Sauber's technical director Mark Smith has split from the team on the eve of the 2016 F1 season opener in Australia for family reasons.

Smith had only been appointed at the start of July 2015 having previously held roles at Caterham, Jordan, Force India and Red Bull and a short statement from the Swiss team confirmed the Brit "has decided to go back to the UK for family reasons. He has already left the company."

Sauber has also thanked Smith for his efforts over the past nine months and heads into the Australian Grand Prix without a technical director. It is not yet known who will cover the position for Sauber in Melbourne.

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