PEOPLE: PASCAL VASSELON
Name: Pascal Vasselon
Born March 20 1963, France's Pascal Vasselon took an unusual route to his position as Toyota's F1 head of chassis activities. He started out as a student at the prestigious Sup'Aero - the Ecole Nationale Superieure de l'Aeronautique et de l'Espace - in Toulouse in 1982. When he graduated in 1985 he joined Renault Sport as a suspension designer. It was not long afterwards that Renault shut down its F1 team and as a result he moved to Michelin in 1988 as head of the tyre company's vehicle dynamics group. Three years later he was transferred into the competition department, initially doing advanced research work but later becoming the head of on-track activities, predominantly in sportscar racing, where he was involved with Toyota's Le Mans project. He then became the company's F1 director in 2000 and worked closely with Williams and then many other teams including Renault F1. In 2004 it was proposed that he be transferred back to Michelin to do 4x4 tyre development for the United States market but Vasselon was not interested in the new role and took the decision to move to take up an offer from Mike Gascoyne to join the team at Toyota. His first role was as head of chassis research and development but when Gascoyne was dropped at the start of 2006, Vasselon was promoted to the role of senior general manager (chassis), coordinating aerodynamics, chassis design, research and development, race and test engineering and team management.