Posts Tagged ‘Mike Coughlan’

Maldonado has struggled this year with a poor car

Williams’ technical staff reshuffle has continued with the appointments of Jason Sommerville and Mark Gillan.

Sommerville will join the team as Head of Aerodynamics in August and Gillan will become the Chief Operations Engineer from October.

The Grove-based team have undergone major behind-the-scenes changes in recent months after the team made their worst start to a season in their 33 year history.

Sommerville moves to Williams after spending a brief stint with Renault. He worked for the team between 1997 and 1999 before heading up Toyota’s aerodynamic department until the team bowed out of the sport two years ago.

Gillan has taken up a variety of roles with McLaren, Jaguar, Red Bull andToyotabefore switching to Williams.

Mike Coughlan joined as Chief Designer earlier this month as the team began to prepare for the future. Both Sommerville and Gillan will fill the void left by Sam Michael and Jon Tomlinson who will leave the outfit at the end of the season.

Williams have not won a championship since 1997 or a race for nearly seven years.


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.

Head and Williams founded the team in 1978

Mike Coughlan – the man at the centre of the 2007 spygate –scandal – has joined Williams as part of a massive shake-up following the team’s worst ever start to a Formula 1 season.

Technical director, Sam Michael, and chief aerodynamicist Jon Tomlinson, have resigned amid the changes and will leave the team at the end of the season.

Coughlan will join Williams in June as chief engineer and team co-founder and engineering director, Patrick Head, is set to retire at the end of the year.

 The appointment of Coughlan is likely to raise an eyebrow in the F1 paddock as he has been out of work since working for McLaren in 2007.

Coughlan was responsible for taking information from his former employers – Ferrari – and passing them onto his McLaren colleagues.

The team initially denied that anyone other than Coughlan had seen the material.

But they were later found guilty after Fernando Alonso threatened to turn whistleblower following a spat with Lewis Hamilton at the Hungarian Grand Prix.

 McLaren were excluded from the 2007 constructors championship and fined $100 million. Coughlan received a two-year ban from the sport.

But team owner, Sir Frank Williams, said he had no qualms about Coughlan’s past.

“Mike left F1 in 2007 because of conduct which he acknowledges was wrong and which he profoundly regrets,” he said.

“His two-year ban from the sport expired some time ago and Mike is now determined to prove himself again.

“Williams is delighted to be able to give him the opportunity to do this and we are very pleased to have one of the most talented and competitive engineers in the sport helping us to return to the front of the grid.”

The team have struggled all season with both pace and reliability.

Neither Rubens Barrichello nor Pastor Maldonado finished in the opening two Grand Prix and both finished outside the points in China. It is the worst start in the team’s 33-year history.

As The Chequered Flag reported two weeks ago, the team’s poor performance had seen their share-price plummet by over a quarter.

“Both Sam and Jon are talented and driven people who have worked hard for Williams over 10 and five years, respectively,” added Williams.

“Nonetheless, they have recognised that the team’s performance is not at the level that it needs to be and have resigned in order to give the team the opportunity to regroup and undertake the changes necessary to get back to the front of the grid.

“Both will continue to work in their present positions through until the end of the year to ensure that the team maintains focus and momentum during the 2011 season,” he said.

Michael joined Williams in 2001 and became technical director three years later as Head assumed the role of engineering director.