Alpine lose key staff member to Williams in dramatic shake-up

Thomas Maher
Williams' Pat Fry at the Belgian Grand Prix. Spa-Francorchamps, July 2023.

Williams' Pat Fry at the Belgian Grand Prix. Spa-Francorchamps, July 2023.

Williams have announced the signing of a new key member of staff, having snaffled him away from rivals Alpine.

Pat Fry, Alpine’s former chief technical officer, has swapped sides to join Williams as their new chief technical officer.

Williams have been without a technical director since the departure of F.X. Demaison over the winter, with new team boss James Vowles taking his time about finding someone for the position.

Pat Fry switches sides to join Williams from Alpine

Fry, who has held senior engineering roles with the likes of McLaren and Ferrari during a 30-year career in F1, has been with Alpine since early 2020 – taking on a role with Renault as their chassis technical director.

He stepped up to become their chief technical officer in early 2022 and, just 18 months later, has been tempted away by Vowles to join Williams as they go through an extensive revamp in the wake of the departure of Demaison and former team boss and CEO Jost Capito.

Fry will take up his role on the 1st of November 2023.

Fry’s appointment is another huge blow to Alpine, who confirmed on Friday that they are parting ways with team boss Otmar Szafnauer, and sporting director Alan Permane – both departures coming shortly after the ousting of Laurent Rossi from his role as Alpine CEO.

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“I am thrilled to be joining Williams Racing as Chief Technical Officer,” Fry said of his new appointment.

“The team has a rich heritage in Formula 1, and I am excited to contribute to its future success.

“I believe in the team’s potential and, together, we will strive for excellence on and off the track.”

Team boss James Vowles welcomed the arrival of Fry, saying his arrival is a huge bolster to their technical department.

“On behalf of all at Williams Racing, I’m delighted to be welcoming Pat,” he said.

“His knowledge and experience will further strengthen the team’s technical capabilities and pursuit of excellence as we build the next chapter of Williams.

“Pat has been a core part of winning teams throughout his career, he is one of the most respected experts in our industry and I’m excited to begin work with him when he joins in November.”

Who is Pat Fry?

Fry spent a huge amount of time at McLaren, some 17 years, in which he played a part in securing 66 Grand Prix wins, one constructors’ championship win, and three drivers’ championships.

He was a chief engineer and race engineer for F1 World Champion Mika Hakkinen, as well as David Coulthard, during his time at Woking.

Switching to Ferrari as assistant technical director in 2010, he held several senior roles – but left Ferrari in 2014 after the disappointing performance of the F14-T.

He returned to F1 as an engineering consultant for Manor in 2016, rejoining McLaren as a contracted engineering director in 2018, before his switch to Renault in 2020.

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