Williams have appointed Francois-Xavier Demaison as the Formula One team’s new technical director, with the Frenchman joining from Volkswagen at an unspecified date.
The appointment announced on Tuesday is the first since new chief executive Jost Capito, a former Volkswagen motorsport head who worked with Demaison on the record-breaking electric ID.R racecar, joined the former champions in February.
Demaison, who was once also chief engineer of the Subaru world rally team, will have overall responsibility for the technical side including design and aerodynamics and will report to Capito.
“I have seen his technical capabilities first-hand, and his sporting successes speak for themselves,” said Capito in a statement on appointing a senior figure from outside Formula One.
The role had been left vacant since the departure of Paddy Lowe in 2019.
“I have no doubt that his knowledge will contribute to us taking another important step towards our ambitions of winning again,” said Capito, who will oversee a flatter management structure.
Team principal and racing director Simon Roberts also reports to Capito.
Once-dominant Williams finished last and failed to score a point last year, having managed only one in 2019, and last won a race in 2012.
They changed ownership last year with the founding Williams family departing and U.S.-based Dorilton Capital taking over.
The first race of the 2021 season is in Bahrain on Sunday.