Williams F1 today announced that Mike Coughlan will join the team in June 2011 in the role of Chief Engineer. With Sam Michael stepping down as technical director at the end of the year, it also looks likely that Mike will take up this position next year.
Mike Coughlan undertook his training and education at Rolls Royce and Brunel University. He began his Formula One career at Lotus where he worked his way up to Chief Designer. He subsequently worked for Tyrell, Ferrari and Arrows before joining McLaren in 2002 as Chief Designer. Mike left Formula One in 2007 as a result of his role in the ‘Spygate’ affair. Since then, Mike has applied his skills principally as Chief Engineer in the development of the Ocelot Light Protected Patrol Vehicle. He joins Williams F1 from NASCAR competitor, Michael Waltrip Racing.
Frank Williams, Team Principal, said: “Mike Coughlan is a fine engineer with extensive experience across Formula One and both civil and defence engineering. He left Formula One in 2007 because of conduct which he acknowledges was wrong and which he profoundly regrets. 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. This is the first step in re-building and strengthening our technical group. We will announce the next steps as they develop.”
Mike Coughlan commented, “I am grateful to Williams for giving me this opportunity. My experience in 2007 was life-changing. Since then, I have endeavoured to put my skills to good use in the design of the Ocelot vehicle whose purpose is to transport soldiers in safety. I have also enjoyed my time with Michael Waltrip Racing: they are an excellent race team and I wish them well for the future. Now, I am looking forward to returning to a sport which I love and to joining a team that I have admired for many years. I will dedicate myself to the team and to ensuring that we return to competitiveness while respecting the ethical standards with which Williams has always been synonymous.”Source: Williams F1