Samuel David Michael (born 29 April 1971) is an Australian motor sports engineer and designer, who held senior positions with Formula One constructors Williams and McLaren. He is currently employed by Supercar team Triple Eight Race Engineering.

Sam Michael
Samuel David Michael

(1971-04-29) 29 April 1971 (age 51)
OccupationMotor sports engineer and designer
Years active1993-
Known forFormula One engineer and designer: (Lotus, Jordan, Williams, McLaren)

Early careerEdit

Michael was born in Western Australia and grew up in Canberra.[1] After a brief stint working on Neal Bates' Toyota Celica GT-Four rally car, Michael studied mechanical engineering at the University of New South Wales with a thesis on data acquisition systems for racing cars. During his studies, Greg Siddle employed Michael on a part-time basis working on Mark Larkham's Formula Holden, so that Michael could continue his studies.[2][3]

Formula 1Edit

Michael was recruited by UK-based Lotus in 1993. After Team Lotus went bankrupt in 1994 Gary Anderson, the chief designer at Jordan Grand Prix, took Michael on to established the team's research and development department. Michael spent two years working in the Jordan factory on data acquisition, and installed a seven-post rig for simulating suspension movement and designing an active differential.[2]

In 1997, Michael joined the Jordan test team. In 1998 he was promoted to race engineer for Ralf Schumacher. When the German departed to go to Williams in 1999, Michael inherited Heinz-Harald Frentzen. His partnership with Frentzen was successful, resulting in a win at the French Grand Prix at Circuit de Nevers Magny-Cours, and then again at the Italian Grand Prix at Monza.[1]

In 2001, Sir Frank Williams brought Michael to Williams as Senior Operations Engineer. He took over the responsibility of managing the engineers at races and tests. In May 2004, Michael was promoted to Technical Director of Williams, leaving Patrick Head to focus on engineering strategy.[2]

In late 2011, Michael joined McLaren as Sporting Director, becoming part of the senior technical management team.[4][5]

At McLaren, Michael came under pressure following a series of failures during pitstops, during the introduction of new equipment and procedures.[6] Martin Whitmarsh defended Michael's position,[7] and shortly afterwards the changes began to pay off.[8]

Return to AustraliaEdit

At the end of 2014 Michael returned to Australia, after resigning from McLaren earlier that year.[9] In mid-2016, Michael joined the Australian Institute for Motor Sport Safety board focusing on safety in motor sport.[10] In late 2016, Michael took on a part-time mentoring role with Triple Eight Race Engineering after Ludo Lacroix moved to DJR Team Penske.[11][12]


  1. ^ a b "People: Sam Michael". Retrieved 6 October 2014.
  2. ^ a b c "Sam Michael - Technical Director". WilliamsF1. Archived from the original on 21 April 2009. Retrieved 8 January 2016.
  3. ^ "Sam Michael deal a feather in cap for Supercars". Speedcafe. 2 November 2016.
  4. ^ "Sam Michael to become McLaren sporting director after Williams exit". BBC Sport. Retrieved 13 September 2011.
  5. ^ "McLaren Mercedes hires Sam Michael as Sporting Director". 29 September 2011.
  6. ^ "European Grand Prix 2012: it's the pits for McLaren and Lewis Hamilton after another costly error in Valencia". 24 June 2012. Retrieved 6 October 2014.
  7. ^ "Martin Whitmarsh defends Sam Michael's job at McLaren F1 team". 4 July 2012. Retrieved 6 October 2014.
  8. ^ "Celebrating the fastest ever pit stop // James Allen on F1". 23 September 2012. Retrieved 26 August 2016.
  9. ^ "McLaren's Sam Michael set to leave F1 team at end of 2014". BBC News. 22 October 2014.
  10. ^ "Sam Michael joins Australian racing safety board". 25 August 2016.
  11. ^ "Sam Michael joins Triple Eight". 1 November 2016.
  12. ^ "Ludo Lacroix set to leave Triple Eight". Speedcafe. 1 November 2016.