Mike Coughlan says he is keen to prove himself in F1 for a second time as the new Wiliams chief engineer seeks to rebuild his career in the sport.
Coughlan left F1 in disgrace after being dismissed by McLaren for his part in the spygate scandal and has since worked in the USA with the Michael Waltrip Racing NASCAR team.
However, a reshuffle of the Williams technical team after a tough start to the 2011 season has given Coughlan the chance to make a return to the paddock now the two-year ban he was given by the FIA is over, and he said he was keen to put the past behind him.
“It was life-changing because it made me reflect upon myself and my actions,” he said. “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.
“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. 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.”
Coulghan added that he was keen to try and help Williams return to winning ways, with its last success having come back in 2004 when Juan Pablo Montoya took victory in the season finale in Brazil.
“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,” he said of his new challenge.
“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.
“Personally, I am aiming to integrate myself back into Formula One and prove myself. 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.”