Geoff Willis, the technical director of Red Bull Racing has left the team, with barely half of the season gone.
The exact reasons for his departure are not known as yet but Sebastian Vettel confirmed it in an interview with BBC Radio 5 Live’s Holly Samos this afternoon. Vettel added that the team would not be destabilised by the departure.
“Geoff did a lot of work and thanks to him we are where we are now. It’s always very difficult if someone leaves but we have a very good harmony in the team and it shouldn’t affect our performance at all. We know what we have to do and where we want to go.”
After being sacked by Honda a few years ago, Willis was reunited at Red Bull with Adrian Newey, with whom he had formed a strong relationship at Williams in the winning years of the 1990s. Willis was hired to make the car reliable and he has certainly achieved that, but there are suggestions that he and Newey may not have seen eye to eye over the technical direction of the team this time.
Whether he jumped or was pushed, the speculation this evening was that he may be on his way to Ferrari. Willis is a fluent Italian speaker and his wife is Italian. He apparently offered his services to Ferrari but the word I’m hearing tonight is that he is not going there.
Meanwhile my Italian colleagues are telling me that Sunday will be the last Grand Prix for Sebastien Bourdais at Toro Rosso. There have been persistent rumours that the Frenchman is on thin ice, but Bourdais denied them today,
“What can I say? I haven’t received any notice from the team that this is my last race so as far as I am concerned it is still a rumour,” he said.
Apparently it is not a rumour, it is a fact and he will be replaced by the recently installed reserve driver Jaime Alguersuari.