Geoffrey Willis is Director of Digital Engineering Transformation of Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport, a role which he describes as “varied, challenging and rewarding”..
Having studied engineering at the University of Cambridge, Geoff followed this with several years of aerodynamic research at engineering consultancy BMT, whilst completing a PhD in aerodynamics at the University of Exeter.
In 1987, he made his first step into the world of competition engineering by joining the design group of Peter de Savary's British America's Cup Challenge. Here, he spent the next three years working on keel and hull design, in addition to testing and developing computational fluid dynamics (CFD) tools.
Geoff made his motorsport debut in 1990, joining the Leyton House team as a consultant and becoming one of the first to introduce CFD tools into the aerodynamic design process. The Williams F1 Team would beckon next, where Geoff would grow his reputation within the aerodynamics arena as the team tasted constructors’ championship success in 1992, 1993, 1994 and 1996.
Taking over as Chief Aerodynamicist from Adrian Newey in 1996, Geoff led development of the FW19 as the team took another World Constructors’ Championship title in 1997. He remained with Williams for a further four years, winning races from the start of a partnership with BMW in 2000, before making the switch to BAR in 2002.
As Technical Director, Geoff played an integral part in the BAR team’s rise up the F1 order, culminating in a second place finish in the 2004 World Constructors’ Championship standings. In 2007, Geoff would move to Red Bull Racing, helping the team move from mid-pack to challenging for regular race wins before stepping down as Technical Director in 2009.
Following a brief spell at the all-new Hispania Racing Team, Geoff returned to Brackley, now operating under the Mercedes name, at the end of 2011, adding more Constructors’ titles to his tally as Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport claimed an historic six crowns in 2014, 2015 2016, 2017, 2018 and now in 2019.
Since returning to Brackley, which particular moment sticks out the most in Geoff’s mind? “My favourite memory with the team is receiving the Constructors’ trophy for the Team on the podium in Monza,” he explains.