PEOPLE: NEIL OATLEY
Name: Neil Oatley
Nationality: Great Britain
Graduating with an automotive engineering degree from Loughborough University in 1976, Oatley found a job with a company called Consine Dynamics, designing rolling-road dynamometers. At the end of 1977 he was recruited by Williams Grand Prix Engineering, where he worked as a design draughtsman with Patrick Head and Frank Dernie. He stayed with the team for seven years, becoming race engineer to Clay Regazzoni in 1979, Carlos Reutemann in 1980 and 1981 and then Jacques Laffite. He also worked with World Champions Alan Jones and Keke Rosberg.
At the end of 1984 he was recruited by Carl Hass to be the co-chief designer of the Beatrice-sponsored FORCE team, sharing the role with John Baldwin. When this program folded at the end of November 1986 he moved to McLaren, where he worked with John Barnard until he moved to Ferrari.
In 1988 he was put in charge of the design group for the McLaren-Honda MP4/5 of 1989. He has been chief designer ever since, his cars winning World Championships in 1989, 1990, 1991, 1998 and 1999. In 2003 he moved to a new role as executive director of engineering, moving aside to make way for Mike Coughlan to become chief designer.
Neil's current role as Design and Development Director is to define the specifications for different races and supervise the build and approval processes for each new component.