Mark Smith leaves Force India for Lotus

Force India’s design and technical director Mark Smith is set to leave the team and join Lotus.

According Lotus, Smith will join them as technical director and report to chief technical officer Mike Gascoyne. The pair previously worked together at Jordan, Renault and Force India.

The news is a blow to Force India who lost their former technical director James Key to Sauber at the beginning of the season.

It comes on the same day Force India confirmed its legal action against Lotus and Aerolab over an alleged infringement of intellectual property rights.

A statement from Lotus said:

Reporting to Chief Technical Officer Mike Gascoyne, Mark will start at the end of his Force India notice period, and joins Lewis Butler (Chief Designer) and Marianne Hinson (Head of Aerodynamics), also from Force India, at the Anglo-Asian squad. These appointments, alongside Keith Saunt (Chief Operating Officer), Dieter Gass (Deputy Technical Director), Elliot Dason-Barber (Head of Vehicle Dynamics), Frank Ramowsky (Head of R&D), Rob Reeve (Head of Electronics) and Jody Egginton (Chief Engineer), complete the technical senior management structure.

Team principal Tony Fernandes said:

I am honoured that these fantastic talents have put their careers and their faith in Lotus Racing, and see the very bright future we all have together here. Formula One is a small world and the fact that they are coming to our team shows what we have already achieved in a very short period. Nothing will stop us from bringing in the best people we can, and we will give them the best working environment, and create the perfect atmosphere for them to fulfil their own potential, and help us in our quest to reach the top.
Tony Fernandes

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14 comments on Mark Smith leaves Force India for Lotus

  1. The Genuine Jim said on 2nd June 2010, 15:05

    I hope he doesn’t take any IP with him…

  2. BasCB said on 2nd June 2010, 15:09

    Might this have something to do with the legal action being taken as well?

    Force India surely and rightly, is not amused by having Gascoyne luring people away.

    Is it possible, that Gascoyne did manage to get the Lotus car together as quick as they did, by using a little of knowledge he had from FI as well as using FI knowhow (and the windtunnel model) he knew to be available in Italy?

    That would make a very serious case, which the FIA would be hard pressed not to get involved in at a certain point.

    Alan Cooper mentioned, that the accusation of FI wind tunnel tyres being used on the Lotus model makes the allegations more credible and serious. So maybe it is not only about not wanting to pay money to Aerolab after all.

  3. Glenn said on 2nd June 2010, 15:16

    BOY! Lotus sure isn’t shying away from this contraversy.
    Taking the staff that designed the current Lotus car from models of the Force India and running with it..

    HMM seems like they this move will only help to escalate the turmoil between these two teams…

    And Might Force India be on its way back down the Pecking order losing all of this staff.

  4. PJA said on 2nd June 2010, 15:17

    Some people in the comments for the article about Force India taking Lotus to court wondered why they were taking this action considering the performance difference between the two teams, well I wonder if the fact Lotus has recruited a few people from Force India has anything to do with it.

  5. MouseNightshirt said on 2nd June 2010, 16:29

    I’ve noticed Gascoigne seems to have a retinue of people who always galavant along with him.

    • spawinte said on 2nd June 2010, 19:14

      Then a few races into next season he will suddenly be “leaving by mutual agreement”.

      • @ spawinte – exactly right. He’s got through a very large number of teams. Everyone wants him, then he leaves. I find him quite annoying, in an unmerited smug kind of way.

  6. wasiF1 said on 2nd June 2010, 16:31

    “It comes on the same day Force India confirmed its legal action against Lotus and Aerolab over an alleged infringement of intellectual property rights”

    Coincidence I wonder!!!!!!

  7. Mutton said on 3rd June 2010, 0:50

    Count on Gascoyne to bring the teams he worked for into discredit. Why teams are still bothering with him, I don’t know.

    • Anshumaan said on 3rd June 2010, 6:22

      you can just see mate, he has along with him some support in every team and wherever he goes, the others follow. Resources do matter in F1 and i am really saddened that he’s taking ppl frm FI who have worked so hard to build the team.

  8. Oliver said on 3rd June 2010, 12:05

    Joe Saward has an interesting relationship between Fondmental, Aerolab and Gascoyne.

  9. Dev said on 3rd June 2010, 14:33

    losing smith is not such a big deal, Red Bull got rid of him when they got Newey, and everyone knows how Red Bull did prior to Newey’s designed cars… Also it seems Mark Smith likes to change jobs too often… Force India should look for someone who has worked in top teams & someone more stable…

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