Honda website
Honda website

MAY 10, 2006

Teams tidy up

There has been a little bit of tweaking going on at Ferrari and Toyota as the two teams shuffle people around to fit the new circumstances in which they find themselves. Felipe Massa has a new race engineer in Rob Smedley, a former Jordan man, as the Brazilian did not really get along with Gabriele Delli Colli, who started the year looking after him.

Over at Toyota they have been giving out new titles following the departure of Mike Gascoyne and the team has nominated Pascal Vasselon and Luca Marmorini to be senior general managers of chassis and engine respectively. The two men will report directly to Yoshiaki Kinoshita, the Executive Vice-President of Toyota Motorsport. This should make communication with the top management much more effective. Gascoyne's departure, according to our sources, came after technical decisions were over-ruled by management, which caused a rather less than muffled reaction from Gascoyne.

As McLaren found a couple of years ago, over-ruling the technical staff is generally not a smart thing to do as it encourages top engineers to move to teams that will listen to them.

The key issue at Toyota is whether or not the organization can make the breakthrough using corporate decision-making techniques or whether it needs a more flexible and aggressive means of getting things done. Gascoyne was taken on by the team to bulldoze the team to success but in the end the managers did not like being bulldozed.

There is the additional problem that many in F1 (and indeed some in the team) feel that Toyota needs more inspiring drivers.