PEOPLE: GORDON MESSAGE
Name: Gordon Message
Nationality: Great Britain
Brought up near the Brands Hatch racing circuit in Kent, Gordon Message would sneak over the fences of the track to watch the action. He wanted to be a racer and did a few kart races while he served an apprenticeship in a garage in the London suburb of Chistlehurst. In January 1977, unable to raise the money to go racing, he joined March Engineering as a mechanic. Initially he worked in the production department but then moved on the Formula 2 team, working with Bruno Giacomelli in his championship-winning 1978 season. Gordon then moved briefly to McLaren Engines in 1979 before being recruited at the end of that year by the Toleman Group as a buyer for its Formula 2 team. At the time the team was in the process of building the first car of its own - the TG280 - designed by Rory Byrne and engineered by John Gentry. This dominated F2 in 1980, Brian Henton and Derek Warwick finishing 1-2 in the European Championship.
The following year Toleman entered F1 and as the team expanded so Message moved through the hierarchy. He became assistant team manager to Peter Gethin and when the team was taken over in 1986 by Benetton, he became Peter Collins's assistant. In 1989 Message replaced Collins when the Australian was fired by new Benetton boss Flavio Briatore.
Gordon ran the F1 team in 1990 but then spent a year coordinating the construction of the new factory before returning to the race team in 1992. At the end of 1993 - after 10 years on the road - Message decided he had had enough and left Benetton to start his own electronics business, supplying the F1 racing teams. He continues with this, but when Tom Walkinshaw approached him to coordinate the TWR facility in 1995 - when Tom was running Ligier - he accepted the job. Message stayed on when Walkinshaw bought Arrows and has done a variety of different jobs, notably recruiting.
At the end of 1999 Message was put in charge of the Arrows test team but in 2000 he moved to Benetton as Sporting Director before deciding that he wanted to pursue an alternative career as a property developer.