A few hours apart, just before New Year, came the news that Adrian Newey had been awarded an MBE in the New Year's Honours list and that Patrick Head had stepped down from the board of Williams F1.
It's good to see the sport's central, inspirational characters having their achievements publicly recognised and both Ross Brawn and Newey are deserving recipients of their recent honours. You'd like to think, too, that somewhere down the road there will be similar recognition for Head.
He has been a pivotal figure in so many of the paddock's great stories and developments for more than 30 years. It was slightly surreal to be at the AUTOSPORT Awards listening to Patrick, up on stage, admitting that he was going to "miss it". Times change, of course, but Head is one of those figures who, in your mind, would always be there.
Head admitted that the 'R' word was not really mentionable and that far from retire, he was looking forward to interesting days working with Williams Hybrid Power. The staff at the F1 team, he said, are "a good bunch" and the senior technical guys (chiefly now Mike Coughlan and Mark Gillan) "will do a good job".
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