McLaren says it has no qualms about its former chief designer Mike Coughlan returning to Formula 1 in a new role with Williams.
Coughlan was dismissed by McLaren in the middle of 2007 because of his involvement in that year's F1 spy controversy, and he was subsequently banned from the sport for two years because of his actions. Since leaving F1, Coughlan has worked on designing a military transport vehicle and been involved with Michael Waltrip Racing in NASCAR, but he will now join Williams as its new chief engineer in June.
Although his return has brought some controversy, McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh says he has no problems with Williams' decision – which comes with former Renault technical director Pat Symonds also working in F1 again for Virgin Racing following his exile after the 2008 Singapore race-fixing controversy.
"The events that led to us dismissing Mike were nearly four years ago and I think we have to look forward now," said Whitmarsh. "Williams is a great team and, if the changes they are making can bring them further up the field, then that is good for the sport and that is right.
"I don't know where Pat Symonds is coming back, but although FOTA is concerned about the image of the sport, I don't think we want to become controller of moral ethics in the sport. We want to see clear governance, and we want to see it run correctly. But the fact is, I don't think many of us here know the details of what really happened or can make judgment on those people."