Lotus hires Mark Smith as Technical Director

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Lotus Racing has announced the appointment of Force India’s Mark Smith as their new Technical Director. The move compliments the existing staff. 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.

Mike Gascoyne:

“I’m exceptionally pleased to welcome Marianne and Lewis to Lotus Racing, and I’m very excited to once again be teaming up with Mark Smith who I have previously worked with at Jordan, Renault and Force India. Lewis and I were together at Force India, and Lewis also worked with Mark Smith at Red Bull, and Marianne and I have known each other since 1999 when I gave her her first job in F1™ at Jordan, so we all know each other very well.

“Mark Smith and I were first at Jordan together where our first car was the 199, Jordan’s most successful F1™ entrant, and then he came with me to Renault where we helped put them back on the top step of the podium, and put in place the team that went on to win two world championships. Most recently we were together at Force India, and I’m delighted he sees the potential we have here, and has seized the opportunity to work with me, Tony and the whole team on helping Lotus Racing reach the front of the grid.

“For me, it’s not just about the proven technical ability of the team we now have in place, it’s also the fact we’ve all worked together before, know how to achieve the goals we’ve set out, and know how to have fun together. We all work together extremely well, and that gives us the perfect base from which to build for long-term success.”

This team is preparing to become a serious operation in 2011 as they formally announced their focus has switched to next years car. With Smith and Gascoyne, the chances of them developing a serious challenger are very good. It’s exciting to see a new team get its sea legs and start to build from there.

This news comes on the heels of the court proceedings filed by Force India against Lotus Racing:

“The Force India F1 Team confirms it has instigated UK civil proceedings against 1Malaysia Racing Team SDN BHD (a Malaysian company), 1Malaysia Racing Team (UK) Limited (Lotus Racing’s parent companies), Michael Gascoyne and Aerolab SRL. Force India also confirms that a complaint for disclosure of confidential information was filed in December 2009 with the competent authorities in Italy and that investigations are being conducted.”

“Force India believes that Lotus Racing, via its use of Aerolab and Fondtech facilities and data, has utilised and benefited from the use of Force India F1 Team’s intellectual property, including components and tyres exclusively licensed by Bridgestone to the Force India F1 Team, on its wind tunnel model design for the current Lotus T127 chassis, without permission from the Force India F1 Team.”

“Force India states these are very serious claims and therefore it would not be taking such action if it could not provide supportive evidence.”

“Additionally, Force India would like to clarify that any action between Aerolab and Force India for undue termination of contract is now being addressed by the courts. Force India confirms it paid approximately one million euros in autumn 2009 to secure the payment claimed by Aerolab and it is now for the competent courts to decide whether, indeed, this outstanding amount should be paid to Aerolab given the seriousness of these current allegations.”

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