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Sam Michael confident of remaining in F1

NEWS STORY
10/05/2011

Mat Coch writes:

Still without a point in 2011, Williams last week announced a number of changes within its technical department. Key among the announcements was the resignation of Sam Michael, the team's Technical Director since 2004.

"It was my decision to leave Williams," said the 40-year-old. "I thought it was the right thing given that the board wanted to review the technical structure of the company, and that was going to involve some changes in the staff that work for me.

"I thought it was wholly correct that, as technical director, I take responsibility if the board decided that the performance was not going to be strong enough, and I wasn't prepared to not be included in that review.

"So it was my decision to resign, which I did after the Malaysian Grand Prix, and that's where we are."

Michael will remain with Williams until the end of the season, over-viewing the current FW33, until departing at the end of the season. It's an unusual situation in Formula One where teams typically send key staff on 'gardening leave', preventing them taking privileged information to rival outfits.

"I have seven months left at Williams and my contract with them is to develop the car and make sure it's as high performing and reliable as possible," said Michael.

"There might be a point when new engineers come in, that Williams will want me to step back from some of that work, but at this stage that's not even a discussion. As far as I'm concerned it's just business as usual until I finish.

"I want to leave Williams very professionally and in the best position going forward."

While the leading casualty of Williams struggles so far in 2011, many believe Michael was simply over worked, a view backed by Rubens Barrichello. It's understood the Williams Technical boss worked a 90 hour week.

Reassuringly, since the announcement there has been interest in Michael's services for next year. "I'll clearly be in Formula One next year," he revealed. "Where? I don't know yet, I can't talk about it."

Despite his resignation, it's positive news for the popular and talented Australian and proof that talent, not workload, is the ultimate benchmark set by those within the Formula One paddock.

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