F1 »

Gascoyne admits Lotus F1 challenge is 'unique'

New Lotus F1 chief technical officer Mike Gascoyne discusses the challenges facing the team as it prepares for its debut season on the grid in 2010...
As a man with two decades' experience in the top flight under his belt at teams as diverse as McLaren, Sauber, Tyrrell, Jordan, Renault, Toyota, Spyker and Force India, Mike Gascoyne is used to facing challenges of differing levels and requirements – but that facing him at Lotus F1 in 2010, he admits, is entirely 'unique'.

Having initially proven unsuccessful in its bid to grab one of the three additional slots on the F1 2010 starting grid when the original list was published by the FIA back in June, the team that started out as British F3 contender Litespeed and morphed into Lotus was handed a second bite of the cherry when BMW's withdrawal announcement released another available berth. With vital Malaysian backing and support from Proton having been found in the meantime courtesy of interim team principal Tony Fernandes, it made sure that second time around, the governing body would be unable to say no.

However, having been given the nod later than fellow 2010 newcomers USF1, Campos Meta and Manor, chief technical officer Gascoyne knows that Lotus more than likely has an uphill struggle ahead of it, needing both to design a competitive car from a completely clean sheet of paper and at the same time uphold the proud reputation and heritage of its iconic name, with Team Lotus having achieved no fewer than 13 world championship successes – six drivers' titles and seven constructors' crowns – during its 1960s and 1970s heyday. The local boy is positive that the Hingham-based outfit will prove to be up to the daunting task.

“I think it's great news for the sport, and for me personally as a Norfolk lad it's a great story,” the 46-year-old told Crash.net Radio, palpably enthusiastic about the return of the legendary Lotus name to F1 for the first time in more than a decade-and-a-half. “I grew up and went to school five miles down the road from the factory here.

“I think it's good for F1; the name does have a great heritage and great engineering tradition, and F1 is hopefully changing from the last ten or 15 years when you had these huge teams and it's just been about who can spend the most money. I think F1 has realised that it needs to change direction, reduce budgets and become more of an engineering challenge – and that was always the heritage of Lotus and Colin Chapman.

“I wouldn't say there are added pressures [from the name], because in any team in F1 there's pressure – you've got to succeed – but there's no doubt that we will be compared as a team to the team that's won the world championship seven times and so forth. I think we have to be aware of that, and for Group Lotus their brand is very important to them, so we have to make sure that we perform in a way that adds to their brand image.”

Having been absent from the paddock in a professional capacity since his departure from Force India last November, Gascoyne admitted that he is hungry indeed to give free rein once more to his widely-recognised engineering and strategic brilliance. Having already boldly asserted that he will not be happy unless Lotus F1 is the best of the new teams in its debut season at the highest level, the hard work is well underway, he reveals – and, despite the unavoidably late start, firmly on-schedule too.

“It's been frustrating for me being out of the sport that I love,” the Englishman reflected, “so this opportunity to get back in is fantastic – but also the opportunity to do that as a complete new start-up team is unique and something I've never done before. It's a new and fresh challenge for me, and that's great.

“It is a blank sheet of paper – we're starting from scratch and we've got to set everything up. It can be a daunting challenge, but it's also a very interesting one because it means you can do different things; you're not saddled with existing structures or things already in-place.

“Tony Fernandes has financed the design team over the last few months. We haven't progressed as much as we would have liked to, but we're still at the point where we're starting to put out the first parts, we're starting to put out chassis patterns and those sorts of things. It's very tight, but we're on-target. We've got a roll-out date of the second week in February, and we're very confident that we're going to hit that.”

by Russell Atkins

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Mike Gascoyne - Benetton-Renault - Technical Director
25.06.2017 - Race, Sebastian Vettel (GER) Scuderia Ferrari SF70H and Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W08
25.06.2017 - Race, Sebastian Vettel (GER) Scuderia Ferrari SF70H and Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W08
25.06.2017 - Race, The race stopped, Fernando Alonso (ESP) McLaren MCL32 and the Safety car
25.06.2017 - Race, Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W08
25.06.2017 - Race, The Safety car and Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W08
25.06.2017 - Race, Carlos Sainz Jr (ESP) Scuderia Toro Rosso STR12 and Fernando Alonso (ESP) McLaren MCL32
25.06.2017 - Race, Esteban Ocon (FRA) Sahara Force India F1 VJM10 and Felipe Massa (BRA) Williams FW40
25.06.2017 - Race, Sergio Perez (MEX) Sahara Force India F1 VJM010 and Sebastian Vettel (GER) Scuderia Ferrari SF70H
25.06.2017 - Race, Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W08 and the Safety car
25.06.2017 - Race, Fernando Alonso (ESP) McLaren MCL32 and Marcus Ericsson (SUE) Sauber C36
25.06.2017 - Race, Fernando Alonso (ESP) McLaren MCL32 and 3rd place Lance Stroll (CDN) Williams FW40
25.06.2017 - Race, Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W08
25.06.2017 - Race, Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W08
25.06.2017 - Race, Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W08
25.06.2017 - Race, 1st place Daniel Ricciardo (AUS) Red Bull Racing RB13, 2nd place Valtteri Bottas (FIN) Mercedes AMG F1 W08 and 3rd place Lance Stroll (CDN) Williams FW40
25.06.2017 - Race, Stoffel Vandoorne (BEL) McLaren MCL32
25.06.2017 - Race, Esteban Ocon (FRA) Sahara Force India F1 VJM10

Join the conversation - Add your comment

Please login or register before adding your comments.

Although the administrators and moderators of this website will attempt to keep all objectionable comments off these pages, it is impossible for us to review all messages. All messages express the views of the poster, and neither Crash Media Group nor Crash.Net will be held responsible for the content of any message. We do not vouch for or warrant the accuracy, completeness or usefulness of any message, and are not responsible for the contents of any message. If you find a message objectionable, please contact us and inform us of the problem or use the [report] function next to the offending post. Any message that does not conform with the policy of this service can be edited or removed with immediate effect.

Rus the Bus - Unregistered

October 17, 2009 2:42 PM

Hmm I don't see this coming to a happy conclusion.. How they can get from cradle to grave in the tiny timescale required almost beggars belief! My worry is that it will fail and when it does there will be a "I told you so" from all those watching with inevitable long term damage to the reputation of the Lotus name. Personally I have nothing against Gascoyne, but as @richard says his reputation and time with previous teams is hardly top flight...

the lawman - Unregistered

October 17, 2009 4:44 PM

From my perspective, Mike talks everything up, especially the team he is contracted too. I get the feeling he is a knowledgeable man, I've heard him talk the language of someone who knows what is going on but for some reason teams let him go...often. I think he may be more the salesman who sells himself well, sets a foot in a teams door, signs a good contract but unfortunately can't deliver. If i'm right give it one and a half seasons and the exit door at the garage will once again be pushed open. We will then hear and read of Mike's pending law suit to redeem monies owed...I hope i'm wrong because he is a terribly nice and welcoming person...history shows us, he just doesn't deliver.

© 1999 - 2017 Crash Media Group

The total or partial reproduction of text, photographs or illustrations is not permitted in any form.