How do you get around a ban on being hired by a Formula 1 team? You resort to a technique used by entrepreneurial professionals all over the world: you become a consultant.
Former Renault chief engineer Pat Symonds, who was banned from direct involvement in the sport as a result of last year’s Crashgate scandal, is currently prevented by an FIA ban from direct participation in the sport until 2013. The ban not withstanding, however, he is apparently in the crosshairs for being hired on a consulting basis by the Williams team to help with the design of their car for 2011.
Symonds was part of the Benetton team during their glory years when Michael Schumacher won back-to-back titles in the mid-nineties, and remained with the team after they morphed into Renault, and won two more consecutive titles with Fernando Alonso. Fellow Crashgate conspirator Flavio Briatore was boss of the team during both periods.
Both Renault and Williams have fallen from grace since those heady days in the nineties when they were both card-carrying members of the Big Four (the other teams being Ferrari and McLaren, just as they are today), and while Symonds has presided over as many moribund years as he has days of glory, it’s really no surprise that Williams might be keen to augment their current brain trust in any way that they might find. For several years, the team has been scrapping for supremacy with other second tier teams such as Sauber, Toro Rosso and Renault.