Williams man joins McLaren

McLaren has strengthened its engineering team by hiring Sam Michael, who announced he was leaving Williams earlier this year.

Although he is technical director at his current team Michael's new role will be that of sporting director, with his focus on race engineering rather than car design and construction. McLaren says Michael will, "join the senior management team and take specific responsibility for the development and management of the team's trackside operations". Michael (above) began his F1 career with Lotus but rose to prominence at Jordan, where he worked with HeinzHarald Frentzen during the successful 1999 season. He joined Williams in '01 and became technical chief in '04.

Although he resigned from Williams many observers feel he was made a scapegoat for the recent lack of form, although he continued to work with the team and enjoys a good relationship with Frank Williams. "McLaren is one of the all-time F1 greats," said the Aussie. "I know many of the team's senior technical figures, and becoming a member of that excellent unit was a prime attraction."

New recruits Mike Coughlan (chief engineer), Mark Gillan (chief operations engineer) and Jason Sommerville (head of aerodynamics) are already working at Williams as the team tries to regain competitiveness.