Mike Coughlan returns to F1 with Williams

2011 F1 season

Rubens Barrichello, Williams, Shanghai, 2011

Rubens Barrichello, Williams, Shanghai, 2011

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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69 comments on Mike Coughlan returns to F1 with Williams

  1. manatcna (@manatcna) said on 4th May 2011, 0:41

    If he can help Williams then that’s OK with me – but please – keep Briatore at arms distance.

  2. judo chop said on 4th May 2011, 1:39

    I feel he’s was treated as a scapegoat and I’m glad he’s back in F1. The Mp4/22 was a great car and his work on it shouldn’t be discredited.

    • cristoacevedo said on 4th May 2011, 3:17

      great point of view for williams’ fans … it was a great car.
      Good news

  3. Bäremans said on 4th May 2011, 11:20

    Williams needs 2 things asap:
    1. Like Ferrari, they must re-descover “innovation”. Such a big factory, but all they come up with is a small gearbox. And then they fail to develop the aero around it to actually gain an advantage from it.
    2. A driver that is not only quicker than those they have now, but one that also appeals to the masses (ie.
    sponsors). I’m just thinking: why not Massa if he gets sacked by Ferrari? I think it’d be a very nice combo.

    If they can sort these two points out during or by the end of this season, next year might well be the start of a comeback.

  4. renzo said on 4th May 2011, 11:28

    actually his role will be chief photocopier engineer at Williams

  5. Chalky said on 4th May 2011, 11:56

    Well it wasn’t all Mike Coughlans’ fault as he still needed the documents handed to him.
    If it was Nigel Stepney then it’d be a different story as he was at the Ferrari end of all this.

    I guess if we see some Sumo high performance parts start appearing on the Williams we’ll know who’s responsible :D

  6. AH said on 4th May 2011, 13:28

    as if Ferrari would provide a comment for this site!

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 4th May 2011, 13:35

      The Guardian also approached them and got the same response:


      And, as I mentioned elsewhere in the comments, McLaren said something very similar during a media call I was in with a number of other journalists.

      • BBQ2 said on 4th May 2011, 15:18

        Keith, we thank you for your efforts and just keep up the good work.

        I am a member at BBC’606 forum and there, you get such WUMs () everyday and when I am tired of them I get on here to get some knowledgeable commentaries. I really do not have any alternative should this forum be occupied by WUMS :(

        As we can see, he/she/it throws up a bile and disappears into thin air and all we do is talk about some1 who is not even willing to debate on his views (this is where Oliver went wrong IMHO). Senor Smoke is not interested in knowledgeable information, he/she/it is only here to Troll.

        Just my 2cents

  7. Meander said on 4th May 2011, 18:39

    Imagine stepping up to a young Rubens Barrichello during his first races in 1993 and telling him: “One day, you will be lead driver of the Williams F1 Team.” I bet he’d have asked where to sell his soul ;)

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