There’s a big shake-up at Williams, who have not picked up any points in the first three races of the year. Technical director Sam Michael and chief aerodynamicist Jon Tomlinson have resigned from the Grove based outfit, and on his way in is Mike Coughlan as chief engineer. Michael, who has been with Williams for 10 years, and Tomlinson will leave at the end of this season when their contracts expire. Coughlan will join in June.

If that last name sounds familiar, it’s because Coughlan was the man in the 2007 Spygate scandal. The ex-McLaren man was caught with Ferrari documents in his possession and has completed a two-year ban from the sport. This is his first return to F1. He has a shot to be technical director, but Williams will only decide at the end of the season.

“We have a technical director until the end of the year, and it is important to have clarity in the roles. Mike, as chief engineer, will be driving forward our engineering process and ensuring systems are in place for success. He will be responsible for the FW34, next year’s car, and how that develops

“Sam will remain accountable for this year’s car, and because there are minimal changes in rules from this year to next, there is a lot of continuity. That is the way it will run until the end of the year, and then we will make a decision about whether Mike becomes technical director, or remains as chief engineer and we bring someone alongside him as technical director,” Williams Chairman Adam Parr said.

On Coughlan’s “convict” status, Parr said: “My view is quite simple: you do something wrong, you get a penalty, you serve your time and you acknowledge what you did was wrong. Everyone has the right to move beyond that – otherwise, what was portrayed as a two-year penalty is a lifetime penalty, and that is not right.”

Parr himself offered to resign, but it was not accepted by the owners. Parr also revealed that 65-year old co-founder Patrick Head is set to retire this year. Sinking ship?