Interview with Williams' Mike Coughlan

Interview with Williams' Mike Coughlan

14 June 2011 – Part of the notorious ‘Spy Gate’ scandal which affected Formula 1 by making global headlines in 2007, Mike Coughlan has now returned to the sport. He shares memories of the past and thoughts for the future, having taken on the role of Chief Engineer at Williams.

How do you feel about joining Williams?
I am thrilled to be at Williams. I have always admired Williams, it is such a renowned name in motorsport, so I am excited to work with the team to try and recapture their past glory. This would have been great at any point in my career because Williams is such an iconic team, but it is made even more special because I have been given the chance to return to Formula 1.

You come to the team having not worked in Formula 1 since 2007; what have you been doing since then?
I took the opportunity to help develop the Ocelot light protected patrol vehicle, designed to protect British forces in transit. I then moved back into racing with Michael Waltrip Racing in NASCAR. I was expecting to be with Waltrip for the next stage of my career, and they are a super team, but unfortunately it proved impossible to work on one side of the Atlantic with my family living on the other. So, the opportunity at Williams also brings my family together again, which is obviously important.

You have said that 2007 was a life-changing experience. In what way?
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. All I can do now is work hard and try to earn my place back in Formula 1. This is what I am determined to do with Williams.

To those who feel that what you did was unforgivable, what do you say?
Well, 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. 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.

Have you had a chance to evaluate the team and what do you think of your new place of work?
I was really impressed when I looked around the factory. The team has a fantastic site at Grove and some brilliant people working there. Seeing the potential of the team and the facilities for myself, as well as witnessing how motivated everyone is and how hard they all work, is really encouraging and I’m looking forward to working with them all.

What do you think you can bring to the team?
Essentially, the team as it stands is fantastic. It is full of intelligent, creative and determined people who, from what I have observed, should be seeing results far beyond those they are achieving at the moment. So while we will be bringing in a couple of new people, it’s also a case of looking at the way we work.

And what do you hope to achieve in your time at Williams?
Personally, I am aiming to integrate myself back into Formula 1 and prove myself. With regards to the team, I think we all have one goal – to win races. I think I can say that, even though I have only just finished my first day here! But obviously I’m hoping to help bring an upturn in the team’s results and put it back to where it deserves to be.


Also on Tuesday:
Interview with Williams' Sam Michael

related

Comments

Latest News
Full
Compact

  1. Sunday 20 April 2014

  2. Hülkenberg hails 'very positive' team result 12:19

    Hülkenberg hails 'very positive' team result

    Nico Hülkenberg described as "very positive" Force India's double points finish in the Chinese Grand Prix, its third of the...

    F1
  3. Ricciardo: I really want that podium! 12:04

    Ricciardo: I really want that podium!

    Daniel Ricciardo joked that he 'really wants' to finish on the podium after second successive fourth place at the Chinese...

    F1
  4. 12:00

    Latest F1 photos: Sunday at Shanghai

    F1
  5. Third successive retirement for Sutil 11:57

    Third successive retirement for Sutil

    Adrian Sutil and Sauber's difficult start to 2014 continued as the German driver was unable to finish in China following an...

    F1
  6. Massa left frustrated by pit stop problem 11:50

    Massa left frustrated by pit stop problem

    Felipe Massa's chance of a good result at the Chinese Grand Prix disappeared after a calamatous pit stop dropped him down...

    F1
  7. Button says McLaren 'not good enough' 11:32

    Button says McLaren 'not good enough'

    Jenson Button has admitted that his McLaren team's performance level is simply "not good enough" after a lacklustre Chinese...

    F1
  8. Gearbox problem prevents first Lotus points 11:27

    Gearbox problem prevents first Lotus points

    Romain Grosjean was left frustrated after a gearbox problem with his Lotus E22 forced him into retirement at the Chinese...

    F1
  9. Kvyat 'very happy' with third points finish 11:16

    Kvyat 'very happy' with third points finish

    Daniil Kvyat was understandably elated after picking up his third points finish from four races during Sunday's Chinese...

    F1
  10. Video: Vettel's "tough luck" radio message 11:08

    Video: Vettel's "tough luck" radio message

    Sebastian Vettel was asked to let Red Bull team-mate Daniel Ricciardo through during Sunday's Chinese Grand Prix. When he...

    F1
  11. Shanghai result modified after flag error 10:58

    Shanghai result modified after flag error

    The Chinese Grand Prix has been cut short by two laps after the chequered flag was waved at Lewis Hamilton earlier than...

    F1
  12. We're still in the fight, Alonso insists 10:40

    We're still in the fight, Alonso insists

    Fernando Alonso says he and Ferrari are "still in the fight" for title glory this season after finishing third in the...

    F1
  13. Rosberg looks forward to 'normal weekend' 10:25

    Rosberg looks forward to 'normal weekend'

    Nico Rosberg says he is looking forward to a "normal" Spanish Grand Prix, after enduring an incident-packed weekend in...

    F1
  14. Hamilton amazed by Mercedes challenger 10:12

    Hamilton amazed by Mercedes challenger

    Lewis Hamilton says he is "amazed" by the performance of Mercedes's 2014 challenger after notching up the first victory...

    F1
  15. 09:45

    In full: Chinese Grand Prix race result

    F1
  16. Hamilton dominates for third successive win 09:44

    Hamilton dominates for third successive win

    Lewis Hamilton delivered a crushing performance during Sunday afternoon's Chinese Grand Prix to claim three successive race...

    F1
  17. 07:58

    Follow the 2014 Chinese Grand Prix live!

    F1
  18. Talks over custom exhaust to improve sound 07:52

    Talks over custom exhaust to improve sound

    The FIA and F1's engine manufacturers have suggested looking at custom exhausts to improve the sound of the sport's new...

    F1
  19. Video of the Day: Hamilton's China pole lap 05:00

    Video of the Day: Hamilton's China pole lap

    Enjoy onboard footage of Lewis Hamilton's pole position lap for the Chinese Grand Prix.

    F1
  20. Saturday 19 April 2014

  21. Inconsistent handling affecting speed – Räikkönen 14:00

    Inconsistent handling affecting speed – Räikkönen

    Ferrari driver Kimi Räikkönen says that the inconsistent handling of the F14T affected his performance during qualifying for...

    F1
  22. Hülkenberg happy after securing Q3 slot 12:00

    Hülkenberg happy after securing Q3 slot

    Nico Hülkenberg says he is happy to be starting the Chinese Grand Prix from within the top ten despite struggling with the...

    F1
  23. Ricciardo: I got everything out of the car 10:49

    Ricciardo: I got everything out of the car

    Daniel Ricciardo says that he extracted the maximum from his Red Bull RB10 during a wet qualifying for the Chinese Grand...

    F1
  24. Rosberg confident despite struggling with brakes 09:47

    Rosberg confident despite struggling with brakes

    Nico Rosberg says he remains confident of collecting a strong result at the Chinese Grand Prix despite suffering from a few...

    F1
  25. Grosjean hoped for even higher grid slot 09:43

    Grosjean hoped for even higher grid slot

    Romain Grosjean says he had hoped for even more than his 10th place result in Saturday's qualifying session for the Chinese...

    F1
  26. Bottas pleased with wet weather progress 09:37

    Bottas pleased with wet weather progress

    Valtteri Bottas says Williams has made clear progress in terms of wet weather performance after a double Q3 showing at the...

    F1
  27. Vergne aiming for points after strong qualifying 09:32

    Vergne aiming for points after strong qualifying

    Toro Rosso driver Jean-Éric Vergne says a top ten finish is his target after progressing through to Q3 during qualifying for...

    F1
  28. McLaren duo downbeat about car performance 09:27

    McLaren duo downbeat about car performance

    McLaren duo Jenson Button and Kevin Magnussen cut downbeat figures after a disappointing qualifying session for the team in...

    F1
  29. Vettel: Ricciardo beating me fair and square 09:22

    Vettel: Ricciardo beating me fair and square

    Sebastian Vettel admits that new Red Bull team-mate Daniel Ricciardo is beating him "fair and square" so far this...

    F1
  30. Hamilton relieved to overcome 'tough' session 09:03

    Hamilton relieved to overcome 'tough' session

    Lewis Hamilton hinted at a feeling of relief after coming out on top in Saturday's rain-affected qualifying session at the...

    F1
  31. Optimistic Alonso eyes Red Bull drivers 08:51

    Optimistic Alonso eyes Red Bull drivers

    Fernando Alonso says he is hoping to be in a position to take the fight to the Red Bull drivers during the Chinese Grand...

    F1
  32. 08:09

    Chinese Grand Prix: Full qualifying results

    F1
  33. Hamilton sets British record with China pole 08:06

    Hamilton sets British record with China pole

    Lewis Hamilton surpassed Jim Clark's British pole position record by topping Saturday's wet qualifying session for the...

    F1
  34. 06:47

    Follow qualifying for the Chinese GP!

    F1
  35. 05:04

    Chinese GP: Full Free Practice 3 results

    F1
  36. Ricciardo quickest in rain-hit final practice 05:03

    Ricciardo quickest in rain-hit final practice

    Daniel Ricciardo set the pace during Saturday morning's rain-affected final practice session for the Chinese Grand Prix. The...

    F1
  37. 04:35

    Latest F1 photos: Saturday at Shanghai

    F1
  38. 03:52

    Follow final practice for the Chinese GP!

    F1
  39. Video of the Day: Honda duo at petrol station 02:00

    Video of the Day: Honda duo at petrol station

    Find out what happened when Marc Márquez and Dani Pedrosa worked at a Repsol service station.

    MotoGP
  40. Friday 18 April 2014

  41. Mattiacci thought Ferrari job offer was a joke 13:32

    Mattiacci thought Ferrari job offer was a joke

    Newly appointed Ferrari Team Principal Marco Mattiacci says he thought President Luca di Montezemolo was joking when he gave...

    F1
  42. Honda: No plans to supply second team in 2015 11:56

    Honda: No plans to supply second team in 2015

    Honda's Yasuhisa Arai says that the Japanese manufacturer has no plans to supply power units to a second team when they...

    F1
  43. Maldonado accepts blame for pit entry accident 11:45

    Maldonado accepts blame for pit entry accident

    Lotus driver Pastor Maldonado has accepted the blame for a mistake during the second practice session in China which...

    F1