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Coughlan hopes to earn respect

ESPNF1 Staff
June 14, 2011 « Brawn dismisses Schumacher speculation | »
Mike Coughlan has been away from Formula One since 2007 © Sutton Images
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Williams' new chief engineer Mike Coughlan has said he hopes to be able to "earn back everyone's respect" after returning from a Formula One ban.

Coughlan was sacked from McLaren and banned from the sport for two years for his part in the Spygate scandal in 2007, and his since been playing his trade in NASCAR. However, it was announced earlier this year that he would be joining Williams as part of a major technical shake-up. Having completed his first day with the team, Coughlan said his previous discrepancy had been "life-changing", and that he was determined to prove himself once again.

"It was life-changing because it made me reflect upon myself and my actions," Coughlan 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."

Looking ahead to his time with his new employers, Coughlan said that Williams still had a lot of potential, although admitted that new faces would be arriving.

"I was really impressed when I looked around the factory. The team has a fantastic site at Grove and some brilliant people working there. 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.

"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."

Coughlan also said that his aim was to challenge for race wins in the future, and more immediately to show an improvement in performance.

"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."