PEOPLE: JOCK CLEAR

Name: Jock Clear
Nationality: Great Britain

Jock Clear

Jock Clear 

 © Inside F1, Inc.

Jock Clear might never have ended up in motor sport because when he was young his great sporting passion was rugby. In his teens he was a junior international for England, playing in the "scrum half" position. He studied mechanical engineering at the famous Heriot-Watt University in the city of Edinburgh in Scotland and played rugby for the Scottish Universities before graduating as a Bachelor of Engineering in the autumn of 1987. He briefly worked in shipbuilding and when he wasn't playing rugby he spent his weekends helping a friend to run an old F1 car in historic events. It was this which sparked off his interest in motor racing.

At the end of 1988 he applied for a job at Lola Cars in Huntingdon and was hired to work with F1 Project Leader Chris Murphy, who was at the time designing cars for the Larrousse F1 team. Jock learned the trade and developed particular expertise in CAD/CAM design techniques and in composite engineering. His reputation attracted the attention of other teams and at the end of 1989 he was recruited on a two-year contract by Benetton to be the head of its composite department, under new technical director John Barnard.

Barnard stayed until mid-1991 when he fell out with team boss Flavio Briatore and Clear only lasted until the end of the year before finding a job as a senior designer at Leyton House Racing - under technical director Gustav Brunner. A year later he was offered a job by his old Lola boss Chris Murphy, who was then in charge of the design team at Lotus. Clear became a senior designer and worked in the drawing office for a couple of years before being appointed Johnny Herbert's race engineer in 1994. The Lotus-Mugen 107C was replaced by the 109, but by the time that became competitive it was too late to save Lotus, although Herbert's fourth place on the grid at Monza was noticed by other teams. Lotus went into terminal decline a few weeks later when Herbert was bought out of his contract by Ligier and within a few months the once-great team had closed its doors.

Clear moved south to join Williams, replacing race engineer John Russell. Initially he worked with David Coulthard but then began a relationship with Jacques Villeneuve whicch culminated in the Canadian winning the 1997 World Championship. When Villeneuve left Williams to join British American Racing at the end of 1998 Clear went with him and has remained Villeneuve's engineer ever since.

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