Mike Gascoyne will return to the Formula 1 paddock this weekend for the first time since parting company with Force India late last year – as he temporarily replaces the much-maligned Eddie Jordan as a pundit for the BBC's
television coverage of the sport.
Gascoyne has made little secret of his desire to return to the top flight since being left out in the cold following Vijay Mallya's organisational reshuffle at the perennial back-of-the-grid Silverstone-based minnows in November – the second time in less than three years that the Englishman had left a team before his contract ran out, having been suspended by previous employers Toyota in early 2006.
The man whose aggressive man-management style has seen him nicknamed 'the bulldog' is an expert on aerodynamics and downforce, however – and he hopes F1's new regulations for 2009, allied the necessity for seven of the ten teams to now dramatically redesign their diffusers in the wake of this week's FIA Court of Appeal hearing, will see his services back in demand once more.
“There are new regulations, and there are some teams struggling with the new aero rules which is an area where I have done very well in the past,” he is quoted as having said by the Financial Times
In the meantime, Gascoyne is set to stand in for his former boss Jordan for this weekend's Chinese Grand Prix – and former ITV-F1
commentator James Allen reckons he is just the man for the job.
“I'm sure Gascoyne will be a real hit with viewers this weekend,” Allen contended. “I encouraged him to help out on ITV
with insights from the pit wall in recent years, and he relished the task and added some great material to the show.
“Quite often he was making big strategy calls which he would tell us about, and then we could see the effect of them in the race. It made for brilliant TV. The wet European Grand Prix of 2007 was the classic where his driver [Markus] Winkelhock was 30 seconds ahead of the field early on because of a Gazza call to pit him for wet tyres early.
“He is a great communicator, and I'm sure he'll add a lot to viewers' understanding of what is going on. Although his BBC
stand-in role has been planned for months, the timing couldn't be better as the team has the unenviable task this weekend of explaining the diffuser decision and its ramifications – and Gazza is just the man to sum it up in layman's terms.”