What will your first few months at Grove have been like?
I listened a lot! I held 45 minute one-on-one meetings with each of the top 50 managers on the team. Unfortunately, I was unable to do them one-on-one due to the Covid restrictions, but it was extremely informative nonetheless.
I also organized group meetings to have the chance to speak to each person on the team. The exercise only reinforced my confidence in the company.
You announced the recruitment of François-Xavier Demaison as technical director. Was it important to find someone outside of the F1 ecosystem?
It really matters a lot. He is a brilliant engineer who worked for nearly ten years in close collaboration with Willy Rampf (ex-technical director Sauber. Editor’s note) in the WRC and, more particularly with him, on the ID.R project (of the Pikes Peak record. . Editor’s note). So “FX” has that kind of experience and learned a lot from Rampf. He’s the perfect fit for Williams.
When is he supposed to join the Grove facilities?
Right after Easter. Since the UK left the European Union, we Europeans need work visas that require, among other things, a three-hour English test that I also had to take, and passed (Laughs). FX also had it and should be with us within two weeks.
The pressure exerted by the 2022 program on the technical teams will complicate its integration. Will his learning of the people and the Williams culture have to be carried out at a run?
First off, Williams’ tech team is doing pretty well, and it’s not like he’s on a mission to rebuild everything. Second, FX is a hard worker.
He’s a workaholic and, as I know him, knowing that he had a chance to be asked for this position, I’m absolutely sure he spent a lot of his free time understanding F1 and the regulations governing it. I know he’s in close contact with Willy Rampf and he’s very well prepared.