Williams announces new hires, participation at Jerez test

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Williams’ run of off-season hiring rolled on today with the announcement of three new additions to the team’s engineering efforts.

Jakob Andreasen, formerly of Force India, has been made Williams’ new head of engineering operations and will report to team technical director Pat Symonds. Additionally, ex-Mercedes man Craig Wilson is now the team’s head of vehicle dynamics and former Lotus member Rod Nelson is now the team’s chief test and support engineer.

With the three new hires comes a promotion as well, with current Williams employee Max Nightingale now reporting to Andreasen as head of vehicle science.

“Williams is determined to make strong improvements in our competitiveness over the coming seasons and these new appointments continue our aggressive approach in recruiting some of the sport’s best talent,” Symonds said in a team release.

“We are also committed to allowing our existing talent to grow and showcase their skills in senior leadership roles. Our engineering team for the coming season is looking strong and I’m excited about what we can achieve moving forwards.”

The team also confirmed this morning over Twitter that it would indeed be present at this month’s first Formula One preseason test at Jerez de la Frontera, Spain. Another tweet from Williams also disclosed that they’re now underway with building their new challenger for 2014, the FW36.

Last year, Williams took part in testing at Jerez but used its 2012 car, the FW34. Their 2013 car, the ultimately ill-fated FW35, broke cover at the following preseason test at the Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona, Spain.

UPDATE 2: INDYCAR Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama once again under red-flag race stoppage

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UPDATE No. 2: The INDYCAR Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama was closing in on restarting on Lap 23 or 24 before officials threw the second red flag race stoppage because of lingering puddles on the 2.3-mile Barber Motorsports Park, particularly on the front stretch. We’ll keep you updated as situations warrant.

UPDATE No. 1: The INDYCAR Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama is under a red-flag race stoppage after 19 laps due to rain and puddling on the racing surface at Barber Motorsports Park.

Cleaners and dryers are on the track to try and get some of the water off the racing surface. The low spots on the track, as well as the front stretch, have been particularly troublesome and led to several spinouts and at least two wrecks (Charlie Kimball and outside front pole sitter Will Power).

Power’s day is done after suffering irreparable damage to the left side of his car after hydroplaning on the front straight and running into the inside retaining wall.

ORIGINAL STORY FOLLOWS:

Although rain has been falling for nearly an hour and the Barber Motorsports Park 2.3-mile permanent road course is drenched, the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama is underway on NBCSN.

The start of the race was moved up from 3:38 p.m. ET to take the green flag at 3:08 p.m. ET.

Josef Newgarden is the defending winner of this race and also will start from the pole for today’s race.

While the race is scheduled for 90 laps, there’s a possibility that if the weather worsens or if lightning appears, it could potentially be shortened to just two hours.

As can be expected, all cars are on rain tires to maximize grip.

Catch the race live on NBCSN.