Mike Coughlan, who this week became the new Chief Engineer at Williams, has apologised for the role he played in the 2007 Spy-gate scandal.
Coughlan, who was working for McLaren at the time, has said that he ‘sincerely regrets’ is actions. He was found to be in possession of a 780-page dossier of confidential Ferrari technical information and given a two-year ban by the FIA. McLaren were thrown out of the constructors’ championship that season and fined £50 million.
“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,” said Coughlan, speaking as he begins his new job at Williams. “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.”
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 One. This is what I am determined to do with Williams.”
Coughlan adds that he is very pleased to be joining Williams, and believes that there is a huge amount of potential at the team. He is also optimistic that he can help to turn around their ailing fortunes:
“I am thrilled to be at AT&T Williams,” he said. “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 One.
“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.
“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 Coughlan’s aim in his new job? To return Williams to the top step of the podium:
“Personally, I am aiming to integrate myself back into Formula One and prove myself.” he explained. “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.”