Returning Coughlan 'grateful' to Frank Williams
3 May 2011 – It was confirmed on Tuesday that Mike Coughlan is to return to Formula 1, having been sacked by McLaren following the controversial ‘Spygate’ scandal of four years ago. The Englishman fills the role of Chief Engineer, with both Sam Michael and Jon Tomlinson leaving the team at the end of the year.
In 2007, Coughlan’s name was at the epicentre of ‘Spygate’ – the public episode which resulted in McLaren being thrown out of the Constructors’ World Championship and handed a 100-million dollar fine for possessing a technical dossier containing details of Ferrari’s car, provided by Nigel Stepney.
“I am grateful to Williams for giving me this opportunity,” he said. “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.”
Team Principal Sir Frank Williams also acknowledges Coughlan’s infamous past:
“Mike Coughlan is a fine engineer with extensive experience across Formula 1 and both civil and defence engineering. He left Formula 1 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.”
Michael resigns as Coughlan joins Williams