pat fry f1 williams engineer-001

Pat Fry: Williams need to be working on 2026 as hard as we can

pat fry f1 williams engineer-001

Well-travelled Formula 1 engineer Pat Fry, the new Williams Chief Technical Officer, will tap into his experience to turn around the fortunes of great the team Sir Frank built. Here are his ambitious plans.

In 1987, Fry’s F1 journey began with Benetton before his first spell with McLaren in 1993 which ran until 2010 before he moved to Ferrari as assistant Technical Director. In 2014, James Allison arrived at Maranello and Fry departed.

He resurfaced with Manor Racing for a couple of years as an F1 consultant starting in 2016, before his return to McLaren in 2018, in a consultant role until 2019 whereupon he re-emerged as Chief Technical Officer of Renault’s rebranded Alpine F1 team. That lasted until July last year when the French team went on a ‘guillotining exercise’ of key staff.

Now Chief Technical Officer at Williams, Fry told Racer of his vision for the team: “It’s a team that is moving forward. There’s no point hiding behind the fact we’ve got a mountain of work to do and things to develop.

“But I think people will see that there’s a commitment there, and that commitment has to start right from the very top, which we have. And people will see us moving forward.

“The ultimate goal in the end is to be a sort of championship competitor. In two, three, four years, we need to be getting in the fight breaking into the top three. It’s a tough ask to do when you’re building from where we are, but I think it’s all possible,” reckoned Fry.

For two decades Williams was one of the mightiest teams in F1

Nigel Mansell, Riccardo Patrese williams f1 team vowles report

An impressive collection of 16 F1 titles and 113 Grand Prix victories testify to how mighty the Williams F1 team once was. But those days are long gone. Jacques Villeneuve’s F1 world championship title in 1997 for them was the last one by a driver of theirs. It was also the year of the last Constructors’ Championship they won.

History shows that since 2018, Williams have been a backmarker team, Sir Frank’s Dream Team a distant memory and probably no longer in the new DNA at Grove. But with Dolilton Capital showing ambition by hiring James Vowles to turn the team into a Mercedes clone, after all, they did set the template of dominance.

Fry sees his widespread experience as a bonus for Williams: “I guess having worked with Ron, with whom second is the first or the losers. And having worked at Ferrari for five years where you celebrate winning, but nothing else, I’m kind of tainted in that way. So we need to build a space back to be a winning team.”

What Fry has walked into is a far cry from a winning team. However, finishing seventh in the F1 Constructors’ Championship in 2023, was better than Williams did since 2018 coupled to the new 2026 F1 regulations are reasons to be positive, and ambitious too.

“Rule changes are always an opportunity,” reckoned Fry. “To some degree, the bigger teams have always got better tools to start analyzing these things than we have, so we’ve got to be building and developing the tools that we need to actually try and work out what more specification that car should be.

“We have got a lot of work on, but it’s certainly that first game-changing opportunity for us. So we need to be working to that as hard as we can,” declared Fry.