Honda website
Honda website

OCTOBER 10, 2003

Technical staff on the move

The Formula 1 teams are busy making changes their staff as the 2003 season comes to an end and the preparations accelerate for 2004. It is now rumored that Mike Gascoyne will be starting at Toyota as technical director in December, the suggestion being that Renault was happy to take a big shot of cash from Toyota rather than wait for Gascoyne to serve the necessary six months of "gardening leave". It is not expected that any announcement will be made but Gascoyne is no longer working at Renault even if the team is trying to create the impression that he is by quoting him in the pre-Japanese GP press release. This seems to have been a rather back-handed way of trying to make the reports that he is departing seem untrue but, as with most things in F1, time will be the ultimate judge of who is right. It is anticipated that Renault will eventually name Bob Bell as the replacement for Gascoyne.

There are a number of interesting rumors flying about, including that Henri Durand, the Jordan technical director, is departing the team. Jordan is expected to name a replacement from amongst the current staff . The only high profile engineer left now is the aerodynamicist Nicolo Petrucci, formerly of Ferrari and Arrows.

Most intriguing of all, however, are hints that McLaren is shortly going to take on Nick Tombazis, the former head of aerodynamics at Ferrari, who left Maranello in June and has since been doing his military service in Greece. It has not been clear why Tombazis was leaving Ferrari although rumors did suggest that he was going to go back to Renault (where he worked when it was called Benetton). It now seems that his real destination is McLaren where his arrival will no doubt shake-up current arrangements which involve Adrian Newey, Neil Oatley and Mike Coughlan. The word on the street is that the problems of the McLaren MP4-18 are at the root of the recruitment. The team will be going into next season with a revamped version of the MP4-18 which will be called the MP4-19.