A setback for Williams

Williams chief designer Gavin Fisher likes motocross and at this time of year tends to spend a week or two in southern California enjoying a break before the final dash designing next year's car. This year's trip however ended in disaster with Fisher in hospital after a serious accident last Wednesday. The 40-year-old suffered a broken pelvis and head injuries and for a period was listed in a serious conditions but he is now recovering after surgery but is expected to remain in the United States for the next three weeks while his injuries heal.

The good news is that at this time of year the F1 design teams are dealing more with issues of packaging the new car and are involved in the process of trading off the demands of the aerodynamicists against the needs of the mechanical designers and there is still some time before the mechanical design process, particularly the suspension, needs to be finalised. The team has appointed Mark Loasby to stand-in for Fisher. He is a former Rolls Royce engineer, who specalised in hydraulic systems design but has been at Williams for the last 14 years.

"It is fortunate that we have strength in depth in the design office," said Williams technical director Sam Michael. "We wish Gavin all the best for a speedy recovery."

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