Michael Johnson helps out Williams F1 pit crew

Williams job is the pits for Johnson as Olympic legend helps out mechanics

Dressed in a shirt bearing the logos of his sports training company and Williams, you could easily be forgiven Michael Johnson's tie up with the Formula One team is just another corporate branding exercise.

Rubens looks Stateside

Veteran driver Rubens Barrichello, dropped by Williams in favour of Brazilian countryman Bruno Senna, could move to IndyCar after 19 seasons in Formula One after agreeing a two-day test with KV Racing.

But the Olympic legend and his team of sports boffins have devised a training programme for a bunch of mechanics designed to shave valuable hundredths of a second off pit-stop times.

When asked how long this arrangement will run Johnson is forceful.

'We'll be going until it gets done,' he says. 'Until it gets done.'

Branching out: Olympic 200m and 400m gold medallist Michael Johnson

Branching out: Olympic 200m and 400m gold medallist Michael Johnson

Enough to strike fear into the toughest mechanic, as Ben Howard, who has spent three years removing the front left wheel of a Williams as fast as he is able, explains.

'Everybody was excited, but a little bit apprehensive as well. Michael trains top-level sportspeople but we're not professional athletes so there was some nervousness as to what he might make us do!'

Johnson and his team have identified three areas where they feel they help Williams move them up from seventh in the pit-stop rankings, 1.1 seconds down on the average time set by 2011 table toppers Red Bull.

Left behind: Williams were well below Red Bull in average pit-stop length in 2011

Left behind: Williams were well below Red Bull in average pit-stop length in 2011

Programmes to improve overall fitness and sensory ability will be implemented, but it is the area of biomechanics, the physics of sport, where Johnson feels the biggest gains can be made.

'There is a lot of movement going on by all three people (changing each wheel),' says Johnson. 'So what we do is try and make that movement more efficient and quicker.'