Sam Michael, the outgoing technical director at Williams, will join McLaren as Sporting Director from 2012 onwards, it has been announced today.
Michael, who resigned from his current post back in May, will now leave Williams after next weekend’s Singapore Grand Prix rather than at the end of the season.
As Sporting Director at McLaren, he will be part of the senior management team and take specific responsibility for the development and management of trackside operations. The position was last held by Dave Ryan, who was fired from the team for his part in the ‘lie-gate’ scandal at the 2009 Australian Grand Prix, in which Lewis Hamilton was disqualified for misleading the stewards.
“I'm extremely excited to be joining Vodafone McLaren Mercedes,” says Michael. “Being a racer my whole life, I know that McLaren is one of the all-time greats of Formula 1.
“I already know and respect many of the team's senior technical management figures, and becoming a member of that excellent working unit was one of the prime attractions of this new position.
“Equally, for some time I've closely observed and greatly admired both Lewis and Jenson as grade-one drivers, and therefore regard it as an enormous privilege to be able to work with both of them.
“I've spent 11 seasons with WilliamsF1, have many fond memories, and truly wish them all the best. In the near future, however, I will become 100 per cent focused on Vodafone McLaren Mercedes, and will be aiming to ensure that the team's famous rocket-red victory T-shirts will be seen many times over the coming years.”
McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh commented on the latest addition to the team: “Speaking on behalf of everyone at Vodafone McLaren Mercedes, I'm very pleased to welcome Sam as an important senior addition to our race team,” he said.
“He'll bring a very valuable blend of experience and expertise to our pitwall, and will also enrich the technical management we provide for our drivers.
“I'm certain he'll work extremely well with our senior technical management team, which I firmly believe will now become the strongest in all of Formula 1.”
Sir Frank Williams, the eponymous owner of the team that Michael leaves behind, wished his former technical director well in his new job.
“I am delighted that Sam has found a new role that will enable him to continue to apply his energy, passion and experience to Formula One,” Sir Frank said. “On behalf of everyone at Williams I wish him a successful move to his new team.
“I would also like to thank Sam for his help in enabling a swift and smooth transition to our new technical leadership. Mike Coughlan and Jason Somerville are settling in very well and the restructuring will be complete when Mark Gillan joins us as Chief Operations Engineer on 19 September.”