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Sam Michael

Formula 1 employee

Sam Michael
Credit: McLaren Mercedes
Vital statistics for Sam Michael

Sam Michael worked at several Formula One teams during his career, most prominently at Williams and most recently at McLaren. Working up through engineering departments, Michael oversaw engineers and mechanics at races and tests, before taking up the position of Sporting Director at McLaren. His performance wasn't considered outstanding, and Michael announced his decision to leave F1 and return to Australia at the end of the 2014 season.


Sam completed a degree in Mechanical Engineering in Australia, working part time for Formula Holden – an Australian single seater series. In 1993, Michael was hired by Lotus but the team went bankrupt the following year and left Formula One. Michael joined Jordan Grand Prix to help build and grow their R&D department, and then moved on to the test team. He became race engineer to Ralf Schumacher and Heinz-Harald Frentzen, before finally leaving Jordan to join Williams.

Arriving in 2001, Michael was Senior Operations Engineer, overseeing the other engineers during race weekends and at pre-and-mid-season tests. After several years, he became Technical Director, replacing Patrick Head in the role. Unfortunately, the performance of Williams dropped drastically, and they suffered their worst season to date. Michael resigned from Williams in May 2011, departing the team at the end of the year.

In September, it was announced that he would join McLaren as sporting director, so Michael spent the final few races of the 2011 season with his new team, in an unofficial capacity. He started working for McLaren in 2012, weathering a handful of storms as the performance of the team continues to waver. His performance had to be defended by Martin Whitmarsh during some of his earlier months, but Michael lasted until the end of 2014. Then he confirmed he would be leaving the sport to return to Australia and spend more time with his family.