Williams has strengthened its Formula 1 leadership operation with the appointment of long-term McLaren engineer Simon Roberts as its new managing director.

Roberts will take overall responsibility for the design and development process in the newly-established position at Williams, as well as overseeing planning, racing and factory operations.

He will join the British outfit on June 1, reporting directly to CEO Mike O’Driscoll.

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Roberts previously worked at McLaren as operations director and general manager upon his arrival at Woking in 2003. Having spent a year on loan as Force India’s Chief Operating Officer in 2009, he returned to McLaren as operations director before being appointed COO in 2017.

Deputy team principal Claire Williams said: “Simon will bring enormous experience and knowledge to the Williams team, and we are delighted that he is joining us when we head back to work after this long enforced F1 shutdown.

“He will lead a highly talented team that’s looking forward to designing and developing the next generation of Williams F1 cars.”

The signing comes as a boost to Williams following its struggles during a dire 2019 campaign that was hampered by a late start to pre-season due to car production delays.

Williams’ problems led to Paddy Lowe’s departure from the team, as well a thorough investigation of all areas of the team to establish exactly what went wrong.

The British squad went on to finish bottom of the constructors' championship, managing just one point from 21 races. 

Williams said her side needed to hit “rock bottom” in 2019 in order to recover from its nightmare season but insisted earlier this year a repeat cannot happen again.