MARCH 9, 2002
Richards and BAR
Geoff Willis, the new technical director of BAR, has now started work at Brackley after having to sit out six months following his decision to leave Williams. Willis will not be able to have much of an effect on the new car for a few months at least and the major push would seem to be needed in the engine development rather than the chassis, which appears to be a lot better than last year's car.
Richards has made it clear that there is going to be change at BAR and, in keeping with his usual practice, he has spent a few months working how things operate and is now poised to make some decisions on how best to revamp the technical team, which has been largely unchanged since the team was set up four years ago. There is currently no hint of what Richards will do but speculation in the paddock in Melbourne suggested that the men most likely to be facing a change of direction in their careers are Malcolm Oastler, who was previously technical director and chief aerodynamicist Willem Toet.
The question of drivers is not an immediate issue but it has yet to be seen whether Richards will keep Jacques Villeneuve on or whether he will go for an alternative. There are suggestions that he is already thinking about his plans and the fact that he was spotted having a long chat with Eddie Irvine would seem to suggest that Richards is covering all the bases.