Coughlan promoted to technical chief as Raikkonen rumors circle at Williams

As fast as tarmac and competing drivers can vanish behind you in Formula One racing, so can the unfortunate events of the past. In some cases, anyway. Flavio Briatore may still be banned from the sport due to his involvement in the Crashgate debacle, but Mike Coughlan is making short business of putting his scandal behind him, and returning to F1 racing in a big way.

As you may recall, Coughlan was a central figure in the Spygate scandal between McLaren and Ferrari. While waiting for his suspension to expire, he went over to NASCAR and helped Waltrip engineer some new cars. Then when the coast was clear, he jumped back into F1 with Williams. That resulted in a lawsuit, but now that that's all cleared up, Williams has confirmed Coughlan as its new technical director – the #2 position in any F1 team.

It's a move that's been anticipated by many ever since Coughlan was initially hired as chief engineer back in May, around the same time that outgoing technical director Sam Michael left the team. But the announcement – made by company chairman Adam Parr at this weekend's Indian Grand Prix – is hardly the end of the rumors circulating around Williams.

Back in September we reported on rumors that Kimi Raikkonen was negotiating a potential return to Formula One with Williams. The 2007 world champion left the series after the 2009 championship when Ferrari wanted to make room for Fernando Alonso. Since then he's been racing in the World Rally Championship and in NASCAR, biding his time until he could find a top team with a shot at the title with which he could return to the series he once dominated.

Those rumors are now intensifying, suggesting that Kimi could be brought in to replace Rubens Barrichello and partner with the young Pastor Maldonado. If true, they'd ostensibly demonstrate tremendous faith on Raikkonen's part in a team that was once at the very top and has been clawing its way back up ever since.

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