Formula One `Spygate` engineer Coughlan apologises

Paris: Mike Coughlan, who was at the centre of the `spygate` scandal that rocked Formula One back in 2007 but has returned to Grand Prix racing with Williams, said he aimed to "earn back everyone`s respect".

Coughlan was working for Williams`s British rivals McLaren when he was suspended from the sport for two years after being found to be in possession of confidential documents belonging to F1 giants Ferrari.

McLaren were fined £50 million and stripped of all their points in the 2007 constructors` championship.

But Coughlan returned to Grand Prix racing last month after being appointed chief engineer of the Williams team.

The events of 2007, Coughlan said, were "life-changing because it made me reflect upon myself and my actions. 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."

A contrite Coughlan, who during his ban from Formula One worked for NASCAR team Michael Waltrip Racing among others, also offered an apology to the parties affected in the spygate scandal.

"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," he said.

"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.

"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`m hoping to help bring an upturn in the team`s results and put it back to where it deserves to be."

Williams, which have not won a Grand Prix since 2004, stand ninth out of the 10 teams in the constructors` championship with a mere four points from the seven races held so far this season. Leaders Red Bull have amassed 255pts.

Bureau Report

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