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GP Week : Issue 85
LOTUS Racing put the finishing touches to its impressive technical team last week with the news that Force India's technical director Mark Smith will be joining the team as technical director, completing a strong line-up of technicians that have been hand-picked by chief technical officer Mike Gascoyne. Smith will join the team after an unspecified 'notice period' at Force India and will be joined by two other Force India staff members, Lewis Butler (Chief Designer) and Marianne Hinson (Head of Aerodynamics), both of whom have already started work at Lotus. Wednesday's announcement came just hours after Force India confirmed legal action against Lotus (see separate story), and bolsters an already strengthened Lotus team following a modest start to their debut season. These three appointments along with those of Keith Saunt (Chief Operating Officer), Dieter Gass (Deputy Technical Director), Elliot Dason-Barber (Head of Vehicle Dynamics), Frank Ramowsky (Head of R&D), Rob Reeve (Head of Electronics) and Jody Egginton (Chief Engineer), complete the technical senior management structure at Lotus. Gascoyne has worked with most of his crew at other teams in the past. "For me, it's not just about the proven technical ability of the team we now have in place, it's also the fact we've all worked together before, know how to achieve the goals we've set out, and know how to have fun together," said Gascoyne. "We all work together extremely well, and that gives us the perfect base from which to build for long-term success." "Nothing will stop us from bringing in the best people we can, and we will give them the best working environment, and create the perfect atmosphere for them to fulfil their own potential, and help us in our quest to reach the top," added team principal Tony Fernandes. Mark Smith leaves Force India for Lotus FORCE India has launched civil court proceedings against Lotus Racing, their chief technical officer Mike Gascoyne and wind tunnel operator Aerolab, claiming the illegal use of Force India's intellectual property. Force India claim that Lotus gained access to their IP through the Aerolab and Fondtech wind tunnels, helping them develop their T127 car. They are also accusing Lotus of using Force India- specific Bridgestone wind tunnel tyres. "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," read a statement. Force India said they were taking the case very seriously, but Gascoyne insists that he and his team have done nothing wrong. Indeed Lotus have been granted full indemnity by Aerolab in relation to the case. "Our position on it is very clear, that really there is no wrongdoing on our part - we've been indemnified by Aerolab and that situation with Force India is well known," Gascoyne told Autosport.com. "We'd not want to comment. We feel that situation will become eminently clear to everyone as that develops." Gascoyne worked for Force India for almost a year before being sacked at the end of 2008. He has since begun legal action against the team to recoup the 2009 salary he lost as a result of the dismissal. Force India launches court action against Lotus Racing Defendents deny any wrong-doing 18