Tag Archives: Mike Gascoyne

Force India also suing Gascoyne, and Mark Smith leaves for Lotus

Mike Gascoyne is now being involved in the dispute between Force India and Lotus

Mike Gascoyne is now being involved in the dispute between Force India and Lotus

A day after Force India announced that they were suing Lotus for copying their design of their 2010 car, it has been revealed that Mike Gascoyne, the Chief Technical Officer, is also being sued as part of this court battle. Gascoyne worked with Force India from 2006 to 2008.

At the moment, it is understood that Force India are suing Lotus and Gascoyne, as they believe that the green and yellow team have used Force India’s pre-season design in their own car, through the Aerolab company, which provides aero tunnel usage for both teams. Lotus claim that they are simply caught up in a spat, and have revealed that Aerolab have provided them full indemnity in this case.

However, a statement from Force India today very clearly states that the Lotus team “has utilised and benefited from the use of Force India F1 Team’s intellectual properly”:

"The Force India F1 Team confirms it has instigated UK civil 
proceedings against 1Malaysia Racing Team SDN BHD (a Malaysian 
company), 1Malaysia Racing Team (UK) Limited (Lotus Racing's parent 
companies), Michael Gascoyne and Aerolab SRL. Force India also 
confirms that a complaint for disclosure of confidential information 
was filed in December 2009 with the competent authorities in Italy 
and that investigations are being conducted.

Force India believes that Lotus Racing, via its use of Aerolab and 
Fondtech facilities and data, has utilised and benefited from the 
use of Force India F1 Team's intellectual property, including 
components and tyres exclusively licensed by Bridgestone to the 
Force India F1 Team, on its wind tunnel model design for the current 
Lotus T127 chassis without permission from the Force India F1 Team. 
Force India states these are very serious claims and therefore it 
would not be taking such action if it could not provide supportive 

Additionally Force India would like to clarify that any action 
between Aerolab and Force India for undue termination of contract 
is now being addressed by the courts. Force India confirms it paid 
approximately one million euros in autumn 2009 to secure the payment 
claimed by Aerolab and it is now for the competent courts to decide 
whether, indeed, this outstanding amount should be paid to Aerolab 
given the seriousness of these current allegations.

For reference, the civil court action documentation is in the public 
domain and can be accessed via the High Court of Justice, Chancery 

This is getting more and more serious every time I hear something about it. To make matters worse, it has been revealed today that Mark Smith has left Force India to join, you guessed it, Lotus. At Force India, he was the design and technical director, and will now be technical director at Lotus.

The reason I’m concerned about this is simple. When he worked at Force India, Mark Smith was the Design Director of the last 4 Formula 1 cars (2007-2010) that the team have made. Seeing as this controversy is centred around the pre-season designs of Lotus’ and Force India’s cars, it would be a disaster if Smith brought IP (intellectual property) with him to Lotus, as this would just fuel the debate even more.


Lotus set for mid-February debut

Mike Gascoyne, with Tony Fernandes

Mike Gascoyne, with Tony Fernandes

The chief technical officer for Lotus, Mike Gascoyne, has confirmed that the team are a week ahead of schedule on their building of their car, and still making excellent progress.

When asked how the team were faring, he said:

“We had been looking at firing up our engine for the first time on 12th February, but with the efforts everyone’s been putting in we have now been able to bring that forward to 5th February. This is obviously a great boost for everyone involved in the team, and shows how much hard work has already gone in since we had our entry confirmed on September 12th.

“With the engine fire-up date now in the diary, we are also in a position to confirm that we will be on track for the first time at the third official test at Jerez from 17th February, and then at Barcelona from 25th February. We are also aiming to run chassis two for the last two days of that Barcelona test.”

Also, he announced that there would be a mojor upgrade on the car at the Spanish Grand Prix in May. He also revealed that the team were planning to be in the midfield after the first few races of the season.

He stated: ““We have said we are aiming to be ahead of the new teams when we all reach Bahrain, but we would also like to be pretty close to the midfield teams after the first few races of the season.

“The update we have planned for Spain will see a boost in performance when we reach Barcelona which will give us the chance to start fighting with the slowest of the established teams which, given progress so far, has to be the next goal for us.”

Lotus drivers are a “statement of intent”

Heikki Kovalainen, with Tony Fernandes and Jarno Trulli

Heikki Kovalainen, with Tony Fernandes and Jarno Trulli

The chief technical officer at Lotus, Mike Gascoyne, has said that signing Jarno Trulli and Heikki Kovalainen, instead of rookies, shows that the team are serious about succeeding in Formula 1.

Rumours were going around that Lotus were going to hire two well-funded rookies instead, which would financially sustain the team.  However, Gascoyne is relieved that Tony Fernandes chose experienced drivers instead. In an interview with Autosport, he said:

“I said all along that I wanted two experienced drivers, and actually we discussed it at a very early stage and Jarno was always our number one choice. I probably expected in the other seat we would have someone with a couple of years’ experience, that was my hope.

“From very early on, Tony said: why not Jarno and Heikki? I sort of went… ‘yeah, yeah, yeah. Forget it!”

“Where Tony is exceptionally brave is that you have to generate the finance to make the team sustainable and he has not taken the short term route – ‘let’s take a guy who is bringing me in three or five million Euros’ – he has taken the downstream route: ‘let’s bring in a guy who is really going to take the whole team up, who is going to deliver results, and downstream I may be signing sponsors for 10 or 20 million Euros.”

Gascoyne also said that Lotus was an attractive option for drivers, because of all the uncertainty will many other teams and drivers. He said:  “Lotus quite quickly came to be looked at as one of the best seats to get into. Okay it was a new team, but with Tony on board, with myself running the technical side, people seemed pretty confident in it.”