Michael to join McLaren as sporting director

London: Williams technical director Sam Michael will join McLaren as sporting director from next season, the Woking-based Formula One team said on Tuesday.

McLaren said Michael would join their senior management team as well as taking specific responsibility for the development and management of trackside operations.

"He`ll bring a very valuable blend of experience and expertise to our pitwall," said McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh.

"I`m certain he`ll work extremely well with our senior technical management team, which I firmly believe will now become the strongest in all of Formula One."

Former world champions Williams had already announced in May that the Australian, who has been in the sport for 18 years and was a director of Williams, would be leaving them at the end of the year.

However, they said in a separate statement that the Singapore Grand Prix in two weeks` time would now be his last race with the team.

The move will see Michael working closely with drivers Jenson Button, who started his Formula One career with Williams in 2000, and Lewis Hamilton.

"For some time I`ve closely observed and greatly admired both Lewis and Jenson as grade-one drivers, and therefore regard it as an enormous privilege to be able to work with both of them," he said.

McLaren are the second most successful team in Formula One after Ferrari in terms of race wins and drivers` titles, although Williams have won more constructors` crowns.

However, Williams have not won a race since 2004 and are currently struggling in ninth place in the standings while McLaren are second to Red Bull and have won four races this year.

Bureau Report