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Engineers play musical chairs

THE Formula 1 race engineers have been having a major shake-up amongst themselves in recent weeks with the departure from Williams of Heinz-Harald Frentzen's race engineer Tim Preston, who has moved to Sauber. Preston, it should be remembered, worked with Damon Hill when he won the 1996 Formula 1 World Championship. He is to be joined there by Giancarlo Fisichella's engineer from Jordan last year Andy Tilley - who was also being chased by Prost Grand Prix.

Preston's job at Williams has gone to Tyrrell data analysis engineer Craig Wilson. There are other changes at Tyrrell with the experienced Tim Densham deciding not to travel quite as much in 1998. He is moving to a job with the Tyrrell test team and will be replaced in the race team by Alex Varnava.

Jordan has had to replace its entire race engineering staff following the departures of Tilley and Andrew Green (who is to work with the new British American racing). Damon Hill will work with Dino Toso, a former touring car racing engineer who joined the Jordan test team last year, while Ralf Schumacher will be overseen by Australian Sam Michaels, who has been in charge of research and development at Jordan in recent years. Veteran engineer Tim Holloway will continue to work with the Jordan test team.

There are also going to be changes at Stewart as Jan Magnussen's French engineer Jean-Francois Sinteff is moving to the new Stewart test team.

There have also been unconfirmed reports that John Barnard's longtime number two Mike Coughlan is to leave Arrows. This would be a major setback for the team as Coughlan is, in effect, the chief designer under Barnard's technical direction.

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