Renault has paid tribute to one of its F1 research and development engineers, after he was found dead at the team's Oxfordshire headquarters earlier this week.

William Millar, said to be a 53-year-old married father of two, was found on a bridleway within the grounds of the French outfit's Whiteways Research Centre near Enstone on Wednesday morning, after fellow staff members heard what they believed to be a gunshot sound. Though paramedics were swiftly called, Mr Millar was pronounced dead at the scene with a single head wound.

'Everyone at the team is deeply shocked to lose such a valued member of staff who had been with the team for 27 years,' a Renault F1 statement read.

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'Before the team was taken over by Renault, he worked for Benetton Formula One. We have a very large site, but it happened within the premises on a footpath.

'Known as Bill, he was involved in designing anything that can improve the car.'

"We are all very sad and shocked," added a Renault spokeswoman, who said that Mr Millar was very popular amongst his colleagues. "It's something that is deeply felt at the factory.

"William was very well-liked. He'll be greatly missed.

"He was someone everybody knew and it has greatly affected everyone. We have been taking care of his family at this very difficult time."

The body was identified by the Oxfordshire coroner. Thames Valley Police have confirmed that they are not treating the death as suspicious.

"We were called just after 11am after staff at Renault witnessed a man walking to the bridleway near to the headquarters," a spokeswoman told the Daily Mirror. "A gunshot was heard and then the body of a man was discovered on the path."

The 500 employees who work at the Enstone base have reportedly been offered counselling in the wake of the tragedy. The apparent suicide came just days before the Hungarian Grand Prix in Budapest this weekend, in which Fernando Alonso and Nelsinho Piquet will take to the track for the R?gie.