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More changes at BAR and Reynard

ROBERT SYNGE, the team manager of British American Racing, has been dropped in the latest reshuffling of management at the Brackley-based F1 operation. Although the team issued a statement saying that Synge had "stepped down", our sources suggest that his departure was assisted by BAR chief executive Craig Pollock.

It was interesting to note that Pollock was not quoted in the official press release although BAR's chief operating officer Ian╩Ross was full of glowing praise for Synge, saying that "the realignment of roles should in no way detract from his very considerable organizational abilities".

It is odd therefore that Synge should be replaced both as race team manager and from his role in charge of the test team. The race team will now be run by BAR factory manager Ron Meadows while the test team will be overseen by Synge's deputy, former spares coordinator Andrew Alsworth.

Meadows is 36 and another Formula 3000 graduate. He worked as team manager with the Middlebridge team from 1989. He was involved briefly with the Brabham F1 team when Middlebridge took over the operation but then returned to Formula 3000 to work with Henny Vollenberg's Vortex operation between 1991 and 1994, running drivers which included Heinz-Harald Frentzen, Max Papis and David Coulthard. When Vortex ceased operations Meadows became team manager of Derrick Walker's CART team until he joined BAR as factory manager. According to the team statement Synge will continue to work with BAR, "developing new motorsport opportunities."

Whatever the background, there is no doubt that Synge's departure weakens Adrian Reynard's hand in the team. Synge has long been a Reynard associate and his appointment was largely at Reynard's instigation. Synge's departure follows Rick╩Gorne's decision to quit Reynard and join BAR to oversee the organization's non-F1 operations. This all means that British American Tobacco's hand within the team has been strengthened.

Adrian Reynard has also announced a major restructuring of his company following the departure of Gorne with Mark╩Smithson taking over Gorne's role within the organization and Bruce Ashmore being put in charge of Reynard Motorsport's US operations, replacing Alex Hawkridge. Hawkridge, who had been Reynard Motorsport's chief executive for the last two years, retires at the age of 54. He had been a major player in preparing Reynard for flotation on the New York Stock╩Exchange but that move was delayed last year. Flotation is now expected to go ahead under Ashmore's guidance.

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