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. Monday 1 September 2014

  2. 11:13

    Photos: 2014 VKV City Racing Rotterdam

    F1
  3. Álex Márquez seals Moto2 promotion 11:07

    Álex Márquez seals Moto2 promotion

    Álex Márquez, the younger brother of reigning MotoGP World Champion Marc, will step up to the Moto2 class with the Mark VDS R...

    MotoGP
  4. Force India duo confident over Monza chances 10:37

    Force India duo confident over Monza chances

    Force India drivers Nico Hülkenberg and Sergio Pérez are hopeful of putting together a more competitive showing at this w...

    F1
  5. Márquez had 'score to settle' after 2013 09:14

    Márquez had 'score to settle' after 2013

    Repsol Honda rider Marc Márquez says he had a "score to settle" with Jorge Lorenzo at this year's British Grand Prix, having...

    MotoGP
  6. Monza memories: Button caught out at restart 05:00

    Monza memories: Button caught out at restart

    Relive the drama as Jenson Button is caught out by a slow Safety Car restart at the 2000 Italian Grand Prix.

    F1
  7. Sunday 31 August 2014

  8. Aleshin's condition upgraded to stable 15:57

    Aleshin's condition upgraded to stable

    Mikhail Aleshin will remain in hospital but his condition has been upgraded to stable following his huge IndyCar practice...

    Indy
  9. Verstappen damages wing during Rotterdam run 15:42

    Verstappen damages wing during Rotterdam run

    Dutch youngster Max Verstappen has had a minor crash during his first public Formula 1 outing at the VKV City Racing event...

    F1
  10. Williams plans to retain Massa, Bottas – Smedley 14:31

    Williams plans to retain Massa, Bottas – Smedley

    Williams Head of Performance Engineering Rob Smedley says the team plans to retain current drivers Felipe Massa and Valtteri...

    F1
  11. 13:51

    Latest MotoGP photos: Sunday at Silverstone

    MotoGP
  12. Márquez beats Lorenzo for 11th win of 2014 13:50

    Márquez beats Lorenzo for 11th win of 2014

    Marc Márquez came out on top in a battle with Jorge Lorenzo to claim his 11th victory of the season in the British Grand...

    MotoGP
  13. Lotterer open to more Caterham outings 11:49

    Lotterer open to more Caterham outings

    André Lotterer says he is open to more Formula 1 outings with Caterham, having made his debut in the sport with the team at...

    F1
  14. Gastaldi adamant Lotus can revive fortunes 10:09

    Gastaldi adamant Lotus can revive fortunes

    Deputy Team Principal Federico Gastaldi is adamant that there is 'plenty to look forward to' at Lotus, despite the squad...

    F1
  15. 06:00

    Latest IndyCar photos: Saturday at Fontana

    Indy
  16. Power finally captures title, Kanaan wins Fontana 05:54

    Power finally captures title, Kanaan wins Fontana

    Will Power's voice cracked audibly as he spoke to his team on the cool-down laps at Fontana on Saturday night.  Three times...

    Indy
  17. Video of the Day: Formula 1 in every Renault 05:00

    Video of the Day: Formula 1 in every Renault

    Renault drivers receive an unexpected, special welcome whilst arriving at a supermarket car park.

    F1
  18. Saturday 30 August 2014

  19. 18:24

    Latest MotoGP photos: Saturday at Silverstone

    MotoGP
  20. Márquez beats Dovizioso to Silverstone pole 15:01

    Márquez beats Dovizioso to Silverstone pole

    MotoGP championship leader Marc Márquez claimed pole position for the British Grand Prix in cool and cloudy conditions...

    MotoGP
  21. Maldonado anticipating tough Monza weekend 13:18

    Maldonado anticipating tough Monza weekend

    Pastor Maldonado is anticipating a tough time for Lotus as Formula 1 heads to the high-speed Monza for next weekend's...

    F1
  22. 12:30

    Photos: Red Bull's 50 Formula 1 wins

    F1
  23. Márquez quickest despite fall at Silverstone 10:48

    Márquez quickest despite fall at Silverstone

    Marc Márquez set the fastest time during the third practice session for the British Grand Prix at Silverstone, before...

    MotoGP
  24. Aleshin in 'serious but stable' condition 10:09

    Aleshin in 'serious but stable' condition

    SMP Racing driver Mikhail Aleshin is in a 'serious but stable' condition following a violent accident during practice for...

    Indy
  25. Video of the Day: Singapore winner's trophy 05:00

    Video of the Day: Singapore winner's trophy

    View the winner's trophy for this year's Singapore Grand Prix, inspired by the Singapore Airlines logo.

    F1
  26. Aleshin airlifted to hospital after violent crash 04:50

    Aleshin airlifted to hospital after violent crash

    Russian rookie Mikhail Aleshin has been airlifted to Loma Linda University Medical Center in California after a violent...

    Indy
  27. Friday 29 August 2014

  28. Castroneves chips into points lead with Fontana pole 23:57

    Castroneves chips into points lead with Fontana pole

    Helio Castroneves picked up his second pole position of 2014 at the most crucial time possible: On the eve of the...

    Indy
  29. 23:57

    Latest IndyCar photos: Friday at Fontana

    Indy
  30. IndyCar to lose Houston, switch Toronto for Mosport 20:17

    IndyCar to lose Houston, switch Toronto for Mosport

    IndyCar confirmed today that the Houston street course would not be a part of the 2015 schedule.   Twice a sight of...

    Indy
  31. Season finale preview: Power heads three-man fight 19:51

    Season finale preview: Power heads three-man fight

    The MAVTV 500 at Fontana will be the ninth consecutive time that the last race of the year will determine the champion, and...

    Indy
  32. 16:00

    Latest MotoGP photos: Friday at Silverstone

    MotoGP
  33. Márquez stays fastest in second practice 15:26

    Márquez stays fastest in second practice

    Repsol Honda's Marc Márquez remained in charge during Friday afternoon's second practice session for the British Grand...

    MotoGP
  34. Mercedes drivers react to crunch talks 14:53

    Mercedes drivers react to crunch talks

    Mercedes drivers Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton have publicly responded to the clear-the-air talks staged at the team's...

    F1
  35. Ex-Caterham staff start legal action 14:26

    Ex-Caterham staff start legal action

    Ex-Caterham staff have started legal action against the F1 team's new owners, claiming unfair dismissal. Having...

    F1
  36. Video: Verstappen drives F1 car in Rotterdam 14:04

    Video: Verstappen drives F1 car in Rotterdam

    Max Verstappen made his first public outing in Formula 1 machinery on Friday, the 16-year-old getting behind the wheel of a...

    F1
  37. Rosberg accepts responsibility for Spa clash 13:07

    Rosberg accepts responsibility for Spa clash

    Nico Rosberg has "acknowledged his responsibility" and apologised for clashing with team-mate Lewis Hamilton at last...

    F1
  38. Márquez tops opening Silverstone practice 11:08

    Márquez tops opening Silverstone practice

    Marc Márquez set the pace during Friday morning's opening practice session for the British Grand Prix at...

    MotoGP
  39. Verstappen compares driving style to Alonso 09:44

    Verstappen compares driving style to Alonso

    Newly-signed Toro Rosso driver Max Verstappen, son of ex-Formula 1 star Jos, claims that his driving style is closest to...

    F1
  40. 09:30

    Photos: Kovalainen drives DTM car

    DTM
  41. Kovalainen completes BMW DTM test 09:29

    Kovalainen completes BMW DTM test

    Ex-Formula 1 driver and Grand Prix winner Heikki Kovalainen made his DTM testing debut with BMW on Thursday, getting behind...

    DTM
  42. Video of the Day: Hamilton at Goodwood 05:00

    Video of the Day: Hamilton at Goodwood

    Watch highlights from Lewis Hamilton's visit to this year's Goodwood Festival of Speed.

    F1
  43. Thursday 28 August 2014

  44. 16:11

    Photos: Márquez crosses the River Thames

    MotoGP
  45. Accident at Toro Rosso construction site 14:53

    Accident at Toro Rosso construction site

    Toro Rosso says two construction workers have been injured while working on a new factory building. The outfit reports...

    F1
more news