September 13, 2011 (F1plus Team).- It has been confirmed that Sam Michael, Technical Director for Williams, will join McLaren as Sporting Director from 2012 onwards. Having announced his Williams departure earlier this year, the Australian will leave after next weekend’s Singapore Grand Prix. He had also been linked with Force India and Virgin Racing.
To confirm the news on Tuesday afternoon, Williams and McLaren issued press releases within 21 minutes of each other. Michael’s earlier exit from Williams was unexpected, as he had been due to work up to the Korean Grand Prix.
McLaren statements reads: “Sam will join the senior management team in addition to taking specific responsibility for the development and management of the team’s trackside operations. His vast experience and profound understanding of race operations will enhance the team’s on-track capability, adding significantly to its already impressive technical management strength-in-depth.”
“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 (Hamilton) and Jenson (Button) 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 percent 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.”
The move has also been acknowledged by McLaren Team Principal Martin Whitmarsh: “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 1.”