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GP Week : Issue 141
F1 NEWS >> WILLIAMS has given departed technical director Sam Michael permission to start work with McLaren. Michael left the Williams F1 team two months ago, having tendered his resignation following what was the worst start to a season in the team’s thirty-four year history. He had been technical director since 2004, and joined the team as senior operations engineer in 2001. Because of the risks of technology transfer and information-sharing, Formula One contracts usually include a lengthy period of ‘gardening leave’ that must be taken before staff can join new teams. Under the terms of Michael’s contract it is believed the Australian would have been on the sidelines until mid-March, had Williams not granted him special permission to join McLaren at this time. Michael left the Grove-based team after September’s Singapore Grand Prix, and will arrive in the Yas Marina paddock sporting McLaren team kit after his former employers agreed that he could take up his new role of sporting director before the end of the season. “If I can get to a race this year with McLaren, it lets me observe what they are up to,” Michael told Autosport in September. “It’s much better to do that and have the winter to think about things rather than going straight in at Melbourne and reacting to what I see.” Michael’s first day of work at Woking was 1 November, a month after leaving Grove. Michael to start at McLaren For your daily dose of Formula 1 news ... SEATS are beginning to fill up for next week’s Young Driver Test in Abu Dhabi. The test, which runs from 15- 17 November at Yas Marina Circuit, sees teams give up- and-coming drivers a chance to show off their skills in a current F1 car, and forms part of the testing calendar authorized by the FIA. Toro Rosso have announced that GP2 racer Stefano Coletti and Auto GP Champion Kevin Ceccon will take on testing duties for their team. “Scuderia Toro Rosso is well used to training young drivers and we are pleased to add Coletti and Ceccon to the list of students who have been through the Scuderia Toro Rosso school,” said Toro Rosso team principal Franz Tost. “Neither of them is part of the Red Bull Young Driver Programme, which is down to the fact that those drivers currently on the programme are still too young and inexperienced to deal with a Formula One car.” Over at Team Lotus, Luis Razia will be given a day’s testing with the team. He joins Alexander Rossi behind the wheel. “I believe this is confirmation of all the good progress we have made this year and I am very pleased to be working with the team again,” Razia said. “We had a great relationship throughout our first season and it will be good to continue that in Abu Dhabi. The test in F1 is a verybigdealforme–itisafull day behind the wheel so I will beabletogetalotfromitand hopefully give the team some good feedback. They will have a lot to test ahead of 2012 and I am really looking forward to being involved in that.” Sauber have confirmed that Esteban Gutierrez and Fabio Leimer will take on testing duties, while Williams will be giving seats to Valtteri Bottas and Mirko Bortolotti. Romain Grosjean and Kevin Korjus will be testing for Renault, and Red Bull have confirmed Jean-Eric Vergne. Robert Wickens will be taking part for Virgin. There is speculation as to whether Lewis Williamson or Oliver Turvey will be driving for McLaren, while Ferrari and Mercedes are expected to run Jules Bianchi and Sam Bird respectively. Young Driver Test filling up 11