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Who replaces Gascoyne at Jordan?

THE planned departure to Benetton in the middle of next year of Jordan's Mike Gascoyne is a major blow to the Silverstone team. Gascoyne will finish off the design of the 2001 car but he is unlikely to be involved much in the team after that as Jordan will not want too many secrets going with him. The big question at Jordan is who will replace Gascoyne.

Gascoyne has never seemed to be very comfortable with the team. Initially he was chief designer (without a technicalĘdirector) and he only assumed the role of technical director in January this year. He has recruited a number of rising young engineers, notably suspension designer Chris Cooney, but the general trend at Jordan in recent years has been for experienced F1 engineers to move elsewhere: John Davis, the former head of research and development at Jordan, is now at Arrows; aerodynamicists Darren Davis and Seamus Malarky are at Jaguar and Sauber while designer Andrew Green is now chiefĘdesigner at British American Racing.

There are talented young all-rounders on the engineering staff at Jordan, notably Australia's Sam Michael, but it is hard to see any of them having enough experience to take on the job of technical director. Old hands at Jordan include 49-year-old chief engineer Tim Holloway, a man with an enormous amount of racing experience who started out as a toolmaker with March Engineering in the 1970s and went on to become director of engineering with the March F1 team in 1987. In the early 1990s he was involved with the design of the Larrousse F1 car.

Although the team argues that facilities are not a problem, the loss of engineering staff does appear to have been caused in part by frustration that engineers cannot achieve what they want because the team does not have the equipment necessary. The team continues to say that it has no plans to build a new factory despite internal pressure for this to happen.

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