Neil Oatley

Engineer

1977 to 1984

Neil Oatley graduated from Loughborough University in 1976 with a degree in Automotive Engineering. Soon after he graduating he joined Williams under Patrick Head, first in the design department when Williams were working on the FW06, and then as Clay Regazzoni's race engineer when he took Williams' maiden win at Silverstone in 1979.

Oatley remained at Williams for seven years, becoming race engineer to Regazzoni’s replacement Carlos Reutemann in 1980 and 1981 and then Jacques Laffite when he joined Williams in 1983.

Patrick was a fantastic mentor and gave me a great deal of support. He was very patient and a good, practical engineer who was very unselfish when it came to passing on knowledge.” Oatley would later say of his time working with Head.

On leaving Williams at the end of 1984 he joined former Williams colleague Alan Jones and Carl Haas at the ill-fated Beatrice F1 project, which lasted just two year until it folded.

Oatley jumped straight back into F1 with McLaren though, heading up their design group in producing world championship winning cars every other year for a decade in the 1990s.

He continued in the role of Chief Designer at McLaren until 2003 when he became Executive Director of Engineering – a position he holds to this day.

Categories: Team

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