Michael resigns as Coughlan joins Williams
3 May 2011 – Williams F1 have announced that Technical Director Sam Michael will be leaving the team at the end of the year. Also departing will be Chief Aerodynamicist Jon Tomlinson, with both men having resigned from their positions. In addition, the Grove-based outfit confirms that former McLaren engineer Mike Coughlan has now joined.
After growing up in Australian capital city Canberra, Michael joined Lotus in 1993 before switching to Jordan a year later. In 1999 he served as Ralf Schumacher’s Ralf Engineer before working alongside Heinz-Harald Frentzen and celebrating two race wins in 1999. The move to Williams came in 2001, before taking the role of Technical Director from Patrick Head during the 2004 season.
“Both Sam and Jon are talented and driven people who have worked hard for Williams over ten and five years, respectively,” comments Team Principal Sir Frank Williams, who has witnessed the outfit's worst ever start to a Formula 1 season.
“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. We are very grateful to Sam and to Jon for their professional approach.”
Incidentally, Coughlan’s recruitment as Chief Engineer marks the Englishman’s return to Formula 1, having lost his job at McLaren after the highly controversial ‘Spygate’ scandal of 2007.
Returning Coughlan ‘grateful’ to Frank Williams