Coughlan says sorry over spygate

Posted: June 14, 2011 in June, News
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Coughlan was banned for two years

Mike Coughlan has apologised for his role in the 2007 spygate affair as he today starts his first day with Williams.

The ex-McLaren man was at the centre of the scandal four years ago when he joined them from Ferrari and passed on a 780-page dossier with technical secrets to his new employers.

“I would like to take this opportunity to apologise to everyone who was affected by my conduct and in particular the people at McLaren and Ferrari and the fans of those teams,” Coughlan said.

Following the scandal, Coughlan received a two-year ban from the sport and McLaren were fined $100m and thrown-out of the 2007 constructors’ championship.

“I sincerely regret my actions and I fully accepted the penalty given to me by the FIA. I can only hope that I can earn back everyone’s respect,” Coughlan said.

But he is looking to put the past behind him as he starts his new job as chief engineer with Williams.

“It was life-changing because it made me reflect upon myself and my actions. Leaving a team and a sport that I love, and then seeing the consequences of my actions on the team and its fans was devastating,” said Coughlan.

“All I can do now is work hard and try to earn my place back in Formula One. This is what I am determined to do with Williams.”

His appointment was announced in May following the resignations of Sam Michael and Jim Tomlinson. They came after Williams made their worst start to an F1 season in their 33-year history.

But the team have scored two ninth-place finishes with Rubens Barrichello in Monaco and Canada as the team slowly rebuilds.

But the rebuilding needs to come quickly as the team have not won a race since 2004 – their longest drought.

And the team, who were so successful in the 80s and 90s, have not won a title since Jacques Villeneuve beat Michael Schumacher in 1997.

Coughlan hopes to bring the glory days back to the Grove factory.

“I think we all have one goal – to win races. I’m hoping to help bring an upturn in the team’s results and put it back to where it deserves to be,” he said.

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