Johnson to help F1 pit stops

2012-01-11 18:47

London - Athletics great Michael Johnson will work with the Williams Formula One team to help its crew speed up drivers' pit stops.

Williams F1 said on Wednesday that Michael Johnson Performance Inc., the training company founded by the retired 200 and 400m Olympic champion, will devise a training program for its pit crew and evaluate the whole team's regime.

Shaving even a tiny amount from the time needed to change tires and make repairs can make a huge difference to a driver's race performance.

"I am confident that the experience and biomechanics expertise of the MJP staff that has benefited numerous American football athletes, Premier League football teams, and Olympic federations, can also benefit the Williams F1 Team pit crew in their goal to cut hundredths and even tenths of a second from their pit stop times," Johnson said.

Johnson's company has already worked with the NFL's Dallas Cowboys and Major League Soccer's FC Dallas.

Johnson, who won the 200 and 400 golds at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics and the 400 in Sydney four years later, said he has been a fan of Formula One since attending the Belgian Grand Prix in 1990, when he first met team principal Frank Williams.

"When Michael and I met again recently, he explained how he had established a company that specialised in improving athletic performance," Williams said. "I was extremely keen to learn how he could help our team as there seemed to be a lot of areas of common interest.

"Michael's sporting achievements speak for themselves and the principles he used to become the fastest man in the world are certainly transferable into our own hugely competitive field."

Williams is trying to improve upon a poor recent record in the world championship.

The British team have won 113 GPs, nine constructors' championships and seven drivers' titles. But their last victory was at the 2004 Brazilian Grand Prix, and they haven't won a drivers' or constructors' title since Jacques Villeneuve triumphed in 1997.

Co-founder Patrick Head stepped down from the board of directors last month.

Williams finished ninth out of 12 teams in last season's final constructors' standings with five points, 645 behind winners Red Bull.