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Sam Michael to leave McLaren and F1

NEWS STORY
22/10/2014

McLaren sporting director Sam Michael is to leave the team, and the sport, at the end of the season.

Contacted by Pitpass in the wake of speculation about the Australian's future with the team, a McLaren spokesperson formally confirmed that that Michael is to leave.

"After twenty-one years in the sport, Sam, his wife and two children are heading back to Australia," said the spokesperson, who confirmed that Michael gave notice of his intention to leave in March.

"This was a long standing plan," added the spokesperson, "he leaves us on very good terms".

Michael will attend the final three races of the season, beginning with next week's United States Grand Prix in Austin.

At the same time, the spokesperson was keen to deny claims, emanating from Italy, regarding technical director Tim Goss and chief operating officer Jonathan Neale.

"We categorically deny that they are leaving, there are no plans for them to leave," said the spokesperson of the "erroneous" report.

Having studied Mechanical Engineering at the University of New South Wales, Michael, whose racing career began in Formula Holden, subsequently headed to Europe where he joined Team Lotus.

After the team went bankrupt in 1994 he moved to Jordan where he spent two years working on data acquisition and also installed a seven-post rig for simulating suspension movement and designing an active differential.

In 1997, he joined the Jordan test team, being promoted to race engineer for Ralf Schumacher a year later. When the German switched to Williams in 1999, Michael worked with Heinz-Harald Frentzen, the German scoring victories in the French and Italian Grands Prix.

In 2001, Michael was recruited by Williams as Senior Operations Engineer, assuming the responsibility of managing the engineers at races and tests. In 2004, he was appointed Technical Director when Patrick Head took control of the Grove outfit's research and development division.

Following it worst start to a season in its history, Michael left Williams in May 2011, though he joined McLaren for the final (five) races of 2011 he did not assume his role of sporting director at McLaren until the start of 2012.

Chris Balfe

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READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by Paul C, 30/10/2014 12:12

"Look for Sam Michael to pop up in V8 Supercars. "

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2. Posted by Tommy Tipper, 25/10/2014 10:11

"Failure seemed to follow him wherever he went"

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3. Posted by my tyres are going off, 23/10/2014 21:25

"Chapman, Williams, Brawn sorry Sam you do not make the list but that does not make him a bad F1 engineer just not a great leader."

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4. Posted by Paolo, 23/10/2014 12:59

"Perhaps like Williams McLaren will now go from strength to strength.
Never understood the appointment in the first place. In a team environment where image is so critical perhaps he was just meant to be eye candy or a clothes horse for the Boss designed team wear.
From a long suffering McLaren supporter. "

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5. Posted by nealio, 22/10/2014 19:01

"Michael's biggest success in F1; acquiring the Dennis squint."

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6. Posted by Podge, 22/10/2014 16:04

"I don't know what was a bigger blow to McLaren; losing Hamilton or having Whitmarsh and Michael running things."

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7. Posted by F One, 22/10/2014 15:56

"The jinx moves on yet again then."

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8. Posted by White Lightning, 22/10/2014 15:48

"Good luck to him wherever he goes, but one can't help feeling that, as a team manager he was a bit...rubbish."

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