the eating, but it is looking promising. Very often, when a driver comes from GP2 or F3 you are always wondering how much of their success is down to the team, the performance of the car and the race engineer. With Formula Two, we will know that the best driver will come out on top in the end, and that’s good when looking at their potential for Formula One,” Head concluded.

The winner of the 2009 FIA Formula Two Championship will be awarded a full test with the AT&T Williams team.


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