Ford Performance Racing has downplayed the pending departure of engineering manager Mathew ‘Techo’ Nilsson at the end of the season, stating business as usual at Broadmeadows HQ.
Team boss Tim Edwards confirmed Nilsson’s departure amidst paddock speculation the engineering maestro is heading back to Holden.
With Pepsi Max Crew FPR narrowing the points gap in the Championship to arch rivals Red Bull Racing Australia at the Sucrogen Townsville 400 and Coates Hire Ipswich 360 at Queensland Raceway, Edwards is remaining full of confidence.
“Techo (Nilsson) will be leaving at the end of the year, but he’s working as hard as everyone else in the building towards winning a Championship this year.
“We’re always disappointed when somebody leaves but it’s not a major blow. From a performance point of view, the key engineers that design and race are in place.
“It’s not a major blow as portrayed by some, the smarts that make our cars go fast are still here.”
Nilsson played a key role in the Car of the Future changeover and there are other projects for him to complete while at FPR, such as the implementation of new software packages.
“I suspect a lot of people will question why he hasn’t been removed from the building and the technical side of things.
“The integrity of the guy we’ve seen when he came from the opposition a couple of years ago is enough for us to trust he will do the right thing.”
Continued Ford backing is currently what Edwards describes as a “work in progress” and three of four drivers are out of contract at FPR.
Edwards says he exercised an option on Will Davison 12 months ago and is down to the minor details of a new deal.
And with Chaz Mostert an FPR-contracted driver, winning a race and being followed home by Will Davison, Mark Winterbottom and David Reynolds on Sunday at the Coates Hire Ipswich 360, there are plenty of positives.
“Personally it didn’t come as much of a surprise to me – it was sooner than I thought Chaz would have (won) and he’d be the first to agree with that.
“From the first time he drove the car I knew he was the real deal. It was never if, just when, and ‘when’ happened to be Sunday. And what more perfect scenario than to have Will and Frosty either side of him?”
With the endurance races creeping closer, there will be pressure for FPR to perform, having never won at The Mountain – with the fans first to remind them.
“Trust me, we’re as frustrated as they are,” Edwards said. “It’s not for want of trying – we got very close with Dave (Reynolds) last year but not close enough.
“It’s no different to being the bridesmaid and assistant bridesmaid many times…
“You can’t always rely on putting every ounce of effort in beforehand – there’s always an element of luck.”