Mike Gascoyne and Colin Kolles appear to be the highest-profile casualties in a 'radical' re-organisation and streamlining of the management structure of Force India F1 ahead of 2009.
Hot on the heels of its confirmation that it has terminated its engine deal with Ferrari – widely expected to be in anticipation of a new technical arrangement with McLaren-Mercedes – the Silverstone-based squad has subsequently revealed a new management line-up too, as chairman and now team principal Dr Vijay Mallya aims big next year with the promise of 'a truly competitive race car' [see separate story – click here
'Following on from today's announcement regarding the amicable termination of the Ferrari contract, the Force India Formula 1 team has taken yet another step forward with its 2009 revamp plans,' read a statement from the former Jordan and Midland outfit.
'Force India's senior management structure will be streamlined with immediate effect. Dr Vijay Mallya will assume the responsibilities of team principal in addition to his position as chairman, to play a greater role in the direction of the team, assisted by Robert Fernley, director of Force India.
'In a re-organisation of the team's technical department, Mark Smith, design director, and James Key, technical director, will share entire responsibility for the design of the VJM02 and future cars.
'As a result of the restructure, Colin Kolles, Mike Gascoyne and Patrick Missling, formerly corporate and business director, will no longer form a direct part of the team's design, manufacture, race and test operations.'
There were rumours – swiftly quashed by the team – earlier this season that all was not well behind closed doors, with suggestions team principal Kolles and chief technical officer Gascoyne and their respective departments were on the verge of 'civil war' with each other [see separate story – click here
“Force India is my most difficult project to-date,” acknowledged Kingfisher Airlines billionaire Mallya following the latest news, “and it has become clear that it requires more direct input from my side and greater performance accountability.
“We have come a long way this season, but we need more and that requires some radical re-organisation of the management structure to ensure the maximum productivity.
'I would like to thank Colin Kolles for his tireless efforts in keeping such a small team alive and Mike Gascoyne for bringing his wealth of technical expertise. Both have played an instrumental part in making the team what it is today.
“On Monday, 10 November I will announce the new technical direction of the team as well as the appointment of a new chief operating officer who will assume overall responsibility for our Silverstone and Brackley facilities, race and test operations.”