2011 F1 season
Mike Coughlan, a key figure in the 2007 ‘spygate’ scandal, will return to Formula 1 with Williams.
The team have announced he will join them as chief engineer next month.
Coughlan worked for McLaren from 2002 until 2007, when he left the team after he was discovered to have been involved in the exchange of confidential Ferrari information with Nigel Stepney.
He previously worked for Lotus, Benetton, Tyrrell and Arrows.
Team principal Frank Williams said: “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.
“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 said: “I am grateful to Williams for giving me this opportunity.
“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.”
The announcement follows the news that Sam Michael and Jon Tomlinson have resigned from the team.
Ferrari declined to comment on Coughlan’s return to F1, saying: “We’ve nothing to comment about other teams’ choices.”
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