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Sam Michael to join McLaren
13 September 2011
McLaren has confirmed that outgoing Williams technical director Sam Michael has been appointed as its sporting director from the 2012 F1 season onwards.
Michael announced earlier this year that he was to leave Williams after a difficult start to the 2011 campaign and was expected to leave after the Korean Grand Prix.
However, in light of his new deal, the Australian will now depart Williams following the Singapore Grand Prix before taking up his position with McLaren next season.
“I'm extremely excited to be joining Vodafone McLaren Mercedes,” he said. “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 boss Martin Whitmarsh welcomed Michael into the fold and said he would be a key part of the senior technical 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.”
Michael worked his way up the pecking-order at Williams from the position of chief operations engineer when he joined back in 2001 to spend eight years as the Grove-based outfit's technical director. Team principal and founder Sir Frank Williams paid glowing tribute to the softly-spoken 40-year-old.
“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 1,” he remarked. “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.”
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