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Williams announce changes to technical line-up 03 May 2011

Sam Michael (AUS) Williams Technical Director.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 6, Monaco Grand Prix, Practice Day, Monte-Carlo, Monaco, Thursday, 13 May 2010 (L to R): Rubens Barrichello (BRA) Williams with team mate Pastor Maldonado (VEN) Williams.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 3, Chinese Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Shanghai, China, Saturday, 16 April 2011 Pastor Maldonado (VEN) Williams FW33.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 3, Chinese Grand Prix, Race, Shanghai, China, Sunday, 17 April 2011 Rubens Barrichello (BRA) Williams FW33.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 3, Chinese Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Shanghai, China, Saturday, 16 April 2011 Mike Coughlan (GBR) McLaren Designer. Formula One Testing, Valencia, Spain, 17 January 2007. World © Sutton

Williams have announced on Tuesday that technical director Sam Michael and chief aerodynamicist Jon Tomlinson have resigned and will leave the team at the end of the year. The British outfit have endured a tough start to the 2011 season, failing to score a single world championship point at the opening three rounds.

“Both Sam and Jon are talented and driven people who have worked hard for Williams over 10 and five years respectively,” explained team principal Frank 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 revealed that former McLaren chief designer Mike Coughlan will join the team in June as chief engineer. Coughlan left McLaren in 2007 in the wake of the ‘spygate’ affair and since then has applied his skills principally as chief engineer in the development of the Ocelot Light Protected Patrol Vehicle. He joins Williams from NASCAR competitor, Michael Waltrip Racing.

“Mike Coughlan is a fine engineer with extensive experience across Formula One and both civil and defence engineering,” explained Williams. “He left Formula One 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.”

Coughlan undertook his training and education at Rolls Royce and Brunel University. He began his Formula One career at Lotus where he worked his way up to chief designer. He worked for Tyrell, Ferrari and Arrows before joining McLaren in 2002 as chief designer.

“I am grateful to Williams for giving me this opportunity,” said Coughlan. “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.”

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