MAY 25, 2004
Who is Sam Michael?
Sam Michael is 33 and grew up in Canberra, not far from Mark Webber's home city of Queenbeyan, NSW. Michael studied mechanical engineering at the University of New South Wales in Sydney and because of his passion for motorsport soon began working part-time for team owner Gregg Siddle, a man who made his name in Europe in the 1970s promoting the careers of Nelson Piquet and Roberto Moreno. Michael's thesis was on data acquisition systems for racing cars. After graduating in 1993 Michael went to Europe where he was given a job, on Siddle's recommendation, by Peter Collins, the then boss of Team Lotus and worked as part of Peter Wright's technical team developing data acquisition and lap simulation technology. When Team Lotus went out of business at the end of 1994 Michael moved to Jordan Grand Prix where he broadened his experience, establishing a research and development department, installing a seven-post rig for simulating suspension movement and designing an active differential. In 1998, however, he was offered the job of race engineer and began working with Ralf Schumacher. When the German departed to go to Williams Michael inherited Heinz-Harald Frentzen and in 1999 the relationship was a big success with Frentzen winning a finely-judged victory at Magny-Cours and then again at the Nurburgring. Michael remained at Jordan in 2000 before agreeing to join Williams as Senior Operations Engineer in 2001.
"Naturally, I am extremely pleased to have been given such a positive vote of confidence," he said. "I share Patrick's view that this division of responsibilities will free Patrick to take on an important strategic role, and the timing allows me to take charge of the progression of the FW27 from the outset. I think it is obvious given the growth in complexity of the technical processes, our organisation and the level of competition in Formula 1 that we organise ourselves in a smarter fashion."
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