For immediate release: Friday 24 April
Patrick Head: It has been a hell of a challenge
Extensive build and development process of F2 car draws to a close
Patrick Head, Director of Engineering at the AT&T Williams F1 Team, has commended the efforts of the MotorSport Vision (MSV) Formula Two team as the build schedule for the 24 cars draws to a close.
MSV was awarded the tender to supply the cars and operational expertise for the FIA Formula Two Championship in September last year, and has faced the considerable challenge of building 24 identical and highly technically sophisticated Williams-designed single seaters in an unusually short timeframe. Head is upbeat about the series prospects in 2009 after overseeing yesterdays (23/04) test session at Snetterton, before he went on to visit the F2 facility at Bedford Autodrome.
It was great to see the car reach the speeds and targets that Jonathan Palmer specified at the design stage, when it tested yesterday, said Head. I was hugely impressed with what I saw at Bedford Autodrome when I went to see the assembly process. The team have put in a huge amount of work, and though there is still a lot to do, there is confidence that they will get the job done.
Williams obviously has a vested interest in the F2 project, and I am very keen to see it get off the ground and have a fantastic start. It has been a hell of a challenge for MotorSport Vision to produce a new car and establish a new championship and we wish them well, but we will also be keeping a close eye on the championship and help them out where we can.
MSV has coped with the task thanks to a restructure of working hours at the manufacturing base at Bedford Autodrome. Early and late shifts are in operation to ensure car build work is in progress from 0530-0100, seven days a week, as dedicated engineers and mechanics work towards the first scheduled group test on May 5. It has been a gargantuan effort from the team; it really is hard to express just how hard they have worked, said Giles Butterfield, Group Operations Manager at MotorSport Vision. These guys have literally had to eat, sleep and breathe the F2 project over the last months, and the quality of the car is a real testament to the incredible effort they have put in.
The Williams JPH1 has now covered more than 6,000kms during its test and development programme and ran with the adjustable front wing mechanism for the first time this week: What is really encouraging is that, whilst the test car is up to speed and running well, we still have new technical upgrades that will deliver even more performance from the car, said Butterfield. The adjustable front wing mechanism is now up and running and the latest evolution of Avons specially developed F2 compound tyres are also due at the first group test in early May, which will lead to a very significant boost in performance.
The pre-season tests for all 24 F2 drivers are due to take place at Snetterton on May 5/6 and Silverstone on May 18. Prior to that Steven Kane will continue with test driver duties in the UK before he takes the car for a final 2-day test at Valencia, the venue of the opening round of the 2009 FIA Formula Two Championship (May 29/31).