Williams appoint spygate exile Coughlan
3 May, 2011
May.3 (AT&T Williams) In the wake of the high ranking resignations of Williams technical boss Sam Michael and the team’s aero chief Jon Tomlinson, comes the announcement that the Grove based team have appointed Mike Coughlan in the role of Chief Engineer.
In 2007 Coughlan, working for McLaren at the time, was involved in an espionage controversy after he obtained confidential technical information from Ferrari. Subsequently McLaren was excluded from that year’s constructors’ championship and fined $100-million and Coughlan banned from F1 for two years. The media termed the scandal “spygate”.
Coughlan’s last involvement with F1 was when he worked briefly for Stefan Grand Prix in late 2009 when the Serbian team was trying to gain an entry into Formula One for the 2010 season. After the team’s unsuccessful bid Coughlan was hired by Michael Waltrip Racing, Nascar taem, as director of vehicle design.
Williams FI Team statement:
Williams F1 today announced that Mike Coughlan will join the team in June 2011 in the role of Chief Engineer.
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 Tyrrell, 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.”