Outgoing Williams technical director Sam Michael is hoping to be granted permission to join new employers McLaren in time to attend at least one race with the team before the end of the season.
Michael will join McLaren as sporting director ahead of the next campaign, but is close to securing an early release from Williams to start work with the team after one month off. His current contract prevents him from working for a team other than Williams until March 1, but as he has now completed his final day of work for it, it appears likely that the request will be granted provided final agreement can be struck with McLaren.
"I'm hoping it's only going to be a month off," he said. "I'm waiting for the letter [giving permission] from Williams. McLaren are pushing pretty hard for that.
"If I can get to a race this year with McLaren, it lets me observe what they are up to. 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."
Williams drivers Pastor Maldonado and Rubens Barrichello finished 11th and 13th in Michael's final race after over a decade at Williams. Barrichello ran in the points until fading in the closing stages after a gamble on a two-stop strategy. Maldonado's 11th place appeared to be the best result that a Williams was capable of in the race. However, Michael believes that had the safety car timing been a little different and race winner Sebastian Vettel had completed an extra lap before pitting, the result could have been better.
"We weren't really quick enough, to be honest," he said. "That safety car was critical. If Sebastian Vettel had continued for that extra lap, that would have been great because all of the other guys wouldn't have stopped. That was a game-changer.
"Rubens stayed out for two laps because we were hoping Vettel would stay out. But we did everything we could on the strategy and that was where we were [on pace].
"We could have finished higher with Rubens, but we split the strategy with him going for two stops and Pastor three, so his tires were knackered at the end. We were chasing a point so split them, thinking something might happen. But that's the way it goes."