Lotus has announced the signing of Force India's Mark Smith to take up the role of technical director.
Smith will join the F1 newcomers 'at the end of his Force India notice period' while Lewis Butler and Marianne Hinson will also move from the Silverstone-based team to Lotus to become chief designer and head of aerodynamics respectively.
“I'm exceptionally pleased to welcome Marianne and Lewis to Lotus Racing, and I'm very excited to once again be teaming up with Mark Smith who I have previously worked with at Jordan, Renault and Force India,” chief technical officer Mike Gascoyne said. “Lewis and I were together at Force India, and Lewis also worked with Mark Smith at Red Bull, and Marianne and I have known each other since 1999 when I gave her her first job in F1 at Jordan, so we all know each other very well.
“Mark Smith and I were first at Jordan together where our first car was the 199, Jordan's most successful F1 entrant, and then he came with me to Renault where we helped put them back on the top step of the podium, and put in place the team that went on to win two world championships. Most recently we were together at Force India, and I'm delighted he sees the potential we have here, and has seized the opportunity to work with me, Tony and the whole team on helping Lotus Racing reach the front of the grid.
“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. We all work together extremely well, and that gives us the perfect base from which to build for long-term success.”
Team principal Tony Fernandes was also quick to welcome the trio to the team.
“I am delighted to welcome Mark, Lewis and Marianne to the team, and they join a group of extremely talented people at Lotus Racing,” he said. “I am honoured that these fantastic talents have put their careers and their faith in Lotus Racing, and see the very bright future we all have together here.
“Formula One is a small world and the fact that they are coming to our team shows what we have already achieved in a very short period. 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."