Mike Coughlan has started work at Williams with a heartfelt apology to his former employers McLaren and rivals Ferrari for his involvement in a spying controversy that rocked Formula One in 2007.
Coughlan joined the struggling former world champions as chief engineer and is lined up to take over as technical director when Sam Michael leaves at the end of the season.
Coughlan was sacked by McLaren after he was found to have a 780-page dossier of secret Ferrari information in his possession. Ferrari dismissed Nigel Stepney, the British engineer accused of passing the information to Coughlan.
The so-called "Spygate" affair saw McLaren suffer a record $100 million fine and the loss of all their constructors' points that year. "I would like to take this opportunity to apologise to everyone who was affected by my conduct and in particular the people at McLaren and Ferrari and the fans of those teams," Coughlan said in a Williams question and answer session after his first day at the Grove factory.
"I sincerely regret my actions and I fully accepted the penalty given by the (International Automobile Federation) FIA. I can only hope that I can earn back everyone's respect."