Australian resigns as Williams tech director
Williams has announced a major engineering restructure that includes the resignation of technical director Sam Michael.
The Australian has been with Williams for ten years, and will remain in his current position until the end of the season.
Chief aerodynamicist Jon Tomlinson has also resigned, effective from the end of the 2011 season, while Mike Coughlan, the former McLaren designer at the heart of the 2007 McLaren/Ferrari ‘spy scandal,’ joins the squad as chief engineer .
Williams team principal Frank Williams pointed to the team’s poor start to the season, which has seen it fail to score points across the opening three races, as the motive behind the changes.
“Both Sam and Jon are talented and driven people who have worked hard for Williams over 10 and five years respectively,” said Williams.
“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.”
Williams also said he is glad to be able to give Coughlan, who has worked with NASCAR team Michael Waltrip Racing in recent months, another opportunity in Grand Prix racing.
“Mike Coughlan is a fine engineer with extensive experience across Formula One and both civil and defence engineering,” said Williams.
“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.
“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.”
The 2011 Formula One World Championship continues in Turkey this weekend.
See below for Speedcafe.com’s Turkish Grand Prix Race Guide