Coughlan on "gardening leave"

WHEN Formula 1 engineers go from one team to another it is often necessary for them to sit out a six month period of what is known as "gardening leave". It has been established for some years that teams cannot stop an engineer from earning his living for more than six months and so this has become the established period which they have to wait before they join another team.

Mike Coughlan, the technical director of Arrows, has just gone on "gardening leave" and it is expected that he will start work at McLaren in the autumn. Coughlan is thought to be joining the Woking team as the head of the design team, working under technical director Adrian Newey. It is not clear how he will fit into the existing structure with Neil Oatley and, it has to be added, there is no confirmation from either McLaren or Coughlan that a deal is in place.

Coughlan has also been spotted in talks with Toyota's Gustav Brunner.

But, in the finest traditions of F1, we will find out soon enough...

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