Williams’ hiring of the controversial engineer Mike Coughlan has not got off to the best of starts, with Autosport reporting that his former employer NASCAR team Michael Waltrip Racing, is suing Coughlan for breach of contract and Williams for interference.
This is interesting because Adam Parr spoke at the Montreal FOTA Fans Forum about having visited Waltrip’s shop en route to Canada and having been shown around. It sounded quite a cordial visit, so one wonders to what extent this action has come out of the blue.
Coughlan had a contract with Waltrip, which was due to run from October 2010 to November 2012.
Coughlan has recently started work at Grove alongside Williams outgoing technical technical director Sam Michael, who is focussed on developing the 2011 car. It has improved in pace in recent races, with Pastor Maldonado qualifying an impressive seventh at Silverstone. Sadly for them the race results have not been forthcoming and Williams trails a long way behind Toro Rosso and Force India in the constructors’ championship with just four points and ninth in the standings.
Recently the team announced that it was adding Jason Sommerville as chief aerodynamicist and Mark Gillan as head of track engineering to work alongside Coughlan in future.
Coughlan is a controversial figure in F1 due to his central involvement in the McLaren/Ferrari spying scandal in 2007, which led to McLaren being fined a record $100 million.