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Williams F1 technical chief Pat Symonds to leave at end of 2016

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Williams has confirmed that its Formula 1 technical chief, Pat Symonds, will leave at the end of the month following three seasons with the team.

Symonds, 63, has enjoyed a career in F1 spanning four decades, including stints with Toleman, Benetton, Renault and Manor.

Symonds left Manor for Williams midway through 2013, and helped to lead the team to successive top-three finishes in the constructors’ championship in 2014 and 2015.

Williams confirmed on Tuesday that Symonds would be leaving the team on December 31 upon the expiration of his three-year contract.

“Pat has been a tremendous asset to this team over the past three years,” deputy team principal Claire Williams said.

“Pat’s appointment was the start of a major restructuring exercise, and he has been pivotal in reshaping Williams into what is a much stronger racing team today.

“I would like to thank him for all of his hard work and commitment during that time. We now look to the future and will be announcing details regarding the team’s technical leadership in due course.”

Williams is rumored to be on the verge of signing Mercedes technical chief Paddy Lowe, with a move possible ahead of the start of the 2017 season in March.

Keating stripped of Le Mans GTE-Am win; No. 68 Ganassi entry also disqualified

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FIA stewards announced Monday that two Ford GT entries have been disqualified from this year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans, including the GTE-Am class-winning No. 85 entry from privateer Keating Motorsports.

Also DQ’d was the factory No. 68 Chip Ganassi Racing entry of Joey Hand, Dirk Mueller and Sebastien Bourdais, which initially finished fourth in the GTE-Pro class.

Both entries were found in violation of fuel capacity regulations, with the No. 85 entry also failing to meet the minimum refueling time during pit stops.

The refueling system on the No. 85 entry, driven by Ben Keating, Jeroen Bleekemolen and Felipe Fraga, measured a time of 44.4 seconds during a stop, just shy of the minimum required time of 45 seconds.

As a result, the team was initially issued a 55.2-second post-race penalty by officials, which elevated the No. 56 Team Project 1 Porsche 911 RSR of Joerg Bergmeister, Patrick Lindsey, and Egidio Perfetti to the class win.

The time penalty was calculated by the difference in the refueling time (0.6 seconds) multiplied by the amount of pit stops made by the team (23), then multiplied by four.

The No. 85 entry was set to finish second in class, but then received an outright DQ after its fuel capacity was also revealed to be 0.1 liters above the maximum permitted capacity of 96 liters.

As for Ganassi’s No. 68 entry, it was found to have a fuel capacity of 97.83 liters, which is above the maximum allowed capacity of 97 liters for the GTE-Pro Fords.

The No. 67 Ford of Andy Priaulx, Harry Tincknell, and Jonathan Bomarito subsequently moves up to fourth, and the No. 69 Ford of Scott Dixon, Ryan Briscoe and Richard Westbrook moves up to fifth.

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