It was announced on Tuesday 13th September 2011 that Sam Michael will join McLaren as sporting director in 2012. Michael resigned as technical director of Williams last May. His last race with Williams will be the Singapore Grand Prix later this month.
Michael commented “I’m extremely excited to be joining Vodafone McLaren Mercedes. Being a racer my whole life, I know that McLaren is one of the all-time greats of Formula One. 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 Williams, have many fond memories, and truly wish them all the best.
“In the near future, however, I will become 100 per cent focused on McLaren, 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.”
Michael started out in Grand Prix racing in 1993 with Team Lotus. In 1995 he then joined Jordan Grand Prix. He established the R&D group for Jordan before becoming a senior race engineer. He joined Williams in 2001 as chief operations engineer. He then, in 2004, moved onto becoming the team’s technical director.
Martin Whitmarsh, team principal with McLaren, said “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’ll bring a very valuable blend of experience and expertise to our pit wall, 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 One.”
Frank Williams, the team principal and the founder of Williams, said: “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. 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.”
Sam Michael becomes McLaren’s sporting director and in doing so will join the senior management team. He will also be responsible for the management and development of trackside operations. It is hoped he can enhance the team’s on-track capability with his profound understanding and vast experience of race operations.